Google+ is Google’s social media platform that was set up to rival Facebook, Twitter et al. I am sure that almost everyone has heard of it but what we find (certainly in the UK) is that people don’t quite understand where it sits.
Facebook has been the market leader for some considerable time now, and dealers have understood that being able to market their business to their friends (and friends of friends) is quick and easy. Twitter is another avenue, not often implemented by dealers, but it’s easy to understand the ‘sketch show’ style of blasting short pieces of information to your followers that can get re-tweeted and viewed by many more people.
So where does Google+ fit in? Hardly any of my friends currently use it so how could it possibly be useful to my business?
Well, you had better find out soon because the clue is in the name!
1. Claim your Google+ page
Having a strong social footprint on Google+ is going to help your natural search rankings. There is evidence to suggest that having pages on your site ‘plussed’ will lead to improvements on your natural rankings. Think about it, Google no longer likes you buying links. Your customers won’t all have their own websites or blogs so the only way they will be able to vote for your website is via social media. Google have access to Facebook and Twitter activity and guess what – they also have access to Google+ ! I wonder which one they will rate higher and thus promote bigger takeup on ???
So the first step is to set up or claim your Google+ page. Try searching for your business name in Google+ like this – ‘google+ vcars’
You may have to set up your page if you don’t already have one. Go here – https://plus.google.com/pages/create and follow the simple steps to get started.
2. Set up a cracking cover photo.
Once you have your company Google+ page set up you need to give your page some life. The first thing people will see when they land on your page is your Cover Photo. Let them see how dynamic your company is, if you look interesting they will ‘plus’ you – a vote from them to you – and follow you.
You can find lots of interesting examples (lots of them free) if you search Google images for ‘Google plus cover photo’. Give your page some personality, a quality cover photo of your dealership will work really well too.
3. Set up your about us page
Let everyone know who you are and don’t forget to make it interesting. Don’t put some obvious SEO text – Google and more importantly users will not like this and will not follow you. Check out our page – https://plus.google.com/+vcars/about. Make use to the extra links if you have Twitter, Facebook & YouTube pages and don’t forget to add a profile picture.
4. Start adding people to your circles
Customers, friends, dealers, services. Search for everyone and everything. If they have a Google+ account the likelihood is they will add you back and you can build your circles up. If you hover over the ‘add to circles’ or ‘follow’ icon on someones profile you can easily select which circle to add them to or create a new circle. Circles are what differentiate Google+ from the others. If, for example you have a circle entitled ‘customers’ you can create posts that are relevant to them that may not be relevant to say ‘friends’. Service offers, special offers etc… in the same way that a bit of football banter to your friends you may not want to share with your customers!
5. Look for stuff that interests you
If you follow people & pages you are interested in, you are more likely to find it useful and it will make your time on Google+ more pleasant. It’s early days yet and there are few hard and fast rules or boundries. Google ‘plussers’ are more friendly and open than on most social media platforms and people are currently likely to plus you if you interact with them.
6. Join communities
Find communities that are relevant to you. ‘Cars’ is an obvious one. It will have thousands of people who are interested in what you sell! Join lots of communities, especially the relevant ones that are popular. If you are feeling brave set up your own community and invite your circles to join.
7. Learn from what other people are doing
See that fluffy dog that has 24 shares and 80 plusses? Start learning from what other people do that creates plusses and shares. It may not be obvious stuff like ‘hey, look at my 2012 Honda Civic for £18,000’ but at this moment in time you are trying to get lots of people to ‘plus’ and follow you. Do stuff that the people you follow like to see. It’s not direct, in-your-face marketing it’s more subtle than that.
8. Most important of all – contribute
I cannot say this strongly enough. Don’t expect people to plus and follow you if you don’t contribute to their stories. Get involved with the communities that you join. Plus and share some stories that you like, and feel your followers would be interested in. Upload pictures, articles and stories yourself. If you just stalk your pages then you will not get things happening. It takes some time and effort from you but it will be worthwhile in the end. Also, just promoting article after article on your own stream will not encourage people to plus you. Dedicate some time each day to contribute to other stories especially if it’s going to be helpful to the overall discussion.
9. Be patient
Spend a little time every day contributing, improving your profile, changing your cover photo, uploading photos and it will be rewarding. Don’t go mad for 2 days and then forget about it for 6 months. Social media takes time to hit the right notes. What works for one brand won’t work for others. Google+ is currently male and technical orientated. That will change over time. But for now, work out what works and what doesn’t and do lots and lots of what does work!
10. Follow VCARS!
We’ll follow you back and we’ll like the stuff you talk about. It’s a dolly. Feel free to ask for help or advice, but you have to meet us half way. Take the time to set your Google+ page up properly, get involved and it will pay off handsomely. You can still be an early adapter to this as I can honestly say there are very few car dealers doing this in the UK, and anyone who is not is going to miss out.
Hope this helps. Visit us at https://plus.google.com/+vcars and join the next big thing!