In the past year, there have been lots of changes with how Google organizes and allows changes for Google Maps, Places, and now Google + Pages. I know this can be a confusing subject because there have been so many changes it can be hard for business owners to keep up with which Google Product does what and needs their attention. That’s one of the reasons we manage so many of our client’s Google+ presence.
As of August, Google started migrating Google Places listings to Google+ Business pages. The new Google+ Business page is basically the same thing as your Google Places listings, but with added social features.
What this means for you is a new dashboard for managing your business information and new social tools to strengthen your brand.
Your Google+ Business page can and should be a great source of leads and a useful tool for building relationships with residents.
A properly managed Google+ Business page will be served up to prospects searching for apartments in your local area. The real question here is how well will your Google+ Business page rank, and how much exposure will it get. Note that setting up and customizing a Google+ Business page is only the beginning.
Posting content regularly to your page, increasing your number of followers, growing your circles, and properly managing reviews is instrumental to your pages success.
This whole process of going from Google Places to Google+ Business pages can be confusing. To try to break it down, I’m going to oversimplify.
To verify whether your Google Places listings was upgraded to a Google+ Business page, look in your Google Places dashboard for the “Visit your Google+ page.” If you see this then your listing was upgraded to a Google+ Business page.
If you don’t see your Google+ Business page in the dashboard, then your listing has not been upgraded yet. Google advises that you sit tight and wait as this will happen soon. At this point, DO NOT create a Google+ Business page.
Now if you have already manually created your Google+ Business page and you don’t see your page in the Places dashboard, then as stated above, you’ll have to wait for now. The good news is that Google is making lots of changes and you shouldn’t have to wait long.
Another question many people have is “Should I use the Google Places dashboard to manage my listing or the Google+ dashboard to manage my listing?” This depends on which category above you fall into. If you see your Google+ Business page in the Google Places dashboard, then you can manage your listing and Business page from the Places dashboard.
If you don’t see your Google+ Business page in the Places dashboard, then you should be managing your old Google Places listing and Google+ Business page from the Google+ dashboard. This of course only applies to those who have manually created their Google+ Business page.
There is a lot you can do with your Google+ Business page, and Google is constantly updating the feature sets. For those that have already setup and customized their Google+ Business page, Google has updated the category list and it now includes “Apartment Complex” as an option. Be sure to go back and update your category if you haven’t already done so.
Once your Google+ Business page is setup and customized, you are ready to start posting. Be sure to have a posting plan to make it easier to keep your page current and followers engaged. Whatever you decide to post, make sure it’s engaging with a personal and authentic feel.
Think about your brand, what makes your community unique, and the personality you want to convey to your residents and prospects.
Google recommends posting at least every other day so your community stays top of mind and your followers have fresh content to keep them engaged. Don’t post all your content at once as it can overwhelm your followers. Create a calendar to keep it spaced out. For more social media management ideas, click here.
Growing the number of followers and circles on your page does not happen overnight, and the better your posting strategy is, the bigger and faster your followers and circles will grow. To kick start your pages, start with getting the community and corporate staff onboard. Have them join the page and get involved.
Also, of course promote the page around your community and incorporate it into your email marketing to residents. Your staff should be asking residents to follow the page every chance they get. If you have a good posting strategy in place, your page will grow by reaching all the friends and acquaintances of staff and residents.
A good posting strategy will include having more than one person involved in the posting process. Just because your personal Google+ profile is the owner of the page does not mean that others can’t post on it as well. (Continued, next page)
This is where the “Managers” feature of the Google+ Business page comes in handy. You can add others to be managers of the page. This allows multiple people to contribute and post on the page.
Your Google+ Business page contains a reviews section, so be sure to monitor this regularly and respond to reviews promptly. Don’t be shy to ask others to leave reviews of their experiences. 66% of all residents will leave a review if simply asked. With that said, the key is asking them at opportune times. Right after signing a lease or when a service request has been satisfactorily completed are good moments to ask.
If you have questions about your Google Places listings or Google+ Business pages, feel free to give me a call or send me an email and I’ll see what I can do to point you in the right direction.
Call me at 858-717-2339 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josh Grillo is a #1 Best Selling Author, Speaker and Co-Founder of Resident360.