Have you heard about Google My Business? It is a platform that enables consumers to search for businesses and services near them through Google Search and Maps. Think of it as a directory and a social media profile in one.
Because most consumers look for products and services online (and often on mobile devices), it is a huge benefit for businesses, especially small ones or those relying predominantly on locals as the main (or only) source of business. With your Google My Business Listing, you immediately show up in consumers’ search queries. It also lends credibility to your business.
It is a free service, but it does require some initial set up and planning. Here’s what you need to know.
You need to create and claim ownership of your Google My Business listing
Consumers will continue to use Google Search and Maps as they always have. However, on your end, things are a bit different. You will need to create a Google My Business listing so that when consumers are looking, your business shows up in the search.
Creating a listing is simple. You log into the Google Account you want associated with your business or create a brand-new one. Then you go to google.com/business and select “Start now.” From there, you follow instructions and input information as directed.
As your final step, you will choose a verification option from several choices and follow the instructions to finish up.
Share details about your business
During set up, you want to add as many details about your business as possible, including hours, phone number, website, URL, location, unique offerings (e.g., “waterfront,” “child-friendly”) and other pertinent information. This part is key because it helps consumers understand your business, learn about your brand, and decide if they want to take the next step. The more you add, the better chances you have of engaging consumers.
Ensure you include a hi-res cover photo and profile photo, but also include other images. For example, if you run a restaurant, load it up with beautiful images of the food. If you are in retail, show videos of your storefront and products. Or share images of employees, customers and events. You can also include short videos.
Those visuals make you stand out and pique consumers’ interest.
Be active on your listing
With your Google My Business profile you can share posts similarly to Facebook and Twitter, and you should. It is a great way to connect with consumers. Plus, you can ask followers to leave reviews, and when they do, respond—even to the negative ones. That lets people know that you care about their experience with your business, to both encourage them to come back and to bring new people in.
Review your listing periodically
Consumers can “suggest an edit” to your listing, so make sure you log in regularly to ensure everything is accurate—and that a disgruntled customer or ex-employee hasn’t changed your information out of spite. You’ll want to edit information as needed and add or delete images and videos.