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Google Caps off the Latest Social Media Seismic Shift

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of Flickr


Do you feel the ground beneath your social media feet quaking? That freight train sound you hear in the media background is the tornadic winds of change sweeping in from Google, Facebook, Instagram,Twitter and LinkedIn. The social media giants are rearranging the organic playing board so that it no longer looks like anything a business owner would recognize. In this episode of  Working the Web to Win, we will explore the recent major marketing and policy changes that have taken place among the social media giants and explain how these changes are affecting businesses, their marketing budgets, the traffic generated from their efforts and the return on investment they are receiving. We will also provide some new strategies which we feel will make a difference. So pull out your calculators and get ready to digest the changes that are afoot, as we delve into the current Social Media Seismic Shift that is taking place.




While this article is meant to inform you about important changes in social media, it’s not something to freak out about, but it does need to be addressed and recognized for what it is.  Social Media has always been a quickly evolving medium both for subscribers and business advertisers.  Recently, Google announced they are radically changing (again) their Google Plus platform by eliminating consumer usage of that product.  This will have far reaching effects for consumers and especially for businesses that have been using this as a social media marketing platform.

The Past is the Present - Over the past several years we have seen social media platforms ban most automation for following, posting, and inviting. Also, we have seen the adding of filters based on what the social networks want, as opposed to what a subscriber wants. We have seen the removal free features that helped businesses (and consumers) be more productive, the moving of free features to paid platforms and the constant tweaking of search and display algorithms. All of this (along with the shenanigans of the election) are causing chaos in the organic social media marketing field. This has been going on for many years now.

Courtesy of Pixabay

While I don’t have a crystal ball that will allow me to tell you everything that will happen, I can say that it will affect overall organic traffic.  Recently, several of the giant social media platforms  also began making changes that directly affect social media marketing success. Twitter, for example changed its policy with regards to posting the same message to multiple accounts. This means that if your business has several accounts, you now have to post messages  individually to each account.  Facebook and Instagram have increased filtering of organic  messages to the point where you almost have to buy ad space to be seen at all. LinkedIn removed many of its best business-friendly features  (like the ability to tag connections by custom categories) and moved them to their premium paid platform.

What this means is any business that is engaged in organic social media marketing will have to work much harder (by expending more labor) to achieve the same goals.  This doesn't mean the end of social media marketing as we know it, just as we once knew it to be! It’s an evolution that will change the organic marketing landscape and shift it towards a pay to play model. This new landscape will mean businesses will need to supplement their direct organic posting efforts with more paid ads if they want to be seen by the same sized audience. 
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Know What Google is Doing - I want to address the latest announcement from Alphabet (AKA Google) about Google Plus. This is a major announcement. I received this email from Google that states the following:


"Hello Administrator,As we announced in December 2018, the consumer version of Google+ is shutting down in April 2019. As a result, as early as February 4, 2019, G Suite customers may see changes to Google+, some of which are listed below. You can find additional information and a detailed timeline in the Help Center article. These changes will allow us to focus on adding enterprise features and improving Google+ for G Suite customers.The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ will take a few months. Some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.Upcoming changes to Google+ for your organization
  • Communities outside your domain without at least one G Suite owner will be deleted. Also, your users will no longer be able to create public communities outside your domain.
  • Google+ pages, events, and the Google+ profile field for “tagline” will be deleted for both G Suite and consumer users.
  • Previously, upon G Suite customer cancellation, certain customers (e.g., edu customers) could continue to use Google+. Going forward, upon cancellation of G Suite, all G Suite customers’ content will be flagged for deletion.
  • Content from consumer Google+ accounts will be deleted. Consumer users will also be removed from your circles and communities.
  • For additional changes to Google+ features such as collections, circles, search, vanity URLs, and commenting in Blogger and other sites, see the Help Center article.
Actions requested
Courtesy of Picpedia.org
  • A new version of the Google+ Android app will be released on February 22, 2019. Your G Suite Android users will need to update the Google+ Android app before March 7, 2019 to continue using Google+ on their mobile devices. Old versions of the app will no longer be supported.
  • If your users own or moderate a community outside your domain and there are consumer contributions that they would like to keep, they should download and save them before April 2019. If they download the data now, they will get links to community posts. Starting early March 2019, they will also be able to download the author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community.
  • Google+ pages and events will be deleted for both G Suite and consumer users if there is content your users would like to keep, they should download and save it before April 2019. If they would like to keep their Google+ tagline, please have them download and save their Profile data.
  • Google+ gadgets in classic Google Sites will no longer work starting March 7, 2019, so you and your users may want to remove them. Google+ embeds in the new Google Sites will continue to work.
  • If your users opted in to the Google Play Services Public Beta Program, they may experience issues using Google apps like Gmail and Hangouts as we begin shutting down consumer Google+. To avoid any interruption in service, G Suite users can leave the Beta Program.

Here are some of the changes your users may experience with the shutdown of the consumer version of Google+: You may want to ask your users to perform the actions below: For more information, see this Help Center article, which may be updated periodically, or contact G Suite support and reference issue number 123433241.


Sincerely,The G Suite Team"

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I want to make sure that our readers  read the message in its entirety without editing on my part. I have always been a big advocate of Google Plus. We have written several articles about it including one in 2012 called the "The Ghost Says Boo!" which addressed critics who professed that Google Plus was going away. We wrote about it again in April of 2014 in our article called; "Is Google+ adding up?" and again in May of 2015 in our other article called; "Is Google+ Dying as a Social Network?". Each time we defended Google Plus, as a platform worth supporting and that it was evolving to meet users (and Google's) needs. These new changes are more to help meet Google's needs than any subscribers' needs. In fact, they are abandoning millions of subscribers with this latest evolution.

Since the social media upheaval started around the beginning of December of 2017, it has gathered steam in 2018. In 2019 it has not shown any slowdown in change. It's like an earthquake that continues to rumble after the main upheaval has finished. So far, we have been able to make up the differences to our clients by providing more than double the labor  needed to achieve the same results. We have done this without increasing the cost to our business clients, even though our agreements do not require us to do this. However, having said that, this will change in the coming year as we revise our social media systems and strategies to offer services that are more in line with clients needs along with any associated changes in costs.  As our online marketing agreements renew, we will make sure that they incorporate the latest cost effective strategies to produce the desired results our clients have come to expect from Working the Web to Win. These changes will be based on our statistical research and the new social media environment, along with the goals and budgets our clients have set for their companies marketing efforts.
Courtesy of Pixabay

It is important to note that not all of internet marketing has devolved! Many tried and true marketing venues are still (for the most part) unchanged. So far, blogging seems to be the least affected as the public's hunger for high quality, useful, relevant, timely content continues to grow at an exponential rate. We have found that supplementing social media campaigns with direct email newsletters, online PR posts and monthly search directory profile posts can make up the difference, and in some cases, even produce more traffic. Also pay per click is more widespread and is always another venue that can be pursued. Email marketing, and our proprietary search directory push service has for the most part been unaffected by the changes that are taking place in social media. However, some of these items, when bundled together, end up with an overall higher cost. We will help all our clients deal with these changes by creating new strategic marketing plans based on our research. 

Be prepared to see traffic fluctuations on your social sites and even to some extent your blog traffic as the social media giants continue to monkey with their algorithms and platform policies. This has always been the case with social media, since it has always been a bleeding edge technology.  Right now, the social media giants are causing more advertising volatility than in the past. It is my belief that once the social media giants realize that this is hurting their bottom line, they will adjust and move in a business friendly direction, i.e. more towards where their bread is buttered. In the meantime, you, as savvy business owners need to do your due diligence and spend your marketing money wisely because today more than ever, spending money on internet marketing without a coherent strategy is like gambling without knowing how the game is played.

That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

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This article delves into the many recent organic landscape changes that have occurred in the social media marketing arena. It talks about the massive changes that are hurting business traffic performance and in particular covers the recent announcement by Google that is shutting down its consumer version of Google plus. Lastly, this article also provides links to many other articles including a link to the BlogTalkRadio show that goes with this article.

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If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend checking out the links on the blog, along with checking out other related articles on our Show Notes Page.  Also, don’t forget to listen to the BlogTalkRadio show on this subject. If you have a related useful comment or opinion about this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+ and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.


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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success” and the co-author along with his business partner Carl Weiss of their hit book also called “Working the Web to Win.”


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