Google Plus Local for Business


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How to use Google Plus Local in your business.

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Google Plus Local for Business

  1. 1. By Go Mobile Media Marketing
  2. 2. Google Plus Local for Business NOTICE: You DO NOT Have the Right to Reprint or Resell this Report! You Also MAY NOT Give Away, Sell, or Share the Content Herein Copyright © Go Mobile Media Marketing ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this report may be reproduced or transmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any informational storage or retrieval system without express written, dated and signed permission from the author. DISCLAIMER AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: The information presented in this report represents the views of the publisher as of the date of publication. The publisher reserves the rights to alter and update their opinions based on new conditions. This report is for informational purposes only. The author and the publisher do not accept any responsibilities for any liabilities resulting from the use of this information. While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided here, the author and the publisher cannot assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions. Any similarities with people or facts are unintentional. AFFILIATE DISCLAIMER: Go Mobile Media Marketing may receive compensation from some of the entities listed in this report for referrals, as their “thank you” for sending you their way. However, Go Mobile Media Marketing never recommends any service or product solely for the reason of receiving commissions (and neither should you) – Go Mobile Media Marketing knows our reputation is on the line. Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 2
  3. 3. Google Plus Local for Business “What Happened to Google Places?” If you relied on Google Places as a source of publicity for your business, you are probably still asking this question. Say hello to Google+ Local, which replaced “Places” June 1, 2012. Log into your Google account, and go to Google Plus Local. (If your Google automatically diverts you to your home page, change the URL in your browser bar to: You will immediately see a page displaying restaurants and hotels for your area. Note that the Search bar, up top, has “Restaurants, hotels and more” ghosted into the Textarea as a default: You can change this to any type of business, and your display will change to reflect searches for those types of business only: But before you do, you’ll notice, underneath the first “restaurants, hotels” result, this insert: It shows: a) An invitation to learn more about the new Zagat scoring system b) Your profile photo Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 3
  4. 4. Google Plus Local for Business c) Your Places, including: o Your reviews o Your check-ins But spend a little more time familiarizing yourself with the main page before checking out the scoring system. Here’s a sample of what happens if we change “restaurants, hotels and more” (“more” usually being local historical or notable commercial sights) to “music store”… Down the left-hand side of the results, you’ll see a vertical menu that takes you your Google Plus: • Home • Profile • Explore • Hangouts • Photos • Circles • Local • Games Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 4
  5. 5. Google Plus Local for Business “Local” will be highlighted, because that’s where you are now. The other menu “tabs” will be greyed out. The new system can be confusing, as links open up onto pages that leave you unsure if you’re still within the Google Plus section you want to be in. Checking the left hand menu will instantly tell you what section you are actually visiting. Visitors can rate, review and upload photos through their local searches. And the places they can review include your business, if yours has a physical location. But What Did Happen to Google Places? Ask Google this, and they won’t answer you. Instead, they’ll enthusiastically extol the virtues of the new Google Plus Local. The bad news is that Google Plus seems to constantly change. The good news is that people did get used to using Google Places for their local searches. It used to be, a couple of years back at the dawn of local searching, that users would get frustrated, howl, cry, swear and stomp about constant changes. Now, most people seem to adapt to them without a blink. That is, they are still annoyed, still frustrated; you’ll still hear complaints along the lines of “but I just got used to the old way”; but the fact is that today, people who use (a) mobile devices (b) personal computers do recover and start using the new features in record time. Here’s how it works: If they want a result, they make it happen. And if that means struggling through a new system, they do so. And if they’re mobile users, they’ll simply just find the app… Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 5
  6. 6. Google Plus Local for Business Using the Google+ Local app allows users to: • Choose the type of business they want to find • Read reviews and ratings for each search result • Check-in to the local business they decide to visit • See what friends and family in their circles have to say about the business • See photos of the storefront or street view, if any are available • Get directions The other bite of good news: All of the reviews your customers posted in the old “Google Places” are still available for the public to find – the reviewer’s name has simply been changed to “A Google User”. Reviewers can migrate their nowanonymous reviews and photos right into Google Plus Local. These reviews can now be made either public or private. Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 6
  7. 7. Google Plus Local for Business (To view private content, simply go to Google Maps, click on the “My Places” button tab, and view or delete any items you select.) (If you want to learn how to migrate your own old Google Places reviews – or tell your customers how to – Google provides instructions here.) So previous reviews may be in limbo for a while, but the switch from Google Places to Google Plus Local will most likely end up being barely a hiccup in location-based user searches. And that’s good news for your local business. To sum it all up: • Google decided to integrate Google Places with their new Google Plus and Google Plus Pages • Google Plus Local pages replaces Google Places pages • Google Plus added a “Local” tab in its vertical, left-hand menu bar, so that people no longer have to leave Google Plus to location-search businesses • The Zagat review and rating system was introduced, giving an overall rating/ranking to businesses based on a Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 7
  8. 8. Google Plus Local for Business 30-point score (user ratings end up combining these points to give businesses a 0, 1, 2 or 3 rank rating: 3 = Excellent 2 = Very Good 1= Good 0= Poor to Fair • Zagat’s entire review archive was integrated across categories, making it freely available to all • Google Plus Local Pages were integrated across all Google properties (maps, mobile, search) • A Google Plus Circles filter was created, so that all these results are available to people in a reviewer or user’s Google Plus Circles, greatly expanding both reach and relevance The fact that Google Plus Local Pages are now easily available through all Google properties is great news for local business owners! Are Google Maps Still Around? Yes. The Google Maps property is alive and kicking! It too has been integrated with Google Plus, and you can find its tab at the top of your Google Plus menu bar… Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 8
  9. 9. Google Plus Local for Business What Reviews and Check-ins Can Do For Your Local Business Reviews and Check-ins can be your best friend as a local business owner, when: • Local potential customers or clients are looking for a quick “best choice” • Out-of-town visitors are planning their trip to your town One glowing review can tip the balance between you and your competitor, if both of you are running neck-and-neck when it comes to services and location… and one bad review can put you out of the running. If you ran a motel in your home town, for example, and potential customers simply typed “Motels” into Google Plus Local’s search bar, what they would actually pull up is a summary of reviews. They would be able to see at a glance which motels reap good reviews… and which ones reap bad ones. One bad review means your potential customer might not even click on your link to investigate further… Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 9
  10. 10. Google Plus Local for Business Note that Zagat ratings don’t appear in this overview: In spite of Google Plus Local’s emphasis on them, what is currently most important is first impressions, such as the ones above. Customers with mobile phones can also use apps such as FourSquare to “check in” – that is, let their friends, acquaintances and family know they are at your motel. They can also check in via Google Plus Local – but only Google+ users within the Circles they choose to share with will be able to see that check in. What If There are No Reviews for your Business? – Face it, the more reviews you have, the higher your Zagat ranking (providing the reviews are all consistently good.) Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 10
  11. 11. Google Plus Local for Business If there were no reviews for the three motels above, people will see only: • The business name (E.G. “Silver Pines Motel”) • The category (E.G. “Tourist Accommodation”) • The street address (E.G. “Hwy 69, Rock Candy, MN”) • The telephone number, with area code With no reviews to bias them, people would most likely check out each Motel link (most likely one after the other – but perhaps based on some personal emotional criteria such as “the most friendly name”) to compare features only. And if you haven’t “claimed” your business, this is what they’ll see (and what you never want them to see): Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 11
  12. 12. Google Plus Local for Business 1. There will be no Zagat score, since there are no reviews 2. There will be no cover photo of your motel 3. There will be no map or directions 4. Everything will look “blank”, emotionally invalidating your business and making it look as if you’re not very professional There’s one simple “fix” – it won’t provide you with reviews, but claiming your business (i.e. clicking on “Manage this page” in the right sidebar; highlighted in green, above) will allow you to: • Upload a cover photo showing your Motel • Upload inviting photos to the “Photos” tab • Write a keyword-optimized, appealing “About” description (focusing on your potential customers and what they are looking for; not on your achievements) for the “About” tab • Result in your Motel appearing on the right-hand sidebar map, with directions Do this, and it won’t be long before you are reeling in good reviews (particularly if you deliver what you promise, as well as good service. Oh. And do make sure your business has a simple but appealing website people can explore further! (That builds trust, allowing them to feel like they know what they’re getting into; and that there are no unwelcome “surprises” to worry about.) Be sure to list the high points (features and benefits) on the home page – and emphasize your contact information… Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 12
  13. 13. Google Plus Local for Business Marketing Opportunities There are many ways you can encourage customers to leave reviews! Two of the most effective: 1. Create a blog sharing news, events sponsored by or hosted at your business, seasonal or special promotions, customer photos and anecdotes, and local events in your area that might interest them 2. Offer coupons or discounts on your website or blog. (Don’t forget mobile coupons too!) If you are aiming for repeat, loyal customers (the ones who will create buzz and spread the word about you, which is not only free publicity but also the best sort) then focus on creating a Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 13
  14. 14. Google Plus Local for Business community with your blog. People who have had a lovely time at your Motel will read descriptions from others, or nostalgic posts (with pictures of beach bonfires or northern canoeing) by yourself – and they’ll find themselves wanting to add to the conversation in the most natural and enthusiastic way. You can also do this by creating contests… But whatever methods you use to create a sense of community on your local business blog, be sure to include calls-to-action! Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 14
  15. 15. Google Plus Local for Business This includes: • Prominently featuring a link to instructions on how to leave a review on Google Plus Local (sidebar widgets are handy for this purpose) • Asking customers to “leave a review, if you’ve enjoyed your stay” – complete with link to Google Plus Local • Let them know: “Your best recommendation is leaving a review for our business with your honest opinion!” (Some business owners even bribe customers with discounts for leaving a review!) You can play around with making “leave a review” your link, rather than “enjoyed your stay” – but be aware that a direct command doesn’t always work with everyone: It feels like work or an unsolicited favor. Telling people to “leave your review” but using positive phrases such as “enjoyed your stay” or appealing to their importance with phrases such as “your honest opinion” usually gain more results. But try linking “leave a review” instead for a while – it always pays to test and track your results. Your Google Plus Local Page versus your Facebook Page Of course, you should also have a Facebook page for your business, in case people are using Facebook apps to review and check-in. The difference between having a Facebook page and claiming your Google Plus Local page for your business, however, lies in reach and future projections: Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 15
  16. 16. Google Plus Local for Business 1. Experts are predicting that as Google’s integrated properties blossom, It will become a Social Media fixture as powerful as Facebook. Facebook is already emulating Google with paid advertising and the recent mass change of all Facebook email address to addresses ending in “” 2. Google Plus Local Business Pages are beginning to appear on the first page, top position, of local, organic Google Searches. (Yes, paid ads still get preference – but how many people do you know who mentally don’t “see” paid ads, skipping right over them to the first organic result? 3. Note the results in the screenshot, above, are ordered by (a) Zagat score (when available and appropriate for your niche or industry) and – more importantly – the number of Google reviews Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 16
  17. 17. Google Plus Local for Business 4. Using Google +1 Button – If potential customers are logged into Google, they will see if other customers have “recommended” your business when they mouse over the results – and see the Google Plus One button: Likewise, if they already love your business, they can press the +1 button for themselves to recommend your business to others – so make sure you have a call to action to “Recommend” your business and sharing buttons (including those for Facebook and Twitter) on your site or blog. Don’t underestimate the power of the Google +1 button! Your Google reach will expand dramatically. Difference between Your Personal Profile and Business Pages Just as there differences between Facebook feeds and Facebook Pages, so there are differences between your Google Plus Profile and your Google Plus Local Business Page: • Profiles are for individuals (e.g. you) • Business Pages are for businesses • You’ll find the +1 button on your Business page – not on your Profile • You can recommend Business Pages with the +1 page from your profile by clicking on their +1 buttons Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 17
  18. 18. Google Plus Local for Business • Business Pages are always public • You can choose and customize privacy levels with your Profile • You can only add or mention people who have already mentioned or recommended you on your Business Page (ditto adding someone to your circle) There are a few other fairly major limitations: There are currently no analytics for Business Pages – thought it’s a fair bet Google will soon rectify this. Likewise, you can’t add your Page to a Google Hangout (or start one from it) – something you can do from your profile. But your Business Page is invaluable when it comes to… Branding Your Business with Google + Local and Google Business Pages You don’t need any sort of official approval to plant either the Google Plus Logo or the Google +1 button on your website. Go to Google Plus’ brand guidelines and select the link under the Icon you want: It will automatically save to your Downloads straight away (or you can right-click-Save). You can use either graphic on both your online and offline materials – However, you do have to make sure your use conforms strictly to Google’s Terms and Conditions. 1. You cannot imply that Google is personally endorsing your business in any way 2. Use the Google trademark as an adjective – never as a noun or verb Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 18
  19. 19. Google Plus Local for Business 3. Always spell and capitalize the Google Trademark exactly as it appears in the Google Trademarks and Accepted Generic Terms in the branding guidelines 4. You must leave a 25-pixel margin on either side of official Google graphics and other text or graphics on your page. (For more precise information on what you can and cannot do, click on the link to the branding guidelines, above.) Whatever you do, if you have a local business, at the very least, do claim your Google Plus Local Page – go to Google Plus Local, search for your business (including your City and State in the top search bars) – and once you find it, select “Manage this Page” in the lower right-hand sidebar. And motivate those customers of yours to start writing reviews! But What if I Don’t Have Time to Move my Old Google Places, Set up My Google Plus Local Page and More? Remember that you don’t have to struggle through becoming a Google Plus Local Expert yourself. Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 19
  20. 20. Google Plus Local for Business Do what you do best and focus on your business and customers. What we do best is helping you get more customers by making your business findable online. If you want to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities and be at the forefront marketing with Google Local then you can leave it to the pros. We are happy to discuss your business listing and answer any questions you have about making your local business findable online. Just give us a call or drop us an email. It’s that simple. Go Mobile Media Marketing 1-888-544-4639 Copyright © 2012 Go Mobile Media Marketing All Rights Reserved. 20