Social Media-influenced features enhance what is already an essential business listing
Google is many things: a search engine, a phone company, a self-driving car manufacturer.
It has not found as much success as a social network. Google+, launched in 2011, never took off as the Facebook rival it was built to be.
But Google’s main business dashboard, Google My Business, has recently taken on some interesting new capabilities that are directly influenced by social media. More on that below, but first, let’s take a look at what Google My Business is and why it’s important for businesses.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is the central hub of any business on Google. It’s a business listing, but because it’s a Google product, building it out with complete and accurate information has a critical effect on your search visibility.
When a prospect searches your business on Google, your Google My Business listing populates the right sidebar of the results page with hours of operation, a mapped location, and photos that you have uploaded into your listing. It is designed to be more eye-catching than the text based results in the main search result list, and the one that gets clicked.
Setting up your page is simple. You’ll need to answer a few questions.
1. What type of business do you have?
Google My Business gives you three options that tell Google how to showcase your business. Storefronts have specific geographic locations with Google Map integration. Service area is the option for businesses that cover a larger geographic area than one storefront. Brand is for businesses that don’t operate from one location or with regular hours.
2. What are your hours, address, and URL?
Google will prompt you to load your store hours, address and URL into your listing. This is the information that will appear with your sidebar result when people search your business. Double check for accuracy!
3. Describe your business and add pictures.
Google will give you a field for a business description. Make it compelling and concise and include keywords relevant to your product, service, and location for search engine optimization. Add photos to make your listing pop in search results.
Now comes the fun part
Google has recently added promising functionality to the Google My Business platform that is influenced by social media. Your Google My Business listing is no longer a static listing waiting to be found. Check out some of the new functions to optimize your Google My Business listing.
You can post!
With a Google My Business post, you can tailor what appears in the search result sidebar with a limited-time post about your business. For example, you can feature a particular product or sale with text and photos that add to your static listing. You can also add a call-to-action that links to your website.
A Google My Business post is designed to be short-lived, and in fact, they expire after 10 days. It’s a great way to enliven your listing and keep it up to date with what’s happening with your business.
Add a Q&A section
Google is rolling out a Frequently Asked Questions section for Google My Business owners that will appear in the results pages for people who search your business. Take advantage of this feature to give prospective customers answers to common questions straight from their search results page.
This feature has a crowd-sourced element where customers can ask businesses questions and give a “thumbs up” to questions to push them higher up in the listing.
Google My Business is also in the early roll out stages of a messaging capability that will allow customers to chat with your businesses in real time from their search engine result page. So when your listing comes up in a search, a customer can hit a button to quickly contact you via messaging.
Business owners can configure the messaging capability within their Google My Business listing with the mobile phone number you want to use for chats. When a customer clicks to chat, the chat will appear on your phone’s messaging app.
These new Google My Business capabilities add functionality to what was already an essential listing for any business. Make sure you have built out your Google My Business listing with accurate information and compelling photos, and consider how these new features can benefit your customers.
Thanks for stopping by,
LauraBreezy Hill Marketing is a Vermont web design agency specializing in inbound marketing,social media marketing, and building optimized and mobile responsive websites for customers throughout the United States.