Although the popularity of Google+ has waned in recent years, this social media platform should not be neglected.
Google+ (Google Plus) is an interest-based social networked owned and operated by Google. Launched in 2011, there are currently over 418 million active users as of December 2015.
Okay, so why is Google+ important?
In 2014, Google amalgamated Google Places and Google+ Local Business Pages with Google My Business. This new product allows business owners the ability to manage their online presence, including Google listing (e.g. address, phone number), reviews, YouTube account, AdWords, and Insights from a single dashboard. In addition, when customers Google your business, the business appears on the map and is listed under “Places.”
As an example I Googled, photography kingston. In 0.49 seconds there were 15,600,000 million results. In addition, a map highlighting the local photographer appeared. The map and the 3 listings that follow are from Google My Business. The results underneath, are organic search results.
So, if you’ve ever thought: “How do I get on Google?” or “How does my business appear on the map?” this may be one of the pieces you’re missing.
This could also be the answer to customer questions, including “I Googled your address but it brought me to the wrong place.” or “Your hours are wrong when I Googled them.”
Taking ownership of your Google My Business account (nee Google Places) will ensure that you get on the map, as well as have the ability to manage your business’ critical information.
To get started, simply Google your business. When the search is complete a box will appear on the right side of the screen, which will include a photo, map, address, hours and reviews.
If there text “Own this business?” appears, that means you can claim the place! Follow the instructions provided. This may include sending postcards to verify your business and/or phone call confirmations.
If nothing appears when you Google your business, likely nothing currently exists, and you will create a new account. Visit Google My Business and click “Get on Google.”
Once you have either claimed or created your account, you will have the ability to upload logos and photos, include a description, hours, and other important contact information. In addition, once the page is confirmed you will receive statistics about the page’s performance, including followers and views.
As a warning, sometimes this process can become a time-vampire, but it’s well worth the effort!