When you hear the words “social media” you probably think of Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. When you hear “Google,” you think of email, cloud storage, and search engines, right? Would you be surprised to hear that Google is, in fact, getting into the social media game beyond Google+? And not just social media, but one designed specifically to support the growth of businesses?
Businesses are finding a whole new plethora of marketing opportunities opening for them with the creation of Google My Business. It’s fast becoming the most important variable to consider when optimizing your local SEO.
Here’s how you can get started with Google My Business.
First up: You have to claim your business. To be able to do so, you’re going to need a physical residence, one your customers can come visit. To that end, Google My Business is not geared for individuals or entrepreneurs working from home. To claim your business, all you’ll need is a Google account.
Once you’ve claimed your business, it’s crucial you get verified with Google. It’s a simple process that can be done over the phone, through email—or even with a postcard! Once your business is verified, you’ll get a neat blue icon next to your listing that tells your future clients you’re legit!
Dashboard of Your Dreams
Once you’ve set up and claimed your business (and are awaiting your verification), start filling in the basic details about your business: address, hours of operation, website, social media, phone number, and other important contact details. The information management section of the dashboard is the most important—as it will provide a client with all the details he or she came searching for—but by no means is it the one you’ll use the most.
From the dashboard you can see all the images uploaded about your business, as well as add your own. There are three other very important sections you’ll want to familiarize yourself with: insights, reviews, and posts.
Insights show you how people access your website and what action is taken once they’ve found it. Most people find your business through Google Search and Maps; Insights will show you this data so you can optimize content to support their search needs.
People have been talking about your business, and reviews will show you what has been said. Ratings and posts will show in this section, and it’s the perfect way for customers to share their experiences with you moving forward.
Here’s where things get real “social media.” You can post updates for your customers, stuff like current sales or weather closures, and these posts will pop up in real time as people search your business.
All Your Google in One Spot
As you’ve probably guessed, Google My Business is also fully connectable to Analytics and AdWords. No need to jump from platform to platform, you’ll be able to monitor searches, traffic, and campaigns all from the same place.
Make the Most of Your Google Presence
As with everything these days, you’ll need to improve your Google presence. If you don’t have a website, Google My Business has a built-in website builder to get you started; it’s not much more than a landing page, but it’s an excellent place to start building out your web presence.
From there you’ll want to build a responsive website (i.e. one that looks great on desktop, tablet, or mobile).
As Google continues to build a social media presence, expect new features, improved responses, and a big ROI. Techfunction.net has an in-depth guide to help you get into the nitty-gritty when optimizing your Google My Business.