Google My Business, or GMB as some marketers refer to it, is one of the most important aspects of your online presence. However, most businesses ignore or are ignorant of the fact that this listing (and your reviews, posts, information) can be directly tied to your digital reputation and ranking.
When it comes to Google, and many other search engines as well, the information you openly give them such as your business name, hours, and office locations, help them verify authenticity. This, in turn, can help your business be one of the first to show when someone searching for a query you rank for. Likewise, this also helps your customers. They can easily find you, your website, and some basic information all without having to contact you or search through pages of your social media.
It’s a two-fold, win-win. And, if you didn’t know before, this is how you can master Google My Business.
- Ensuring all your info is correct and gathered
- Treating your listing as if it were social media (because it is)
- Engaging with your audience
- Update, update, update
Collect Your Info
Before you get started with anything be sure to track down a few essential bits of information. You will want to make sure you provide as much detail as possible about your company and that it is accurate and up to date. Before you create a listing make sure you have the following:
- Name (some companies are known by various names. Which do you want to be known for?)
- Location/office photos and logo
- Categories (what type of business/industry are you in?)
- Contact information (phone, email, website)
- Hours of operation
Once you create the listing and fill out this information you will need to be verified. There are a few different ways to do this, but the most common is to have Google send a postcard to the address with a verification code. This should arrive in 5-7 business days. Then, once verified, the fun really starts.
Once your basic information is inputted (by the way, you can change this whenever necessary), you can now go in and start creating posts. Like social media, these posts should be engaging and get people to click on the associated button. Google has a few different options to choose from so you can share a variety of content. However, some of the most useful ones revolve around site content (blogs, download, etc.), services/products, and events.
These three are most likely the easiest to broadcast and can help create awareness while also advertising to new audiences who happen to find you on Google or Google Maps. These should be accompanied by a photo, short description with a CTA, and a linked button where they can “Learn More”, “Contact”, “Sign Up”, or more.
Now it’s time to discuss the extras that Google My Business has to offer. You might be surprised to find out it’s not just a business listing – it’s much more. With new features, GMB lets you engage with your audience like never before. Gone are the days that you only use you listing to get reviews or to help people find directions.
Not only can you post just like you would on social but you message and have conversations to. By hooking up a cell phone direction to your GMB you can easily chat with customers in real-time. And, with the help of a Q&A section you can go in and answer specific questions that customers might have. Not only does this help your current audience, but this also helps future visitors get quick answers if they have the same issues.
Be sure to take a look around your entire profile and see what you can utilize to best engage and create a connection with those who visit your listing.
Keep it Updated
This last tip is the most important. So many business owners get overwhelmed with, well, business things that their GMB listing starts to take a back seat. So often they forget or just stop using it in general because it’s too much of a hassle. If this is the case for you then it’s time to find some outside help.
You NEED to ensure that your listing is constantly being updated, questions are being answered, and reviews are being responded to. Showing that you are interacting leaves a great impression on both your audience and Google.
Just like any other “social” platform, you don’t want this to slip. Be sure you have a plan in place if you do get burned out. Or, find a way to squeeze it into your schedule once a week or even once a month to go in and take a look around. A little is better than nothing.
To summarize, like with anything, have a plan before you jump into the water. Make sure you have everything you need and understand how your team, and your business, can best utilize Google My Business now and in the future.
Google My Business can get pretty complicated, especially when you have more than one location. But, no worries, our marketing team can help you get on the right track by helping to update and manage all your listings. We do the dirty work so you don’t have to!