When we talk to our clients about the best way to interact with customers, the familiar social media platforms often come to mind – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. But we also often advise clients to meet people where they are – and very often, that’s Google. For many of us, it’s the first place we go when we are looking for helpful information about a change in hours, an address or contact information for a business.
To make the point, here’s an example of something that happened to me just this past week. I was using Google Maps to find the best route to get to a restaurant – and upon typing in the name of the restaurant, I got an alert from Google letting me know that the restaurant might be closed, and that I should check. Thanks to the alert, I called the restaurant and got a voicemail letting me know they were closed for a vacation and the date they would be reopening.
What could have been a frustrating evening of driving to a restaurant only to find out that it was closed and having to shift plans on the fly turned into something I could plan for, thanks to Google, and the restaurant’s foresight to update its Google My Business listing ahead of its time away.
If you want to make sure your Google My Business listing is doing as much as it can for your business, here are three tips to consider that might help consumers:
- Make sure all of your information is correct. First things first, if you don’t have a Google My Business listing yet, you need to add or claim your business and then verify your listing, which can take up to a few weeks. Once your listing is verified, make sure the information is right. Any business will likely include your address, hours, phone number and website. A restaurant might include links to a current menu or the website where guests can make reservations. You also can include photos, which is a great way for your audience to get a feel for your business before they even visit.
- Monitor and respond to reviews. When businesses think of reviews, often sites and apps like Yelp, OpenTable and TripAdvisor come to mind. But Google reviews are just as important. As a business, make sure you are monitoring your Google reviews and responding where appropriate. Many customers are learning about your business from what others are saying on Google, so it’s important to keep an eye on the conversation.
- Go the extra mile. Your business listing on Google may feel like something you need to tackle once and forget about it. Far from it. It’s important to make sure everything on Google stays as up to date as possible. Whether your business is closing for a week or moving to a new storefront down the street, Google is a great way for you to communicate those changes with your customers.
When you’re keeping your audience informed on Google, don’t forget to share the same updates on your social channels as well – things like weather-related closures or new hours. Take it from me, your customers will be thankful that you are keeping them in the know.