Understanding Google+

How to utilize the new service for your powersports dealership.

For most dealers, the thought of maintaining one more social media site makes you want to scream. At this point, you probably feel as if you finally have a handle on keeping up with your Facebook page and most days you even remember to throw a Tweet or two out there (even though you still have no idea why).

You’ve totally got this, and then it happens — a new social media site is born, and it all begins again! If you’ve held out on creating a Google+ page, I am hear to tell you it’s not optional. After a strong launch and continued user growth, it’s apparent that Google+ is thriving and seems to be here for the duration. It’s time to create that business page!

Here is an in-depth, step-by-step guide to creating a Google+ page for your dealership, how Google+ works and how to promote your page.

Step 1: Create a Google+ profile

To create a Google+ profile, you will need to register for a Gmail account (Gmail is simply Google’s free email service. We recommend setting up a generic Gmail account for your dealership to use to set up your account rather than having a staff member use their personal email address. This ensures that the security of your account would not be compromised if a staff member leaves your team. Choose an easy-to-remember user name such as [email protected].

It’s important to understand the difference between a profile and a page. Use a profile when using Google+ for personal use. A page should be used when signing on as business or organization.

Once your Gmail account is set up, you’re ready to complete the setup of your Google+ Business Page. Click on the “Create a Google+ Page” link located on the lower right-hand corner when you are in “Stream” view.

Create your page by locating your Google Places page or choose a business category to complete setup. Fill out your business name, agree to the terms and that’s it! Your Google+ Business Page is ready for you to use.

Step 2: Populate your page!

Customize your page by providing detailed information about your dealership. The content you supply during this step of the setup process will be what is visible on your Google+ page.

Add photos, videos and website information to your page. Remember: Google utilizes the content you provide here to rank your website, so pile in the detailed descriptions, images and YouTube videos, and keep it current!

Step 3: Connect your website to your new Google+ Business Page.

Google+ makes it easy to create a connection between your website, Google+ Business Page and other social networking sites.
Create a badge to be placed on your website so that your visitors can find and easily access your page.

Add a +1 button to your website. When a visitor clicks +1, it recommends your page and the content will then be shared on Google+.

Copy and share a link to your page on all of your communications and connect with other Google+ business pages via Circles.

Submit your page to the Google+ feature “Direct Connect.” Your acceptance on “Direct Connect” is based on how much content you publish and the popularity of your website. You must have all of the above tools in place to be considered.

Step 4: Create and manage your Circles.

Not all customers are the same, and not all are interested in the same information; this is the foundation of Google+ “Circles.” So rather than forcing your customers to sift through a stream of posts they could care less about, take the time to create and manage your Circles to only show them content you know that they want to see.

Create Circles and add users based on the content that you want to share with a specific group.

Once someone is added to your circles, they will add you to theirs. This allows your posts to show up in the stream for that Circle.

Invite your contacts to join your circles and continuously grow your network.

Step 5: Launch Hangouts to connect with your customers.

Use Hangout to video chat with your customers one-on-one or connect up to 10 people at a time. This is awesome — its looks like “The Brady Bunch” in screen, and like everything else, it’s free! Plus, you can share your screen.

Get creative and post video blogs or short promo videos to share with your Circles.

Google+ is projected to have over 400 million users in 2012 and to be the No. 1 social networking site. By following the above steps and managing your page daily, your search engine rankings, website traffic and new customer reach will dramatically increase. Make sure to measure your statistics by adding Google Analytics to your site and reviewing the reports monthly.

Best of all, it’s a fun way to connect with your customers and build your online presence on a trusted site.

If you have any questions or need assistance in setting up a business page for your dealership, Duo Web Solutions is offering a free webinar on this topic in March. Please send an email to [email protected] and let us know you are interested in attending.

Jaimie Spaulding is the director of sales and marketing for Duo Web Solutions, the #1 provider of web, social, and mobile marketing for Powersports dealers. She can be reached at [email protected].

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