Google My Business is a tool that can help car dealers – and other small business owners – to increase their visibility on Google search, Google Maps and Google +. And, it also allows you the chance to access all of these applications from one place. It is essentially an updated version of the older ‘Google Places’.
If you have already managed to get the hang of Google Places then you will know how powerful the platform can be and how it can be utilised to build a community for your brand. However, this was not enough. In order to really succeed you would also need to know how to use Google Local, Google Analytics and YouTube. But now, Google My Business, or GMB for short, has combined all of Google’s most valuable services in one easy to use platform.
So, here at Friday-Ad Motors, we thought that we would help out all of our car dealers with some advice on how GMB can be used to help your dealership achieve more from its online presence.
A brief overview
A GMB account will allow you to combine your social, search and other web activity into one dashboard, making it more efficient and easier to be a success online. The separate Google products are now all controllable from one place allowing you a more streamlined approach whilst maintaining all of the same functionality.
If your car dealership is already registered on Google + or Google Places, then you will automatically be upgraded to Google My Business – and by now you will already be aware of this. However, those of you who are new to this will want to know more about how GMB can help your dealership achieve more online.
When setting up your profile, you will want to ensure that you are filling out as much information as possible. The more info you offer up, the more chance you have of ranking higher in Google search results.
Your dashboard is the main hub of GMB. Once you log into here you will have access to all of the different elements that you may need. These include links to Google+, Insights, Reviews, Analytics, YouTube, AdWords and Hangouts.
While you can plunge more deeply into each platform right from this area, you can also do a number of things without even leaving this page. For instance, you can add an update to Google+ simply by clicking the share button in blue below.
When you log in, you will immediately be prompted to fill in all of the essential business information that is required. And as mentioned above, the more you fill in the better.
You can start a Hangout with your customers directly from your dashboard with one single click and you can also sign up for AdWords with ease. Essentially your dashboard allows you to gain an immediate overview of your dealership’s profile so you can see all of your GMB activity from one place. But at the same time, it also offers you a location where you can delve deeper into all of the different Google tools that you are employing.
So, let’s take a look at some of the tools available to you and how they might help your dealership gain a wider audience and drive new leads.
Google Maps – Helping your Google ranking
When you sign up to GMB you will then receive a postcard containing a pin code to your business address. You can then use this pin code to verify your dealership with Google. This is basically letting Google know that your dealership is located at the address you stated when you signed up to Google My Business.
Once you are officially verified with Google as existing in that exact location, you have a strong chance of appearing in search results and on Google maps. This is particularly handy when people are searching on Google for car dealerships in your area. Therefore, if you are properly verified and someone searches for ‘cars for sale in (insert your town/city here)’ then you may well appear higher in the Google results pages than you were expecting.
Managing reviews on Google
As you may already be aware, the importance of online reviews should not be underestimated. Therefore it is vital that you stay on top of your reviews responding to any negative (and positive) ones in a timely, but professional, manner.
Thanking customers for leaving a positive review is easy and should be done regularly as it builds a relationship with that customer. However, it is the way in which you deal with negative reviews that can have a greater impact. For a full article on how online reviews can effect your dealership’s business, click here now.
The Reviews feature of GMB helps you to stay on top of everything that your customers are saying about you, and it even lets you know what they are saying about your competitors as well. Remember, be polite, respond quickly and be professional.
Google+ is a fantastic tool for car dealers. If you can build up an audience on G+ of people from within your area then you are going to be increasing the number of people that may come to you when they next need to buy a car. Not only does this tool allow you to interact with potential customers, but the a good G+ presence can also help you rank higher on Google search.
G+ is a social media service that should be treated in much the same way as Facebook. It offers you the chance to connect with potential customers and offer them deals and offers whilst raising brand awareness.
First off, you need to ensure that you have filled in your page fully as this will help with your Google ranking. The more information you can offer potential customers the better. You must then make the most of G+ by posting regular, relevant and interesting content to your page.
Here are just a few things that you should post to your G+ page:
Visual posts are always popular on social media platforms so keep your audience interested with photos, videos, GIFs and any other visually stimulating things that your audience may find interesting. When posting imagery, you will want to ensure that it looks great when expanded and large. Don’t post small pixelated images as these will just look awful and might make your dealership come across as low budget. It is also important to bear in mind the visuals when posting any written content.
- Advice and guides
One thing that many users of G+ find interesting and relevant is content that they can learn from. Therefore, it is always a good idea to write blog posts or share other people’s articles that your audience may find relevant. Car maintenance advice, for example, would be a great place to start. Just make sure that it is well written and looks good and it will help build people’s trust in your brand. Sharing other people’s infographics is another option that might come in handy!
- Deals and offers
Another way to hook your audience in is to publicise any deals that you have, where potential customers can save money. Many people will browse G+ on the hunt for ways in which they can save money, so broadcasting your offers on this medium can be a very effective means of luring in new customers. This is very similar to Facebook which is another great platform for sharing offers and deals.
- New stock
Whilst you don’t want to overdo this, it can’t hurt to occasionally post images of new stock you have in your dealership. Just make sure that you don’t do this too often. You don’t want your page to simply be full of cars you have for sale.
Engaging with people on G+
As well as posting things to G+ it is also important that you interact with people and engage in conversations. This way you are showing your business has personality and is willing to offer advice or debate – politely – over relevant issues.
Make sure that you are speaking with users in the comments section of G+. If someone says something nice about your service, thank them for it. If someone is being negative, speak to them in a calm and professional manner to show that you are not ignoring them. the more you are seen to be responding to people on G+ the more people are likely to engage with your future posts.
You can also engage with people by reposting or +1 their posts. People love to see your seal of approval on things that they have posted and they will remember you for it. By doing this you are able to build loyalty with potential customers and this adds to a sense of community. Just make sure that you only repost things that are relevant to your audience.
The Insights tool will offer you the perfect chance to see just how much your efforts are paying off. It won’t transform you into an SEO – search engine optimisation – expert right away, but it will help you learn more about how effective your online efforts are.
You can, for example, see how many views your dealership’s Google+ page has gotten over a selected period of time. And you can also see how many clicks you have achieved and where your viewers have gone to once they’ve left.
This tool will then help you see what kind of things work on Google+. So you can see what kind of content your customers are interested in. It will also offer you an overview of your demographics which will allow you to better target the topics you cover in your postings.
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