Google My Business (GMB) Guideline Updates: You’re Not a Business, Man

An image of an Indian office worker with a blue shirt behind his desk

 

“I’m not a businessman/I’m a business, maaaaaan.”

On Kanye West’s 2005 album Late Registration, Jay-Z rapped the line above, which would quickly become a part of the pop culture lexicon. Appearing as Gary Vee-style motivational quotes, in the Instagram bios of 14 year olds flipping sneakers, and, I’m sad to say, on my Grandmother’s Facebook wall after she sold a bunch of crocheted “Kitten Mittens” on Etsy, the line was co-opted by anyone who had made a dime outside of a paycheque. Honestly, when Jay-Z said it, it was clever. The rest of you aren’t businesses, and you certainly aren’t Jay-Z. 

old man in a suit gesturing

Google Knows You’re Not a Business

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: not only is Google constantly working to improve the user’s experience, but it’s also much smarter than we give it credit for. It knows what GMB (Google My Business) listings are businesses, and which are people. As a dealership lead generator (sounds better than car salesman, no?) you are an integral part of the business, but you are not the business. Ditto for subprime finance companies, that operate within a dealership. Google would consider that lead generation within the dealership, not the dealership itself. So please, don’t create your own personal GMB listing. Google knows that you work for a company, and are not (in most cases) the company itself. Also, I’m pretty sure if we asked, Google could confidently tell us that you are, in fact, not Jay-Z.

So Who Can Have Their Own GMB Listing?

A recent update to the GMB Guideline is clear—or about as clear as Google gets—on when a person can have their own GMB listing, and when they can’t. “Practitioners,” or public-facing professionals (e.g. doctors, lawyers, financial agents, essentially anyone with a couple of fancy extra letters attached to their name), can create their own listing in the event that they:

  1. operate in a public-facing role, or
  2. are available for direct contact at the listing’s verified location, during business hours.

Even then, a single practitioner shouldn’t have multiple listings for multiple specializations (so if you provide both oil changes and tire swaps, those should not have separate listings). But with this update, Google has specified that “Sales associates or lead generation agents for corporations aren’t individual practitioners, and aren’t eligible for a listing.” Cut and dry. That means no individual salespeople or special sales teams within the dealership, no lead generators like subprime finance or leasing specialists, no service advisors, nada. Just the business, man. 

What’s the Harm?

The reality is, not only does having multiple listings mean a ton of upkeep, but it could have a negative impact on the business itself. Because one day Google is going to see listings for ‘Gary from Gary Moe Volkswagen,’ ‘Moe from Gary Moe Volkswagen,’ and ‘Gary Moe Volkswagen,’ and could delete or suspend two of the three accounts that it assumes are duplicates—at which point no amount of name brand recognition will save you. In fact, one of my colleagues just finished dealing with this for a client, and will have a case study on this at a later date. Jay-Z might’ve had a song called “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” but my guess is he’d be smarter than opening up multiple listings when Google told him not to.

Additionally, you are potentially losing out on great customer testimonials that should have gone to your primary dealership listing, but instead went to the individual salesperson’s listing. Sure, they were the primary person helping the customer, but we all know it takes a strong team to get the wheels over the curb, not just one person. And if that salesperson leaves your dealership, you best believe that they’re taking all of those customer testimonials to whatever dealership they land at next. All of your marketing dollars and effort that may have helped get the customer through your doors are now following Moe along to one of your competitors. You may have “99 Problems” at your dealership, but vehicles you’ve already sold shouldn’t be one of them.

Sometimes the simplest path is the best, and this is one of those instances. Save yourself the headache of having to verify or re-verify your account. Save yourself the trouble of constantly updating multiple listings. Save yourself the trouble of losing customers or customer reviews that you earned. Create one listing for your dealership, and you’ll reap the long-term benefits of playing by Google’s rules. Now get out on the floor, you’ve got leads to generate.

Great Hosts, Better Events: Google Toronto & Strathcom Media present Google Connect Premier

interior of googles toronto office

In today’s modern world, what with all of the online-dating and microwave dinners, certain habits—good manners if you will—have fallen by the wayside in favour of instant gratification. Why go see a movie when you could just open up Netflix? Hell, just the other day I heard a commercial over the radio for a certain fast-food chain’s app where you could pre-order your food so you “wouldn’t have to wait” for it. Pardon? It’s fast food. Call me old fashioned, but if you can’t wait the 45 seconds after pulling up to the window and paying for your burger—you’re probably a bigger part of the problem than the solution. But I’m getting sidetracked. My point is, when someone shows these good manners and old fashioned values, it sticks out. So when our friends at Google’s Toronto office offered to host us, and a few other industry leaders, we jumped at the chance. Continue reading “Great Hosts, Better Events: Google Toronto & Strathcom Media present Google Connect Premier”

Move Over Great Pumpkin, It’s a Spooky Halloween Spectacular at Strathcom

image of all the halloween costume contest participants

Generally speaking, Mondays are the scariest day of the week. The thought of the upcoming week is bone-chilling, reports and emails and Susan from accounting who won’t stop talking about her cats—I mean, every day working at Strathcom is a dream! (*mutters to self* Yes, that’ll do). But sometimes, the scariest day falls somewhere else in the week. Like when the Christmas party is on a weekday and the boss asks to see you the next morning. Or, when it’s staff pizza day on a Thursday and Taylor in Content ran out of Lactaid®. The most terrifying day of the year though, especially when it falls on a Wednesday, is Halloween. Continue reading “Move Over Great Pumpkin, It’s a Spooky Halloween Spectacular at Strathcom”

“They Came Highly Recommended!”: The Changes to Facebook’s Review System

Vector realistic isolated neon signs of thumbs up and down on the wall background. Concept of rating, network and social media.

Life used to be simpler, before social media democratized everything—including criticism. Now while this can be a good thing (in theory), allowing all consumers to have a voice is an incredibly difficult system to police. Arguably the most famous —slowly becoming infamous— review site Yelp has faced enormous criticism over what’s seen as a Mafioso-like approach that would leave Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola shocked and appalled. Everything from negative reviews about parking, to outright extortion. The pushback has been fierce, and Yelp has been the subject of countless articles, a 2017 documentary, and a 2015 episode of South Park—and if you’ve ever seen South Park, you know that you don’t want to be the subject of one of their episodes. Like many aspects of the digital world, advances come quick and changes come quicker. Facebook is leading the charge in this regard, and are changing their review system from a 5 star rating system into a new, recommendation system. But how will this affect your dealership? Continue reading ““They Came Highly Recommended!”: The Changes to Facebook’s Review System”

You Ask, We Answer: Google My Business

map with google my business written and pin on top of map

Welcome back to another installment of “You Ask, We Answer!” (*intense music plays*). Because when you’ve got questions, we won’t rest until we find the answers. Well, there was that one time when one of the temps fell asleep while searching for the answer, but we doused them with a bottle of cold water–because that’s the type of intensity we bring to our webinars!

Today, we tapped our Lead Content Strategist, Google Local Guide, and moral beacon Melina Beeston to talk about Google My Business. Not only have we embedded the video below, but we’ve transcribed the whole damn thing (while I may subscribe to the infinite monkey theorem, it isn’t the best practise as a business).   Continue reading “You Ask, We Answer: Google My Business”

Reel Leads: How Video Can Help You Market Your Dealership

Sleazy man with big curly hair is wearing an old 70s outfit. He holds an old 8 mm camera and shoots some video. He is very happy.

One day, probably in the near future, we’ll connect USB cords into a slot on the back of our neck and intake copious amounts of information in a matter of moments. The only thing at risk is filling  our minds with too much knowledge and our heads exploding, like one of Gallagher’s watermelons (sorry for the dark mental image, it’s Monday morning and I’ve got a long week ahead of me). In the meantime, we’re forced to find as many different methods of learning as possible within a short time frame. Sort of like when I went to the “How to Make an Impact with Video” seminar put on by Margaux McWatt of local video production company Modern Muse Media. Attempting to condense their 30 hour video training program into 1 hour might’ve proved impossible, but hey, the Mission Impossible movies make Tom Cruise look like an ordinary sized person so my motto is never say never. And while we certainly had to skip a good portion of the actual —you know— filming and editing, I still walked away learning about the importance of video content on social media. Continue reading “Reel Leads: How Video Can Help You Market Your Dealership”

You Ask, We Answer: Technical SEO

Vector illustration - Web development

Welcome to the first of many thrilling installments of “You Ask, We Answer!” (working on the production value, in the meantime just imagine a gong sound in the background), where you send in your questions, and we answer them in our webinars.

We figured we’d start out strong with our Director of Product Development, CrossFit strongwoman, and all-around good gal, Carrie Oliva, talking about On-Page and Technical SEO. We’ve embedded the video footage of the webinar below, and then painstakingly transcribed (read: edited what the app transcribed for us) the answers to the questions below that. Continue reading “You Ask, We Answer: Technical SEO”

Internalizing Our Internship: Strathcom’s Interns Tell Their Tale

Internship banner and icons

Being a grizzled veteran of the Strathcom circuit, having worked here for a grueling 8 months, my sour disposition perked up slightly when I heard we were offering a few summer internships. Perfect, I thought to myself. Some poor unwitting souls I could heap abuse upon, who I could haze mercilessly, and who I could send to Starbucks for overly-complicated drink orders only to berate them when they returned with a drink that wasn’t precisely what I wanted (“I said double sweetener but half-sweet!”). But by the end of July, when our summer interns said a teary farewell, we had all learned a valuable lesson. Well, the interns learned a number of them. I’d like to think I learned to not be such a jerk—but only time will tell. Anyway, why am I telling you all of this? Let’s hear it from the interns themselves.

Continue reading “Internalizing Our Internship: Strathcom’s Interns Tell Their Tale”

Oh, What a Tangled Webinar We Weave!

questions, business concept

Here’s the thing—sometimes something perfectly good gets replaced. Even if the original didn’t need improving (*cough* New Coke *cough*). But sometimes, even if the older version was fine, a change can be absolutely reinvigorating. Life-changing even. Now, am I suggesting that the changes we’ve made at Strathcom are going to change your life? Damn straight. Continue reading “Oh, What a Tangled Webinar We Weave!”

Spam & Regs: GDPR and What It Means for Your Business

Shot of a young businessman looking angry while using a computer during a late night at work

E-mail, or E-mbarrassed

Well, this is embarrassing.

According to the 2018 Radicati Email Statistics Report, the average person has 1.75 e-mail accounts. And I have six. Six! That I can remember. And that isn’t including any ultra-regrettable, junior high school e-mail addresses I signed up for in the halcyon days of the internet, and have been trying to forget ever since (in my defense, sk8er_boi_98@hotmail.com was created well before Avril Lavigne hit the scene).

Now I suspect that number of 1.75 e-mail accounts per person is a touch low—dragged down by everyone’s Nana & Pop-Pop who have an e-mail so that they can use Facebook to comment on large corporations’ posts asking how their grandchildren are doing, but I digress. I have six e-mail accounts that I use fairly regularly, which means that on May 25th, 2018, I probably set a personal record for most e-mails received.

“Damn you, GDPR!” *shakes fist at the air*

Continue reading “Spam & Regs: GDPR and What It Means for Your Business”

Dealer Inventory Comes to Facebook Marketplace

If you own a computer, or more likely a smart phone, there is a very real possibility you use Facebook. And Facebook Marketplace, a place on Facebook that makes it easy to discover as well as buy and sell goods, provides peace of mind by enabling you to learn a bit more about the person you are buying from, as well as utilizing Facebook Messenger as an easier way to communicate. After introducing a new autos experience on Marketplace in the U.S. last October, Marketplace is now bringing this experience to Canada, including the ability for dealerships to list their inventory. And wouldn’t you know it, Strathcom Media is working with Facebook to help dealerships list their inventory! Continue reading “Dealer Inventory Comes to Facebook Marketplace”

Everyone at Strathcom is Out to Lunch – A Closer Look Into Strathcom Culture

Now I’ve set foot in a lot of lunchrooms over the course of my life. In fact, at school, the lunchroom was where I did some of my best work. Now, I’ve been in lunchrooms where the fluorescent lights were so bright they could blind a man. I’ve been in lunchrooms so clean that even mentioning the ten-second rule was akin to handing out fascist propaganda. Conversely, I’ve been in lunchrooms so dirty I’d rather sneak off and eat my lunch in the bathroom. But I’ve never been in a lunchroom quite like the one at Strathcom…  Continue reading “Everyone at Strathcom is Out to Lunch – A Closer Look Into Strathcom Culture”