Google + pulls the plug. Is Facebook next?

In case you’ve been living off the grid…

Last week Google announced that it would be pulling the plug on Google +, their very own social media platform, which was launched in 2011 to rival Facebook. While Google is generally a beast when it comes to creating attractive products, this one was a flop. Google+ is shutting down because of low usage and engagement (and not to mention, a major data breach)

But honestly. Google + never really took off. It claims to have 395 million users (in theory more than Twitter). However, 91% of Google+ accounts are empty, meaning they were likely created either as spam accounts or just to access other Google services.

But what does this mean for other platforms? Given that multiple social media sites have recently been under scrutiny, what I want to explore is: is Facebook next? Let’s analyze the situation in 3 key areas: usage, demographics, and business and marketing.

Usage

Facebook, which is currently the largest social network has 2 billion monthly active users. That means every month 2 billion different people are spending time there. Its not me 1 million times and Shawna the other million – its unique users. How does that compare to other social networks? The only other network that comes close to fb is Instagram, which just reached the 1 billion mark. 79% of Americans use Facebook—the platform with the second closest usage percentage is Instagram, at 32%.

Oh, an FYI, Fb owns Instagram. So, anything good that happens to IG is good for Facebook.

Here’s the thing - Facebook has been around for 12, 13 years, so the rate of growth isn’t huge, and that’s because basically everyone already has a Facebook account – I’m willing to bet that you do. But, the numbers are still increasing, not decreasing like some would lead you to believe.

In fact: 400 new users sign up for Facebook every minute.

When it comes to usage: Facebook is not dying

Demographics

When I first joined fb, it was a new and mysterious world where people shared things about what they were doing and photos. It was weird, and I was like what is this – people are going to spend time here? This was in 2006 and I had just started university. Everyone said I needed to join Facebook, so I could connect and stay in touch with all of my new university friends. And this is exactly what it did, for a period of time.

Slowly – or quickly, (I can’t really remember, all this feels like it was just yesterday), anyway the crowd of people on Facebook expanded. Friends at home, younger friends, then older friends, then parents, then grandparents, then great grandparents. You get the idea.

Overall Facebook reaches the widest demographic of people.

Is Facebook “uncool” well – semantics. Usually things are uncool when everybody is doing it. And honestly you probably heard your teen say that Facebook is uncool.

If you are trying to reach teens – then yeah, Facebook probably isn’t the place to reach them, but if your customers are adults, chances are, they are on Facebook, because again, everybody is. And most of those people are checking in at least once a day.

You can pick a “cooler” platform. But you might be the only one there.

Business & Marketing

Now, this is where is gets a bit trickier.

Facebook, a free way to connect with people became an obvious place to market a business. Because well FREE. And then everyone went nuts with marketing their business and Facebook was like whoa – no one is going to want to be here if they get advertised to all the time. So, enter the beginning of fb page decline. The algorithm became stronger to ensure that users were seeing posts that they were interested in and fit organically into the conversation.

This went on for awhile until last January – also known as the Facebook apocalypse. Where Facebook changed the focus to helping users connect with friends and family, and less on discovering new content.

For business this meant a lot less reach for their pages. Which is obviously sucks.

But remember, fb shows your content to those who are most likely to engage with it.

So, is it harder to reach the masses on Facebook? Yes, yes it absolutely is and if anyone says otherwise they are full of it. But, you can still reach the people who want to hear from you. That means your goal needs to be to create amazing content for THEM.

Once you create great content for those who are already paying attention, they will bring their friends along. They might comment on your content, share it, or even recommend it to others.

Yes, your ability to reach lots of people is reduced, but you still have more chance of reaching them than other platforms – depending on your target market of course.

Overall, no, Facebook is no dying, its just evolving.

Marketing your business and getting visible on Facebook is getting harder, but with the right content you can reach the people who most want to hear from you.

The point is: don’t give up on Facebook, because, at the moment, its your best bet. Keep marketing on Facebook, and other social media. Because its never a bad idea to diversify your efforts.

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