First thing first, what is Google My Business?
Essentially, Google My Business is a business listing service.
For example, if you search for Hootsuite you’ll see a box appear to the right hand of the results. This contains a short blurb about the company, social links, and other companies that are usually searched for by association.
But if we were a cafe serving up coffee, you’d also see opening hours, address, what times the cafe is usually busy, and any other information that Google thinks you’d be looking for.
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Why should you care about Google My Business?
Users don’t simply look things up on the internet, they Google it. Over 3.5 billion searches are made every single day on Google, so you want to make sure you can be found.
In 2015, Google introduced the concept of ‘micro-moments’, speaking to the idea that people expect an immediate answer in the moment—they want to know, go, do and buy. Google says this kind of search behavior is on the rise, with consumers forgetting what it was like not getting answers to their questions immediately.
Do you have a physical shop or branches? Ninety-seven percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12 percent of those looking for a local business online every day. This gives your business enormous potential to be seen if you’re in the right spot.
Think about how often you use Google, and how annoying it can be when the information you’re looking for isn’t there. People could potentially be having the same experience when looking for your brand or business.
But there are a multitude of other reasons to use Google My Business:
It’s simple and easy to use
Google guides you through the process effortlessly. It’ll only take up a few minutes of your time to set up, but will boost your business’ visibility exponentially when searched for.
It’s important for SEO
Gone are the days where repeating a keyword on your website made Google take notice of your brand and hand you the number one spot on the search engine results page.
Giving as much information about your company and linking your social profiles and websites to Google My Business will help you rank higher in search results. This, in turn, will make it easier for potential customers to find you.
It’s a win-win.
It gives you a competitive edge
Your competitors could already be taking advantage of Google My Business, making it easier for them to rank higher than your business in search results. This means it may be easier for customers to choose your competitor as well.
By listing your business and providing as many details as possible, you give Google enough information to decide if you’re offering what a user is searching for, while potentially beating your competitors to the top spot.
It can boost engagement
Remember how many searches Google processes per day? Each one of those is a chance for your business or brand to connect and engage with your audience.
Google encourages users to review businesses, leave comments, and ask questions—all places where you can engage with your audience and build a relationship with them. Eighty-five percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so it pays to keep an eye on what people are saying about you and respond to any problems.
Plus it’s always a morale booster to see all the positive things your customers are saying about you!
Google My Business is like a mini website
There’s lots of tools you can use in Google My Business to make the journey seamless for your customers, from adding a booking form to enabling users to order online from your business.
Google can even help you build a basic website for free if you don’t have one. It’s autogenerated from the information that you’ve already given Google, so they’ve done a lot of the hard work for you.
It includes analytics
If you want to understand your customers better, Google My Business includes those insights. You can deep dive into where your customers came from and how they found you, enabling you to make informed decisions about your strategy
These insights also help you learn about your customers’ actions—where did they click? What images are getting the most views? How many customers tried to call you? All of this information can be used to better target your old customers and bring in new ones.
Need we say more?
Tips for using Google My Business
Claim your Google My Business page
…if you haven’t already. As we mentioned earlier, Google tries to give as much information to a user as it knows, so it may have already formed a listing for you. It’s simple to create yours from scratch, however. Just use an email that’s associated with your brand or business.
Fill out everything
Give Google as much information as possible about your business. Fill out all the sections you can, making sure all information is in line with any of your other online points of customer contact.
Google will already have some information on your brand or business, and is probably trying to fill in the blanks itself. They also encourage their users to help them do this, by allowing them to suggest edits to your business’ listing if they know the answers. So, it’s likely that they have some of the information wrong.
In the best case scenario, this misinformation is slightly embarrassing for your business. In the worst case scenario, you lose a customer. So by at least updating your Google My Business listing, you’re able to control the information out there and ensure your customers are always (correctly) in the know.
In fact, you could take half an hour and read our blog post on improving your social media profiles to ensure consistency throughout all of your online profiles. That way a customer always has the most up-to-date information on every platform they’re viewing you on.
And show off your business! Humans are visual by nature and want to see what you’re all about, not just read about it. So use photos to give the searchers what they want.
These can be images that you’ve taken yourself, or ones that you’ve asked a professional to do. Think about the first impression they’ll give of your business, and see if it’s worth investing in paying for higher-quality images. You want customers to be attracted to your business, so show it off in the best way possible.
Treat it like an extension of your social media
Check in as often as you can, making sure information is up to date and that there are no unanswered questions or reviews you need to respond to.
The more you put into Google My Business, the more you’ll get out of it.
Got a sale on or a special offer? Or even a company update? Take advantage of Google My Business posts and let customers know about it.
Google My Business Posts are news updates that you can create about your business that are published directly on your listing. They also provide analytics, so you can see how well a post has performed and which one was most popular with customers.
Creating a post takes no time at all and can help you reach a wider audience.
Now that you have enough information to get started using Google My Business, get out there, get listed, and get new customers.