To make your business’s Google presence appealing and informative you’ll need to work on ways to improve your reputation management efforts. Consumers already use Google on a daily basis for everything from search queries to email so make sure that they use some of their valuable time to learn more about your business.
Specifically, there are three main ways to get the ball rolling on an effective Google reputation management strategy:
- Claim your Google My Business listing
- Show engagement
- Get and respond to reviews
Google Reputation Management Step 1: Claim A Google My Business Listing
The most important reason for claiming a Google My Business listing is to have control of the information related to the business.
An unclaimed listing might display inaccurate or outdated information that will not only mislead potential customers but it can even prevent them from visiting your business at all.
With your business claimed you should make sure that general information such as the business’s name, address, operating hours, and phone number are correct. A local search report revealed that 53 percent of consumers visit a business within 48 hours of their initial search, and having the right information on your listing can help people make an informed purchase decision.
Have a Complete Google My Business Listing
However, you shouldn’t stop at just adding general information. You should also make an effort to add as much information as you can to make the brand even more appealing.
For instance, you can add some visual aspects to your listing by adding photos and videos. Photos are especially important to 24 percent of consumers who ranked profile images as the deciding factor in local search. Videos are also effective because 50 percent of users will watch footage of your offerings before they visit. What’s even more important is that adding video content can bring an increase of up to 157 percent in organic traffic through search engines.
Another option is to add a 750-character description of your offerings to customers, which gives people a quick look at what your brand has to offer. If you are a restaurant- or service-based industry you can also add menu items to your listing.
By default, Google will grab menu or service item information from third-party sources like OpenPlatform. However, if you don’t have menu information on these sites, you can also manually add individual items directly on the listing.
You can also use the listing to make it easier for people to book a reservation with you through Google’s Reserve feature. However, you’ll need to sign up with one of Google’s booking or scheduling partners in order to have Reserve available on your listing.
Google Reputation Management Step 2: Show Constant Engagement
Effective reputation management of your Google listing also requires you to be engaging to customers, and the most effective way to reach out through your listing is with posts.
By combining text, photos, and a call to action, you can create appealing content that attracts people to learn more about your brand. Other optional elements on a post include videos, special events, or enticing offers.
Posts – according to Moz – are used by 59.6 percent of businesses, and they are extremely effective because they show up on the Knowledge Panel when someone searches for your brand on Google or Maps. In fact, the research compared post views to total direct or branded search views and found that the post was clicked on “almost 100 percent of the time.”
Aside from posts, you can also answer the questions posed by consumers in the “Questions & answers” section of the listing. Anyone can answer these questions, which makes it even more important that you provide the right information as the online representative of the brand. Google doesn’t notify you when a new question appears, which means that you’ll need to keep a constant eye on the listing for new questions from consumers.
Another option is to allow direct messaging from customers. This might be preferable to the “Questions & answers” section because this allows direct interaction between the business and the consumer. Messaging is available via SMS or through Google Allo.
Google Reputation Management Step 3: Get and Respond to Reviews
What is arguably the most important part of any Google My Business listing is the reviews. Google holds the top spot for online reviews by holding 57.5 percent of all online reviews and 64 percent of consumers will check reviews on Google before they visit.
How to Get More Google Reviews
More importantly, 21 percent of customers view Google reviews as one of the most important factors for local search, which makes it important to constantly acquire more reviews. Not only does this help you gain more attention but each review also serves as valuable social proof for prospective customers.
You can get more reviews in a number of ways. One of the most popular review generation methods is through email requests. In fact, up to 70 percent of reviews come from these post-visit emails. You can also choose to send SMS messages or create a landing page on your website.
If you prefer asking for reviews in-person you can provide physical handouts or include a review request directly in your point-of-sale system or tablet during the checkout process. These face-to-face review generation tactics are also effective because it allows you to get valuable insights right after the initial purchase.
The Importance of Responding to Reviews
A surprising 63 percent of customers never get a response to their review, which is a shame. Simply put: not enough brands are interacting with their customers. By responding, you’re showing the consumer that they are valued and that their feedback helps pave the way for a better experience and service for future consumers.
However, review responses are more complicated than you think because they have to toe the line between personal and professional tones. To get an idea of how to best approach positive and negative responses for your industry you can take a look at our guide to effective review responses.
Climb the Rankings with Effective Google Reputation Management
A well-managed Google My Business listing not only attracts more consumers; it also puts Google on notice. Correct and updated information, highly-rated reviews, and engagement from management all contribute to a lively listing, which Google rewards with higher placement in its local search rankings. This means more views, clicks, and conversions from your online audience.