With the big news that Google is shutting down Google+ over the next few months, it seems like Businesses are back to using giants Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. While Google+ never really took off in the first place, many businesses are left wondering how (and if) this change will impact their business.
First things first, Google+ and Google My Business are 2 separate entities. Google+ was Google’s answer to the social media craze, thinking it would become a place for individuals to interact within “circles” of friends and colleagues. This is was they are beginning to phase out.
Google My Business, instead, is essentially a free directory listing where Google allows you to post information about your business, pictures and social media updates, as well as receive reviews from other Google users. The benefits of this platform are tremendous and those include:
In-depth insights into how many people viewed, clicked on, or called your business from this listing.
Easy "click-to-call" capabilities for smart phones. Meaning if someone Googles you on their phone a button will appear where they can call you in one click.
Integration with Google maps to easily show where you are located on a map when searching from a desktop, and one click access to directions when searching on a phone or tablet.
Businesses with a Google My Business account also get several benefits in search. These range from showing up, essentially immediately, on the first page in search (on the right hand side map search section), as well as the added SEO benefits of linking your website directly with a Google property.
Now here comes the confusing part. There are 2 ways you can sign up - as a "Brand" page or as a "Location". A lot of businesses lean towards the "Brand" option as they may service multiple locations or may not be location specific. Here's the problem with just doing a "Brand" page. You don't get all the added benefits that I listed above. You are only going to show up in that Google Search Map section if you sign up as a location and verify it.
Once it's verified and running, it's important to keep you profile up-to-date with the correct information. Check in about once per month and make any changes to your contact info, hours or description as needed.
In addition, Google My Business, offers you the ability to post updates that live on your page for 7 days. These are great places to post events, sales, new content, or anything else you’d like to have Google Searchers see while viewing your profile.
So fear not business friends, while Google+ is leaving us (RIP), there are still some great options to take advantage of when it comes to promoting your business on the search platform.