It seems that you should care about Google Plus and now the new “Google My Business” after all, especially if you are a small business owner.
Google’s social media network (they prefer to call it a “layer”) has been around since June of 2011. Google Plus is not as popular as Facebook but it’s still Google and it’s not going anywhere. Does this mean you have to participate and get immersed in yet another social media platform? Not quite.
However, here is where you should pay attention. A while back I “claimed” Frameable Faces on Google. I just went on Google and verified that I am an owner so I could fill in the information that is there about our business. That is an important step because Google is obviously the most popular way to search the Internet. Regardless of how much or how little you bother with search engine optimization or social media, people are using Google to find you and they will continue to do so.
What I didn’t know is that at some point by claiming my “place” (my business) on Google, that prompted Google to create a verified Google Plus Page for Frameable Faces – I had no idea it existed. Kind of like a Facebook Business Page that they were calling “Google Places For Business” and now they have announced they have changed the name to “Google My Business”. If you’re a little confused it’s okay – Google has done a good job of confusing the marketplace with how they’ve rolled out their products.
The good news is that the new “Google My Business” does represent an opportunity. One thing I noticed when I went to the Frameable Faces page they created is that Google had been collecting data for me all along. It told me how many people had viewed the page (presumably from Google search results), how many people had asked for driving directions to the studio and where they asked for them from, what key words they used to find my listing – lots of good data!
Are you going to lose business by not using Google My Business? I can’t say that for a fact, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to ignore it. From just what I see locally very few brands know about this so don’t feel like you’ve missed the boat so far. The question is are you going to use this to your advantage going forward?
Here are a few benefits to setting up your page in my mind:
- It just generally looks good – when someone does a search for your business on Google it looks better when the results represent a thriving and welcoming business – one that appears to actually be in the game.
- Familiarizing yourself with this page and managing it can give you potentially valuable Google data and anaylytics about traffic and clients finding your brand via Google search.
- Getting a slight edge on your competition since not many brands are taking advantage of this.
- An opportunity to post and share fresh content in a spot where potential new customers might see it (as opposed to only a portion of your Facebook following for example). Look at the screenshot below. By doing a Google search for Frameable Faces this is what comes up on the right hand side of the screen. Notice the “follow” buttons along with a link to an article from our blog that I posted to the Frameable Faces Google page. It’s a way to capture fans directly from Google search results.
Don’t just take my word for it, check out this article about the benefits of this new tool. Listen, I am not predicting that Google Plus will become a pervasively popular social media site with the masses like Facebook. It is definitely growing now but it might not ever reach that tipping point where “everyone” is on it….and then again it might. Either way we already know the search engine is dominant, so at least set up your brand properly for now with Google My Business.