I vividly remember a conversation I had with Wikimotive's Tim Martell back in 2008. Even four and a half years later, the conversation has remained in my mind. We were discussing the rise of social media. We both agreed that Facebook would be the big thing, but he told me something that surprised me.
"I actually get more traffic from my MySpace page than Facebook," he said.
We knew it wouldn't last, but it was hard to let go completely. His team maintained the strongest MySpace page in automotive for a long time until the social network stopped really being a social network. He then started focusing on the world of Facebook and the rest is history.
Today, Google+ is a "player" in the automotive social media field, but very few are sure how to use it properly. Some would say that at this stage it's a ghost town and isn't a valid part of the social media strategy. My argument to the contrary is similar to my argument against abandoning Twitter: it just doesn't take a lot of time to keep it ready.
Even if you don't believe it will materialize into anything, get these words stuck in your head: "Just in case."
There are reports of it helping from an organic search ranking perspective. These reports are confirmed, then unconfirmed, then refuted, then reconfirmed. Google has said that it is important. Then they've said it doesn't have an affect. What people often don't realize is that they're masterful at spin, particularly when it comes to their search algorithm.
In mid-2010 they vehemently denied that social signals had any effect on search rankings before stating for the record later the same year that they definitely had an effect on search rankings and had been having an effect for nearly two years. It's no coincidence that they made the latter statement six months before launching Google+.
With Google Local having a direct impact on business and being tied in with Google+, you can't afford to think that it will fail. Assume it won't. Assume it will be a thing. Here are three things to do to make sure it doesn't die on the vine.
- Post on it Like Facebook - Whatever you're posting to Facebook, post it to Google+ as well. It's an extra step that takes about 2 minutes if you're slow and requires nothing more than copying and pasting.
- Use Hootsuite - This shouldn't be your only method of posting as everything comes across as links (even images) but it's a good way to keep the page scheduled and going strong.
- Manage Your Page Weekly - Posting is quick. Managing takes a little more time. You don't have to do it daily like you do with Facebook, but once a week check out your new followers, follow the appropriate ones back, and go through your feed (logged in as your page) giving +1s to good content. Total time: 10 minutes.
Nobody worth their salary has a ton of time to waste in the automotive industry, but it's important to keep this high-potential network from dying on the vine.