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Remember when marketing meant pushing out your message across a series of one-way communication vehicles? That antiquated broadcast strategy has faded into the background, as the advent of social media paved the way for a marketing evolution. Today, marketers aren’t just sending a product pitch out across the airwaves or the pages of a magazine. They are building relationships by engaging directly with individuals through every tweet and post.
Odds are you already know this. You’re on Twitter and Facebook. Maybe you’re building your network on LinkedIn. Many of you have added a Google+ business page to your social roster. (If you haven’t, let’s talk). And if you have, keep reading anyway because you may not be maximizing the potential of this unique and powerful platform.
Meet Google My Business
On some social media platforms, a business page is a typical page with no special features. Other platforms offer a few added bells and whistles so you can access basic analytics. And then there’s Google My Business, which goes beyond a mere Google+ page and provides SMBs with the opportunity to manage business data, reviews and social interaction across multiple Google-branded platforms.
Let’s break that down. If you have a Google+ business page, your information will appear in search results, maps and Google+. Your contact information, business hours, links to your website and other key data points will be right where you want it – at your customers’ fingertips.
For starters, being woven into the fabric of Google’s multiple platforms is good for your SEO. Beyond that, however, Google My Business offers the following benefits:
The next time you Google something, check out the right-hand column of the search results. In fact, let’s try that experiment right now. Feeling a little hungry? How about a burger? Let’s try Googling one of our favorites, the Saloon of East Durham, and see what happens. On the right, you should be seeing a fingernail photo next to a map with a red marker placed directly on the Saloon’s location. Below it should be contact info, hours of operation, a link to the website and reviews. Better yet, find a business and you can dial their number immediately without having to go to their website. When you finish reading this article, go ahead and test it with other searches – house painters, landscapers, your favorite coffee shop, you name it. Do you see how effective this could be for your business?
Let’s try another search, only this time look up MarkNet Group under Google’s map tab. There’s that info box again, plus an easy one-click option to get directions from where you’re sitting right now.
All that good information you found in the search and map results carries over to the Google+ page. You can share pictures of your products, reviews and other content for which your customers will thank you. Let’s say you own a day spa, for example. You could share links to stories about beauty trends or relaxation techniques. You can also share photos of your favorite make-overs. You can even share info about your latest special offers and updated business hours. See for yourself. Visit our Google + page. While you’re there, add us to your circle.
Google+ is a social media platform. That means you are able to post updates, news and special offers, and your customers can respond with a “+1” or a comment. This is far from a broadcast-only medium: It is direct, one-on-one relationship-building tool that also provides instant feedback. In turn, you can respond to your customers and prospects. You can answer their questions, thank them for their praise and even share great content they’ve published on their Google+ pages. That’s the beauty of social media, isn’t it? Customers develop a personal connection to you and your business, and that’s always good for sales and sustained growth.
If you haven’t taken Google Hangouts for a test run, set aside time today to do it. This is face-to-face video chat, and it’s yours to use when you establish a Google+ page. Picture the marketing value of hosting a video chat with your preferred customers to announce a new product. You can share a screen share documents and more. Best of all, it’s free!!
Google My Business is a one-stop edit spot. You can update your contact info, your business hours and more from one location on the web. Those changes will ripple across the various Google platforms associated with your business.
Google My Business is a one-stop edit spot. Update your Google business info easily – Tweet This
Get the scoop
You’ll have access to the stats behind your online presence: How are people finding you? How often are people finding you? And all those other bits of data you want to know. Best part? Everything – from your analytics to managing your contact info and staying on top of reviews – can be done from one easy-to-use dashboard. There’s even a tool to help you manage specific data for multiple locations. If you have four shops in different cities, you can manage your local Google presence from the same dashboard space. You’ve got enough to do as a small business owner. Figuring out your world as Google users see it shouldn’t be complicated. Luckily, Google agrees.
Be there, there and there
Whether your potential customer is looking for you on their mobile device or sitting in front of their laptop, you’ll be found.
Did you know there’s a Google My Business app? Update your business information, review your stats and post to your pages on the fly from your phone or tablet. You can get the app on either Google Play or Apple’s AppStore.
Sounds good, right? There’s more: Google My Business is free. All the benefits discussed above are available at no cost to you. If you’re not already making the search giant work for you through Google My Business, let’s get started now. Hit the “Get on Google” button at the top of the Google My Business page. Follow the simple steps Google will prompt for you.
Have questions? I’d be happy to talk more about Google My Business and other online marketing topics. You can reach me here: https://old.marknetgroup.com/contact/