by Brittany McSorley
Google My Business is something of a newcomer in the social media game, but the platform is growing its influence at an impressive clip these days. Many business owners may still be under the impression that keeping tabs on their Google listing is just a matter of making sure their displayed hours, phone number and website are all accurate. But Google has been consistently updating GMB, creating a variety of ways to drum up buzz and reach potential customers. The Google My Business dashboard is now home to several features that you can no longer afford to ignore, you rebel, you. Here are a few:
GMB’s Services feature was launched earlier this year, doing small businesses a big favor in terms of local SEO. Obviously, the more info you can provide a customer via your Google listing, the better. Many people would like to avoid actually calling a business for information for as long as they possibly can, even if they’re in desperate need of a builder, plumber, divorce lawyer, cobbler, mall Santa, etc. Listing specific services eliminates an investigatory step for your possible new client, who can read all about what you offer in comfortable silence on the Google results page.
According to Darren Shaw’s informative video on Whitespark, you can attach an entire menu of services to your Google listing, including descriptions and prices for each service if you’re so inclined. You can even separate services by section if you offer a wide range. If you’re in food service, you have a similar ability to include menu items on your GMB listing.
Adding services is also an SEO opportunity, giving you more space for keywords and bettering your chances of customer conversion.
It’s important to note that the Services feature is currently mobile-specific. A customer looking at your Google listing on anything but a smart phone would need to click all the way through, past the results page and knowledge panel, to see your services list. That being said, GMB is evolving all the time, so you may not have to wait long for more visibility.
As it turns out, Yelp and TripAdvisor simply aren’t offering enough opportunities to provide feedback. People have opinions! So many opinions!
Consequently, your Google listing also gives customers and clients an outlet for reviewing your business. And like on Yelp and TripAdvisor, you can engage directly with users by responding to reviews in a timely manner. While it’s important to thank customers for positive reviews, it can make even more of an impact to respond to negative feedback, taking responsibility and publicly addressing customer concerns.
Luckily, GMB was quick to make anonymous reviews removable, so any potential trolling should be short-lived.
You can also post updates through your GMB listing, similar to a Tweet or a post on Facebook or LinkedIn. Staying active with a couple of posts a week keeps customers informed about your business, and accompanying updates with photos or videos lends legitimacy to your online presence. A barren GMB page is no match for a photo-laden listing with obvious owner engagement.
The Q&A feature is another lifesaver for those customers who’d carry out all transactions digitally if they could. Questions can be posed and answered directly on your GMB page. Happy days!
This is another way to engage with customers and provide as much useful information as possible without forcing a sales pitch. Still, each answer you provide on your listing is a new marketing opportunity, so keep replies friendly, helpful, and candid.
Arguably the best part of Google My Business is the almighty Insights feature, which provides detailed information about how customers are finding you. This comprehensive post on Sterling Sky explains the benefits.
You can view a breakdown of how many users are searching for you directly vs. who’s finding your page based on a broader service or category search. Insights can also tell you whether customers are using standard search or Maps to view your listing. Perhaps most useful? The data on which actions customers are taking after arriving at your listing, including how many click through to your website, call your business, or request driving directions to your location. Plus, you can check out how many views your posted photos are pulling in. Isn’t technology something? Call me crazy, but I think it’s here to stay.
To boost engagement and conversion, I recommend sprucing up your Google listing ASAP—they’ve probably added a new feature in the time it took you to read this.