Google+’s Future May be in Jeopardy. What now?

From phones to email, Google has become a leader in just about everything – except for social media. Google pulled out all the stops in trying to make Google+ a contender for Facebook’s dominance.

The problem wasn’t with the idea. In fact, when Google+ launched, experts figured the integration of search and social would make Google+ a mainstream option that would fare better than Google’s previous social efforts, Buzz and Wave.

However, the departure of now-former Google SVP Vic Gundotra, who led the creation of Google+, leaves a strong possibility that the social network is on its last legs.

Both Business Insider and TechCrunch say Google+ is ready to close shop despite vehement denial from the search engine giant. Google’s service caught on quickly, but never became mainstream.

“What now?”

The news will put most marketers into one of two camps. The first never experienced success with Google+. They’re breathing a sigh of relief that time and energy is no longer required for a social network that attracted a specific type of audience – one that may or may not have aligned with theirs.

The other side is those who hoped Google+ would take down Facebook. With the average Organic Reach of a Facebook page plummeting by the month, there were some who built solid communities on Google+ in hopes that Google would prevail.

If you’re in the first camp, you have nothing to worry about. It’s okay to scale back on posting on Google+ for now, but don’t delete the page.

Your profile is still valued by Google because of the data it provides. As search and ads gain sophistication, the ability to personalize the experience based on what Google can find out about users is still important.

The best course of action is to wait and see what Google is going to do with its network. Google likely won’t sunset Google+ the way it did with its other attempts at social networks because of the value of the profile data they have on hand

For those looking to maintain the presence they worked hard to gain on Google+, consider building your presence through Google’s other apps. Hangouts aren’t going away and can be an excellent alternative to Twitter chats, especially with YouTube’s broadcast capabilities.

Another alternative is to divert those resources to forums such as LinkedIn groups, Quora or any other message boards where your community is most active. A social media analyst can help find those communities using a social listening tool, should this be the approach you choose to take.

What’s your reaction to the latest news on Google+? Are you ready to jump ship or still holding out that it sticks around? Share your thoughts with me at @ajmil0.

About this contributor: Adam Miller Adam Miller is a social media specialist at Walker Sands and manages accounts on behalf of clients. Adam's analytic approach to social media provides measurable results, and he specializes in community management, blogging and content writing.

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