Google+ has been in gradual decline over the past few years. But the ailing network will be officially closing its doors in the wake of a major data security breach.
Here are the details and what it means for your legal marketing efforts moving forward.
The incident was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
“Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage,” writes Douglas MacMillan and Robert McMillan.
And it was big. Reports estimate that outside developers were able to access the private data of over half a million users.
That was the catalyst.
But there’s more to it than that.
Besides the massive security glitch, Google+ had been in a downward spiral for years.
Matt Southern explains in the Search Engine Journal that “Google admits that Google+ has failed to achieve broad consumer or developer adoption since its introduction.” He also mentions that usage and engagement was quite abysmal with “90 percent of user sessions lasting less than five seconds.”
The entire platform was basically Google’s attempt at competing with Facebook—something that obviously didn’t pan out. While it did experience some success initially, nearly everyone can agree that Google+ was a failed network overall.
The data breach was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.
What it Means for Legal Marketers
It’s unlikely that this will be a big blow to most lawyers. After all, you’re probably not spending an abundance of time updating and engaging on this network.
Nonetheless, it could still impact you and could potentially take a slice out of your referral traffic. So what do you do if you notice a drop?
The logical next move would be to rev up your overall social media marketing campaign and to post content on the networks that are thriving with Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn being some of the better choices. All three have large, active user bases and can help you generate a large volume of referral traffic.
If you’ve published content and saved data on Google+, you’ll likely want to migrate it somewhere else because the target date for it shutting down is August 2019.
This also shows why it’s so important to diversify your efforts and to never become too dependent on any single network. As you can see, things can change, and you don’t want to jeopardize your law firm’s ability to generate leads by being overly reliant on just one platform.
The Official End
Many would argue that the demise of Google+ has been a long time coming. In fact, many experts predicted that it would meet its end even earlier. So it’s not a huge surprise.
Regardless, it does serve as a stark reminder that no social network is untouchable. And it also shows the importance of casting a wide net with your social media marketing.