Google My Business to Replace Google+
Change is frequent in today’s digital era. Recently, Google announced that its platform Google+ shut down at the beginning of April.
According to Google, the platform disbanded due to “low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations.” The company reported that Google+ accounts, along with Google+ pages, created will be shut down along with the deletion of its content. However, those who are looking to save content from Google+ are able to download the data via Google’s “Download your Google+ data” page.
The app has already begun to dissolve as users were no longer able to create Google+profiles, pages, communities, or events as of February 4, according to Google. In addition, content on Google+ pages, including comments, will also be deleted starting April 2.
And while Google+ as a community or social media platform may not have been widely used, for many businesses—including shops—it was an extremely valuable way to boost SEO and Google search rankings.
Jennifer Filzen, owner and operator of Rock Star Marketing in Monterey, Calif., has worked with auto repair clients who previously utilized Google+ in their business.
“As a marketer, I loved it and I promoted the crap out of it,” Filzen says. “Anything that’s a Google product is great for SEO [and] a great resource.”
Filzen isn’t surprised by Google’s change of heart in signing off on Google+ for social media.
“Ultimately Google+ was always a far distant second place to Facebook because Facebook started off as social and that’s where it’s strengths lie,” Filzen says. “Google has always been the search engine.”
For shops who are preparing for the loss of Google+, Filzen discusses the importance of bringing the auto repair business online as well as what to expect from Google’s latest venture: Google My Business.
Struggle to Stand Out
As social media continues to change, Filzen says there’s a race to be at the top for social media users. For Google, challenges arose when it came with competing with Facebook, Filzen describes.
“Companies are jumping in to become ‘the thing,’” Filzen says. “We’ve seen that Google is ‘the thing’ now after many other companies failing before them, and Facebook is like standing on the shoulders of other forums and chats.”
The two companies, however, have grown since their initial start, Filzen describes.
“I would look at those two as they were born, and we’re watching them going from little babies to toddlers,” Filzen says. “Now I would say that Facebook in particular since its had such a challenging year, it’s kind of like a gangly, pimply-face teenager, and Google also would be like the bigger brother; they’re definitely growing up and maturing.”
Through their growth in social media, comes challenges to find a particular niche, in this case, Google’s struggle with becoming more of a social place for users.
“In the race to dominate the market, Google has always kind of had the leg up because it’s a search engine, but Facebook is like the social aspect so Google’s like, ‘Well, we can be social too,’ so they introduced Google+ way back in the day.
“They’ve really changed the game and then sometimes I see Facebook trying to catch up.”
A New Platform for Users
Following the departure of Google+ comes the next social media venture for users: Google My Business. More recently, Filzen was invited out to Google’s San Francisco campus where the company discussed the new program.
“I think of Google My Business as a one-stop-shop; they’ve taken a lot of the features and they’re trying to put it in one place. It definitely has the maps, the business hours, it has all of my reviews, place to put your offers, you can do your advertising, calendar events. It’s evolving—I think it’s great,” explains Filzen.
According to Google, “Google My Business” is designed for businesses as a way to “serve customers at a particular location or serve customers within a designated area.” Following a location verification, customers will essentially be able to find the business.
“What I recommend to my clients is to make sure that you do fill out your Google My Business information,” Filzen says. “When you fill out the information, you’re putting in your address, your hours, your phone numbers, website, and all of the services.”
It’s important to have all information filled out in your Google My Business as it could potentially steer customers away if he or she is unsure of what your hours of operations are in the instance that they’re not listed.
“You can also improve your standing by having that filled out because believe it or not, in this digital age, I’m still running across auto repair shops that don’t believe in social media marketing,” Filzen says. “I think it’s critical [to get] Google My Business listings filled out and maximize it.”