3 Overlooked Features on Google My Business

The Google My Business platform is a valuable, free marketing tool that any local business or chain store can use to improve its presence on Google Maps. The very basic functions of this platform allow people to find the location of your business and read/write reviews . However, many businesses fail to take advantage of some of the most beneficial features on Google My Business and do not unlock its full potential. Let’s fix that!

1) Reviewers Get Notifications When You Respond

In the event that your business receives a negative review, the best move is always to respond in a way that is professional and timely, while addressing the customer’s complaint. Doing this gives you a chance to win back your customer while projecting a good image to the public.

The Google My Business feature now sends an email notification to reviewers once the business has responded, increasing your chances of having your response being seen and your customer’s mind being changed. Here’s a screenshot of what that looks as discussed on Google’s Community Forum:

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When you post a response, the notification from Google will reach the customer’s inbox after five minutes. During this 5 minutes window, you can make any changes to your response in case you notice any mistakes or simply want to alter your response.

2) Google Questions and Answers

If left unnoticed, Google Questions and Answers can hurt a business, but it can be used in your favor if managed properly. Google Questions and Answers is a relatively new function that allows users to post their questions about the business on a public forum and for others to provide answers.

Many business owners are unaware of this feature or simply don’t bother to respond. The danger with that is potential misinformation being posted if a user answers a question inaccurately (which happens surprisingly often). This can cause a customer to be deterred from your business or to approach it with false expectations. In any case, whether misinformation is being told about your business or not, not responding on this function is a missed opportunity to engage with potential customers and draw in business.

Another tricky aspect of this feature is the fact that Google does not send businesses notifications on new questions. Fortunately, Reputology’s system can send you alerts any time a new question is posted. If you are able to answer questions politely and quickly, ideally before misinformation is posted, you can expect to see those people turn into customers.

3) Google My Business Descriptions

This feature is seeing its resurgence by Google and should appear on your Google My Business dashboard soon if it hasn’t already. As a business owner, this is your chance to use up to 750 characters to make a statement that will draw in customers. This function is different from a meta description; it will appear right below the reviews section on your business listing and can be more detailed and creative.

This description is a golden opportunity to really sell your business to a potential customer when they may not have actually clicked to view your website before. If writing isn’t your strong suit, and if you don’t have any internal writers within your company, you may want to consider hiring a copywriter to write your description for you. You want to make sure the description concisely and accurately advertises key selling points to readers, while being compelling and engaging. By posting a description with keywords geared towards your market, you will also give your SEO a boost, allowing potential customers to find you before your competitors.

Any opportunity for free marketing ought to be used to its full potential. By taking full advantage of the features on Google My Business’ platform, you can build your company’s reputation, win customers, and watch your success story unfold.

7 Free Marketing Tools for Local Businesses

Local businesses often ask us how they can do a better job marketing their business online. However, businesses don’t always need to invest in big advertising spend or fancy tools. Here are 7 free marketing tools any business owner can use.

 

1. Yelp’s free, real-time email notifications for new reviews

Engaging in friendly communication with negative reviewers of your business can be a powerful way to earn back business and demonstrate professionalism in a public forum. Yelp offers free, real-time alerts each time a new review is left on your business. This allows you to see when a review is left and respond in a more timely manner. If you have multiple Yelp listings, you may want to set up an email distribution list for routing the alerts to the right folks. This would also help you avoid the hassle of resetting the email address of the recipients if employees leave the company.

2. Hootsuite Free Plan

Many businesses use social media to build their web presence and engage their audience. Managing high engagement across multiple social channels can feel chaotic without organization. Hootsuite offers a free plan that allows management of 3 different social media platforms, allowing you to login with one password and instantly switch between each profile. The management tools include basic analytics, scheduled social media posts, and integration of two RSS feeds.

3. Reputology’s Review Generator

For a limited time, Reputology is offering a free tool that helps you convert your satisfied customers into promoters for your business. You can create a feedback form that is shared and offered to your customers. If the customer reports being unsatisfied, the form directs their info to you, allowing you to address any concerns before they post their complaints online. If your customers indicate they are happy, they can route them to a review site where they can share their experience with others. This allows you to build your business’s reputation while addressing any existing problems.

4. Free Google My Business Listing 

Google may not be the first thing that pops into your head when you think of review sites, but Google has surpassed all other sites by number of new reviews. You want to create a free Google My Business so that your business appears when people submit relevant Google searches in your area or using Google Maps. Customize your profile by adding quality photos along with well written descriptions that will show up close to the top on a Google search. Google Maps will also use GPS to prompt visitors to write reviews, so having a listing on Google My Business can help you gain traction on your online ratings.

 

5. Facebook Business Page

Second only to Google in terms of number of new reviews, Facebook is often overlooked as a review site, but it is a valuable platform for free marketing. Make your page look great with quality photos of your business, detailed descriptions, and regular posts that share engaging content to your audience. You can also add a call-to-action button that makes it easy for visitors to be directed to your business’ full website.

 

6. Instagram

Business profiles on Instagram can gain lots of traction by producing visually compelling content to draw in and engage consumers. And some have taken advantage of Instagram’s video feature to create short videos that are fun and humorous, like Dapper & Wise Roasters in Portland, OR. This sort of sharable content has helped this small coffee roaster with suburban roots to gain a substantial following relative to other roasters that have been in the competitive Portland coffee scene longer.

7. American Express Openforum

American Express Openforum is a valuable resource that features advice, tips, and informational articles from guest writers across various industries. This site is a great spot to turn to for any small business owner looking for some free guidance, and answers some of the tougher questions such as how to handle negative reviews, what to do if someone is boycotting your business, and more.

Respond to reviews directly from Reputology or Hootsuite

In addition to aggregating your Google and Facebook reviews into one place, Reputology also lets you reply to reviews directly from our interface.  No more clicking in and out, from site to site.

Screenshot #1: Monitor reviews and track replies from Reputology.

Screenshot #2: Post replies to Facebook and Google reviews directly the dashboard.

Our review monitoring app for Hootsuite also lets Hootsuite users to respond to reviews directly from the Hootsuite dashboard.

Screenshot 3: Monitor reviews along with all of your social channels from Hootsuite.

Screenshot #4: Reply to reviews from Hootsuite.

If you’d like to learn more about how Reputology’s technology can help your organization monitor and reply to reviews, contact us.