Building Consumer Engagement Through Google My Business

Last week, we put on a webinar giving you insight into how brands can build consumer engagement through Google My Business (GMB). We had so much interest during the webinar we thought we would go further in-depth as to what businesses can do to protect their brand consistency all while building engagement through Google My Business.

To Watch The Webinar CLICK HERE.

What’s New To Google My Business

Over the past few years, Google My Business has added multiple features to business listings. Many of these features are designed to help build engagement with customers.

GMB Customer Engagement Features:

  • Short Names
  • Follow a Business
  • Reviews
  • Google Posts
  • Q&A
  • Photo & Videos

Although these features help create seamless interactions between consumers and the business, they do have their pros and cons.

The Pros and Cons of GMB Features

Pros:

  • Increases consumer engagement with the business.
  • Allows businesses to reach customers through multiple touchpoints.
  • With over 5.6 billion searches a day, Google has the largest reach.

Cons:

  • User-generated content is a threat to brand consistency.
  • Features are constantly being added and removed.
  • Requires more work from brand’s to keep up with the features.

How User-Generated Content is Threatening Brand Consistency

Google officially launched its Local Guides program in 2015. This gamified user-generated contribution program was designed to get people more involved in Google Maps and help fill in some missing map information. Unfortunately, this program has come at a price for brands. User-generated content added to business listings is a threat to brand consistency.

How to Protect Brand Consistency and Build Customer Engagement

Respond to Reviews

Responding to reviews helps to stop rumors from spreading. The last thing you want is one bad experience ruining your entire reputation. By responding to reviews not only does it show you listen to your customers, but it also gives you a chance to right the wrong.

Google My Business Reviews Best Practices:

  1. Respond as soon as possible.
    1. Most people expect a response within 24 hours.
  2. Thank the customer for leaving feedback.
  3. Take negative reviews offline.
    1. Offer a support email or phone number for people to reach out to.

Participate in Q&A

Participate in Q&A to prevent people from spreading misinformation. In the example, the Local Guide who is answering is sending someone to a competitor because they don’t know the answer. Get in front of this by answering questions on your listings from the business directly.

Google Q&A Best Practices:

  1. Monitor and answer questions daily.
    1. Google will send the owner email alerts of new questions asked.
  2. Flag inappropriate or wrong questions/answers.
    1. If they violate Google’s guidelines they’ll be removed.
  3. Ask and answer your own questions.
    1. You can ask questions as the owner or in your personal account – up to you.
    2. Always answer the questions logged in as the owner.

Create Google Posts and Events

Google Posts are a great way to share content and events with people who are searching for your business. Introducing Google Posts into your GMB strategy is one of the easiest ways to attract new customers to your business.

Best Practices for Google Posts:

  1. Posts only last 7-days so be sure to post continuously.
  2. Events last until the event is over, take advantage by posting early.
  3. Post content that inspires consumers to take action. We’ve seen posts with offers drive the most engagement.
    1. Use one of the 6 available CTA buttons:
  • Book an Appointment
  • Order Online
  • Buy
  • Learn More
  • Sign Up
  • Get Offer

Unfortunately, you are not yet able to bulk schedule posts for multiple locations over 10 through the Google API. However, expecting this to change soon and are always monitoring updates to Google’s API.

Keep Your Content Fresh

Along with Google Posts, you’ll want to make sure all your content on your listing is constantly being updated. Keeping your content fresh comes with more benefits than just driving engagement. Keeping your listing updated can earn you higher rankings by contributing to the 25% of how Google ranks a business is from GMB signals. When you post fresh content your followers will get updates bringing the listing to them even if they weren’t looking for it. Lastly, new content helps to push down the user-generated content. This is especially important for those unwanted photos and videos.

Best Practices for Keeping Your Content Fresh:

  1. Post on a consistent basis.
    1. Not only will this keep the people who follow your profile updated but it can help improve rankings as well.
  2. Don’t have time to create new content – recycle it.
    1. Repost photos that have fallen to the back of the album or repurpose social media content
  3. Don’t forget to audit your listings and flag inappropriate or inaccurate photos or videos regularly.
    1. Don’t forget to check and see what users have added as you upload your own content.

Create and Share Your Google Short Name

Creating a short name makes it easy for people to find your Google business listing every time. Share it on your website, social media, and in-store. Using a short name is especially helpful for multi-location businesses or businesses with competitors who have similar names. Although we don’t suspect short names to have any SEO impact, it can’t hurt to claim and distribute yours.

Best Practices for Google Short Names:

  1. Create a short name with your brand name followed by location. For Example: g.page/ChatmeterSanDiego
  2. Keep your short name consistent with other social media names. For Example: Your Facebook Business Page Link
  3. Claim your short name ASAP… even if you don’t plan to use it. You don’t want anyone to claim it before you can.

How to Build Engagement for Multi-Location Brands on Google My Business

Chatmeter’s Local Listing Management service helps brands to stay on top of all the latest GMB features no matter how many locations they have. We help monitor, remove, and suppress those unwanted user-edits so you can have peace of mind when it comes to your GMB listings. To see the status of your Google listings try our free instant brand audit today.