Marketing is a crucial component of every business. As trends change, more options become available for promoting your business. Most notably, a social media presence has grown into a must-have for businesses due to its ability to reach potential customers. There are currently 2.77 billion users on some form of social media!
You have already created your marketing plan and included Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. You are further optimizing your site for SEO, and your Facebook ads are pulling in new visitors each week. There’s one place you may have neglected.
Have you checked out Google My Business (GMB) yet?
If you haven’t heard of GMB, I bet you have seen it. As you enter a search for “plumbers near me” or “dentists in Maryville," a box appears on the right. There you see a picture, address, and buttons for a company that meets your search. That is GMB!
Your listing is tied to Google Maps and provides a map to your business. It is included in local searches and can help with your ranking.
Many businesses are not fully utilizing the power of this platform. Only 17.5% of companies had created a post on their listing within the last week, according to one study. In the social media realm, 7 days is an eternity.
Google changes its algorithms regularly, but it is also updating and adding to Google My Business. For local businesses, adding and then optimizing your listing is yet another tool in your marketing arsenal.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to optimize your GMB listing and use this social platform to dominate local marketing.
Step 1: Create a Listing
First, you need to consider if GMB is right for your business. This listing option is available to the following companies.
- Physical business locations: Their customers visit these locations to use or buy your products.
- Mobile businesses: They go to their customers but have an office that customers can visit. (ex: plumber, heating and AC services).
- Individual practitioners: They have a physical office and provide a service such as a realtor or a lawyer.
- Service area businesses: These are like mobile businesses but offer onsite service and travel to customers.
After you select one of these options, your next step is to create the listing. This is a free amenity that assists with local searches, so there is no downside to doing so. Complete the basic information, such as the address, phone number, and name of your company. Also, include the service area for your industry.
Step 2: Get Your Listing Verified
Now that you have created your listing, you must get it verified by requesting your verification code. The most common way is for Google to send you a postcard in the mail, which includes a code.
Then, enter the code on your GMB account and edit any information.
Phone verification is available for some businesses. These will receive a phone call from Google at their business number. If you are on Google’s Search Console already, then your location should be verified instantly.
That’s it. Sign into your account on GMB, select "website," and then "publish." Done.
Step 3: Add Keywords
Keeping your listing simple is the easiest way but not the most effective way to handle this new platform. Use your SEO skills and think about the keywords people would use to find you. Add these to your title and in the description. Check the character count and guidelines for assistance.
Step 4: Specify Your Hours of Operation
How many times have you seen a business that doesn’t list their hours front and center? That is more than frustrating to your potential clients, it can be deadly. With a single click, that customer will easily find the next business that does include their hours. Consider seasonal and holiday hours and update those as necessary.
Step 5: Add Photos to Your Posts
Another important factor is providing a clear, appealing picture of your business. This needs to be JPG or PNG with a size between 10KB-5MB. The minimum resolution is 720 px by 720 px.
Step 6: Add Other Visuals
Don’t stop with a picture. Include your company’s logo, add additional photos of the inside, or even include a short video. The file size needs to be under 100 MB with a resolution of 720p or higher. Keep its length to under 30 seconds.
Step 7: Choose the Right CTA
Check out the variety of buttons Google includes. You can add a shortcut to book an appointment or to send a text message. Depending on your company, you may also have a “Service” button. Here, you can use those keywords again to describe what you provide. Include as many appropriate options to make it easier for someone to interact with your business.
Step 8: Add Q&A Section
Google also offers a Questions and Answers section. Readers can post their questions, which provides you a chance to interact with them by responding.
This is another opportunity for your company to stand out. In fact, 25% of locations have unanswered questions listed. Be the company that responds promptly.
Tips for Making Your Listing a Success
I have covered the basics for your Google My Business listing, and now let’s will boost your online presence with a few more tips and tricks. While some may be time-consuming, consider the outcome.
Similar to other sites, reviews can be posted on your listing. Start by approaching a few satisfied clients and request their feedback. You may be surprised at how many agree to do so - 68% of customers write a review when asked.
Then, develop a plan for getting more feedback whether by reaching out to several old customers or creating an email for first-time customers.
Getting the reviews posted is the first part. The next part is responding to these. Post a few lines to each review by thanking them. You can also address any concerns here. This visible interaction is beneficial to your online reputation.
97% of clients read local business reviews, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to engage with your customers.
This is why I called GMB a social media platform earlier. You can post pictures, helpful tips, current promotions, or other useful information for your clients.
Just like with the platforms, keep current with your postings. Schedule a day or time when you will add to your listing.
To keep this simple, try using a Google My Business scheduling tool such as SocialPilot. With this program, you can even create a bunch of posts and schedule them to be published on various dates. Perhaps your hours will be different between Christmas and New Year’s, or you always have a sale in June.
Create the posts now, save them in your queue, and move on to other tasks. If your dates change, you can easily re-schedule them within your social media calendar.
If you find articles or pictures that your customers have shared on social, you can use them in your upcoming posts with SocialPilot’s browser extension. Just use the extension create and schedule a post for that content.
Posting regularly lets your followers know what to expect, but that is not all. Social media accounts are a vital way to bring brand recognition and loyalty for your company. Also, they are an easy, and inexpensive, way to interact with clients. You will raise your SEO rank and increase traffic when you post useful content that your customers enjoy.
However, it can be time-consuming to work on this each day. When you delegate the tasks to a tool that schedules and posts for you, you free up valuable time.
Try different images, emojis, and types of posts and then see what your ideal customers prefer.
While using social media is a crucial part of marketing, you will lose out on the opportunity to maximize your potential if you neglect to analyze your data.
This doesn't need to be complicated. Each social media has its own set of data, and GMB is no different. SocialPilot tracks a variety of measurements to see how your listing performs.
Does your typical customer engage with your website or head straight to the map? Did they post reviews on competitors’ services? How did they first find you online?
These questions and their answers help you understand the customer’s journey. More importantly, they also highlight areas that need improvement. By checking out the data in SocialPilot’s Google My Business analytics reports, you can adjust your posts quickly.
Curious? Check out this sample Google My Business analytics report to see the kind of insights you gain.
Ben Fisher, an SEO expert, researched Google My Business and analyzed the results from 2,000 companies.
He summed up his findings by saying, “Google My Business (GMB) is one of the most powerful ways to improve a business’s local search engine optimization and online visibility. If you’re a local business, claiming your Google My Business profile is one of the first steps you should take to increase your company’s online presence.”
Google My Business, when used strategically, can bring you a lot of customers and clients. Adding your information is simple, and then you request verification. Once you receive that code, you can publish your listing.
By adding posts, photos, and keywords to your Google My Business listing, your company can rise in rankings and win at local marketing. Using a scheduling tool, like SocialPilot, makes the process even easier.
With a few simple steps, you can optimize your GMB listing and spend more time interacting with your customers.