Social Media

List of Google+ Tips and Tricks for Auto Dealers

Since Google+ is so new, I asked everyone on our team at DealerOn to put together a list of resources for car dealers trying to wrap their minds around this new way of social networking (myself included).  Here’s a list of links/sites that we’ve put together.

The Google+ Project: A demo from Google that is pretty informative, but doesn’t explore too deeply.

Google+ Unveiled: 9 Things You Need to Know: Very basic explanation of the basic features behind Google+.  Good starting point after the Google demo above.

Your Google+ Guide: 15 Tips for Newbies: Guide to getting the most out of the new social network.

Google+ Cheat Sheet: A short cheat sheet with some keyboard shortcuts and other useful information.

What Will Google Plus Google Places Equal?: Hypothetical look at how business may be able to use Google+ once it is opened to businesses.  Interesting Read.

Google+ in 15 Minutes a Day: Interesting post on how to fit another social networking site into your already busy day.

Google+ takes on Facebook. Is Basecamp next?: Discusses ways that businesses could use Google+ as a business tool.  Seems like it could be used as a project management tool.

Feel free to share any helpful articles or blog posts that you’ve found, as well as any tips or tricks that help you get the most out of the new tool.

What is the overall consensus on Google+–positive or negative?

Facebook Recommendations

Looks like Facebook is getting in on the reviews game. While checking in on the DealerOn Facebook page today, I noticed a new tool that I think auto dealers may want to keep an eye on.  Expanding on the simple “like” button that seems to be everywhere, Facebook now lets users leave recommendations for business pages.

Located in the sidebar, Facebook has introduced a “Recommend This Place” option on Place pages (if you’ve merged your Place page with your Business page, it will appear there).  Users are asked to write a recommendation, and after clicking in the text box, you’re presented with the option of who to share your recommendation with (Everyone, Just Friends, or Customize).

Recommendations will show on the wall of the user and in the news feed of those that the user chooses to share it with.  If a recommendation is shared with “Everyone”, the admin of that page will be able to see it.

If you are an admin, you will have control over which public (those shared with Everyone) recommendations appear on your page and can remove them by simply clicking an “x”.

The only concern I have with this new tool is that these recommendations are not always visible to the admin of a page.  The default is to share with Everyone, so hopefully most users won’t change that.  Also, I would imagine that Facebook will start to use these recommendations as another ranking factor in their search tool, so the more reviews your dealership has, the more likely you’ll show up in the search results (just a hunch—Facebook hasn’t disclosed their search algorithm).

What do you think?  Have you used this new feature on your dealership’s Facebook Place page?  Do you think this is a positive or negative for your dealership and your online marketing efforts?

Take Control of your Facebook Places

If you use Facebook with any regularity, I’m sure you’ve seen the rising popularity of Facebook Places, used it yourself, and seen your friends check-in information as well. If you haven’t noticed this yet, Facebook Places allows users to “check-in” through their mobile phones, letting their friends (and businesses) know where they are. It’s designed to compete with Foursquare, a similar location-based social network.

So what happens if someone tries to check-in at your dealership, only to find your Facebook Place doesn’t exist yet? They can create the listing for you—which is probably NOT how you want to establish your dealership’s Facebook Place! You want to control your FB Place listing, just as you want to control any aspect of your dealership’s brand, and this includes making sure that the information presented in your Facebook Places listings is accurate.

Here’s how to set up your dealership’s Facebook Place:

1. Check to see if your dealership’s Facebook Place already exists. Using a smartphone, log into a Facebook account and click onto either “Places” or “Check-in”. Type the name of your dealership–if it does not appear, then add your dealership and a description.

2. On your computer, log into Facebook and using the search box at the top of the page, find your dealership. Make sure you click onto the “Places” version, not your dealership’s “Page”.

3. Once there, click on the “Is this your business?” link on the left hand side. You’ll see a small pop-up asking you to verify that you are an “official representative” of your dealership. Click the tick box, and then “Proceed with Verification”.

4. Fill in the information about your dealership as accurately and as completely as possible. It’s important that the information you enter on this page matches the information on your dealership’s Facebook page, as well as on your Google Places listing. Click “Continue” when you have everything filled out.

5. The last step is to show Facebook that you are actually affiliated with your dealership. This can be done by adding your dealership business email to your Facebook page, entering a dealership email address (it must be one that is associated with your dealership’s business page, otherwise you’ll need to do step 1 first), or uploading a utility or phone bill from your dealership. Hit submit when you’re finished.

Facebook advises that it can take up to a week for them to verify your “claiming” of the Places page. If all goes correctly, your dealership will have control of the address, contact information, business hours, profile picture, admins, and other settings of your Places page. Also, since Facebook is constantly changing their offerings, it’s important to claim your page as early as possible to help ensure your dealership has control moving forward.

New Social Media Features and Layout

If you are an admin for your dealership’s Facebook Page, you should have received an email regarding an exciting update about the new layout and features available for your Facebook Business Page.  Now, your dealership’s Facebook Page will resemble a personal profile, and allows you to interact through Facebook as your dealership.  Here is an overview of what is changing:

  • Notifications when fans interact with your page or posts
  • A place to showcase photos along the top of your page
  • A news feed for your page
  • The ability to Like and post on other pages as your page

You can also find this information when you login and visit your Facebook Page.  I strongly suggest you take the “tour” of the new features, and upgrade as soon as the platform will let you.  Since everyone will be forced to make the change eventually, the more time you have to learn how to best leverage these new features, the further ahead of the game you’ll be.

Let me know if you have any questions about these new changes, or anything else regarding your dealership’s online marketing .

Facebook Changes Promotion Restrictions

Since many of our social media car dealerships use contests on Facebook as a way of gathering more “likes” for their page, I wanted to help keep you up to date on the changes Facebook is making regarding contests on their platform.

In the past, any auto dealership looking to run a promotion (“sweepstakes, contest, competition, or other similar offering”) need to get prior, written permission from Facebook.  Unfortunately for most, if not all small businesses, Facebook wouldn’t grant this permission to businesses that hadn’t spent at least $10,000 in Facebook ads.  Disobeying this policy could lead to your Facebook page being blocked.

Turns out, Facebook has now dropped both the spending requirement and the need for permission.  Small businesses, like your auto dealer website, can now run promotions on the Facebook platform.  Since this can be an extremely cost-effective way to increase your brand awareness and number of “Likes” on Facebook, we encourage our auto dealer customers to take advantage of this new opportunity.

There are still guidelines and restrictions, so make sure you thoroughly read through Facebook’s policies. Also, please feel free to leave a comment here or contact DealerOn if you have any questions about conducting a contest or promotion on Facebook.