Search Marketing: The Arrival of Google My Business
Google seems to be making a major effort to make its services more appealing to business users. Case in point: the recent announcement that Google Places for Business is now Google My Business.
This is more than just a simple change in name. It’s the offering of a nice package of tools designed to help businesses better take advantage of the considerable power of the Google arsenal. (This new incarnation also includes the Google+ Pages Dashboard.) The best part: it is, Google stresses, totally free.
Google My Business is, Google says, a one-stop shop for businesses that want to find an effective way to share information and interact with customers. By creating this central portal where businesses can manage a variety of tools in one place, Google aims to make it very easy for companies to accomplish the most important online engagement and information-sharing tasks.
As a result of this new initiative, Google says it now offers maximum visibility across all channels, giving you more opportunities to connect directly with customers. People will be able to find you via many routes, including on Google+ or by using Search or Maps. You highlight the most important information people need to know, and this appears prominently when they look for details about your business. For example, the Google search results can display your address and business hours, while the Map display will tell people exactly how to get to your business (very helpful for people using a phone or mobile device).
We think Google+ can be a particularly valuable tool, and yet it is one that many businesses ignore, or neglect. This is an effective and relatively easy way to interact with customers or prospects directly, perhaps even in real time. It’s one of the best tools for starting a discussion or engaging in a dialogue with someone who is interested in your business.
In addition to announcing updates and posting events, you can also use Google+ to share different types of content and media. There are lots of creative ways you can use photos and videos to catch users’ attention or bring your business to life. You can do a virtual walkthrough tour of your facilities, post photos of your best items or encourage customers to share their own videos showing how they are using your products
This can also be a convenient and valuable customer service tool, as you can use this platform as a venue for interacting with customers or sharing helpful information and updates.
Using the Google My Business dashboard, it’s quick and easy to change or update your information, so you can make sure potential customers always see accurate details.
As always, Google highlights the advantages of using a variety of different Google tools in tandem. For example, you can use Google Hangouts to host a chat or record video footage of your event, which you can then share with all of your contacts and fans.
Google stresses that this interaction is meant to be a two-way street. You make things easier and more convenient for customers and visitors, and in turn they can help support your businesses by sharing your content, posting positive reviews and ratings or using the +1 button to show their endorsement.
Google My Business also provides you with some useful insights about customers and web visitors, such as the number of clicks and driving directions requests you receive.
All of this is designed to make it easier for you to service and actively engage with customers, which helps you to build up a loyal following.
Of course, all of the great tools in the world won’t do you much good if you don’t have the time or knowledge to best use them effectively. KEO Marketing handles search engine optimization and social media tasks for many clients and would be glad to help with all of your needs in these areas.