Going Google Plus... Search + Maps + Youtube + Reviews = Google Plus for BusinessPosted by Jon Haslett on 19 February, 2014 in
Google Plus (also written Google+ or G+) has been easy to ignore since its introduction way back in June 2011. When it launched there was a running joke that Google Plus was a social network for Google Employees, however Google has slowly and steadily integrated Google Plus with all their other products making it a vital tool for any business that wants to make the most of Google's suite of services. Yes, you can find Dash Media on Google+ at plus.google.com/+dashmediadarwin.
Personalised Search Results
Everyday an increasing number of people are searching Google while signed in to their own Google account, whether they know it or not. They might be on their work computer, their laptops or perhaps they are using a tablet or phone.
When you do a Google search while signed in to your Google account, Google attempts to give you the best possible results by taking into consideration things such as:
- Previous searches and the results you've picked.
- Your location. Remembering that Darwin sometimes shows up as Adelaide.
- Reviews by other Google users.
- Your contacts and the websites and pages they've +1'd.
Those last three are the most relevant for small business operators. With a few minutes work, you can give yourself an unfair advantage by having a Google Plus local business page with a verified location.
It's possible to disable personalised search results for your Google account, however, most users do not.
Google Maps started out as a separate service, people went to maps.google.com and typed in an address and a map marked with the results would appear.
Later, Google introduced Google Places for Business which allowed business owners to submit and manage their business details to be included on maps and in location related search results.
Today, a Google Plus Business Page replaces Google Places for Business as the preferred way for business owners to submit and manage their listings in Google Maps and services that use data provided by Google Maps.
Every Google Plus Business Page now receives a dedicated YouTube account and channel. A channel is a page on YouTube where people can see or subscribe to all videos added to that channel by the owner.
This new option is much more attractive for business owners when compared to the alternative of posting business videos to YouTube with your "super professional" looking gmail address [email protected] or the account that you use to comment on videos of drunk people burping the alphabet.
Imagine that you run a retail store and you notice several customers standing around in the hot car park for an extended period of time chatting to each other about your store.
You can either leave them out there and have no idea what they're saying or you can invite them to come back inside while they have their conversation.
Bring your customers inside your doors so that you can:
- Join the conversation.
- Learn about, and actually fix legitimate problems. Keeping customers you might have lost.
- Record all the great feedback and praise and show it to new potential customers.
Your customers are having a conversation about you online whether you like it or not. It's better to be in the room so that you can hear what they have to say.
By default, Google Plus business pages allow people to post a review and assign a 5 star rating to your business. As a business page manager you can choose reviews to feature on your page. Reviews can appear as part of personalised search results along with phone numbers, your address, and opening hours.
Android Phone Contacts
In the latest version of the Android phone software, searching your contacts for a business name will also search Google Plus Business Pages / Map listings. It's like having the Yellow Pages built into your phone dialler except that you don't have to pay for the privilege.
Most new phones have Google Maps included out of the box and provide turn by turn navigation using Google's business listings when searching. Imagine having your business pre-loaded on practically every GPS unit sold. Sounds pretty valuable, yeah?
Google Maps Business Photos
Working in conjunction with selected photographers, Google offers businesses the ability to add interactive 360 degree virtual tours of the inside of their business.
If this is something you're interested in let us know and we'll put you in touch with your nearest Google Maps trusted photographer.
Now that you understand why your business needs a Google+ business page, here is my previous blog post that takes you step by step through the process of creating a new Google+ page for your business.