Why we deleted our Google Plus page

Everyone knows that a modern company must have an active social media presence. Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; Google Plus– they all require a huge amount of work. For a company such as WOW, who thrive in the digital sphere, you would think that we’d dedicate hours to perfecting our social media presence across as many platforms as possible.

Yet we came to the conclusion that our Google Plus page had become a weight around our necks, so we did the unthinkable, and deleted it. Here’s why.

The statistics were, frankly, embarrassing

We’re a web-based company, and that means we’re all about the numbers. We have thousands of followers on Twitter; thousands of ‘likes’ on Facebook– and we’re proud of the hard work that has allowed us to achieve those figures. We know that potential customers want to see that the company is well-regarded enough for people to actively follow our activities, and we’ve invested a lot of time and effort into increasing our following on the ‘big two’ platforms.

In contrast, our Google Plus page… well, you can see for yourself:

Thirty-three followers. 33.

That’s fewer people than are on a rugby pitch during a match, if you include the officials.

Now, imagine you were a potential customer, and you decided to check us out by looking at our social media stats. For some reason (maybe you clicked the icon by accident), you decide to navigate to Google Plus first… and you see that a measly 33 people have decided we’re worth a follow.

You’re not going to look any further. In fact, you’re going to think those 33 people are primarily employees and the friends and family who gave us an encouraging follow to help improve our stats. You’re not going to go to Twitter and Facebook, where we count our stats in the four figures; you’re going to see 33 and immediately run in the opposite direction.

As an internet company, we know full well that these numbers matter, and what everyone assumes these numbers reflect. That’s not to say those impressions are right — it’s possible for truly great companies to have low social media stats, because they don’t invest in that area — but these impressions are persistent and hard to overcome. Having 33 followers to our page was outright embarrassing, and was a contributing factor to why the page had to go.

The traffic flow from Google Plus

There’s a temptation to refer to this traffic flow in inverted commas, because realistically, the traffic we received from Google Plus is barely worth the name.

Over the course of a year, we received six — yes, six — visitors from Google Plus. Here are the stats so you can see it for yourself:

Google are one of the biggest companies on the planet; it seems natural they would be able to develop a truly valuable social network that could drive traffic to company sites. Yet we have the evidence there in front of us that this just doesn’t happen. You’d probably get more than six visitors if you handed out old-school business cards to 50 people, so Google Plus just cannot be considered a viable method of increasing traffic and generating leads.

These two factors combined to influence the final reason we chose to delete our Google Plus page…

The page was a waste of resources and effort

There is a chance that, with dedicated work, we could have improved the numbers above. We could have spent hours crafting content for Google Plus specifically, but let’s be realistic: Google Plus is largely considered to be a failure of a social network.

Google claim to have a huge number of Google Plus members, but realistically, this number is inflated by the fact that Gmail and YouTube accounts add a Google Plus page when users sign up. For the vast majority of internet users, Google Plus is an afterthought, and offers nothing that the behemoths of Twitter and Facebook don’t already do well in a more established environment.

If Google Plus showed some sign of being useful to us as a company, we’d have had no problem focusing our time and resources into improving our following. Yet six visitors in a single year, and just 33 followers, is not an encouraging sign.

Ultimately, businesses have to make decisions about where they should allocate their focus. We could have continued to work and spend time on Google Plus, but we seriously doubted that it would be beneficial for us. It is a far wiser business decision to move on and allocate our resources elsewhere; to our booming Facebook and Twitter accounts, where our time and energy can actually be put to good use.

But why delete?

You may be wondering why we chose to actively delete the page rather than just letting it fall into disrepair. Then, at least, we’d have a page if anyone looked for it.

Firstly, an abandoned social media account is not something a business wants people to see. Accounts that aren’t updated and managed look lazy and ineffectual, which in turn can make the company seem lazy and ineffectual.

Secondly — and perhaps most importantly — the page wasn’t doing anything positive for us. It generated no traffic and didn’t enhance our business reputation at all. What our Google Plus page did create was the potential to have negative repercussions on our business; potential customers judging us by our low follower count, or seeing an abandoned page and thinking that this abandonment was emblematic of our work ethic. We believe that our Google Plus page was thus causing our business far more harm than good, and in this scenario, it’s easier than you might think to hit the delete button and move on.

In conclusion

If Google Plus suddenly experiences a rise in popular use, we’ll look at the situation again. However, we think it’s unlikely this will happen; Google Plus has been around for awhile now, and it’s never looked like a competitor to — never mind a replacement for — Twitter and Facebook.

For the moment, our Google Plus account stays deleted, and having read through the above, you can likely understand why we took that course of action.

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