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Last updated: 2.6.23

In the digital age, local businesses often struggle to stand out amidst the sea of competitors. 

The challenge of enhancing online visibility can seem daunting, with businesses grappling to reach their target audience effectively.

But what if there was a way to increase your online presence and engage with your customers directly and efficiently?

Imagine a future where your business is easily discoverable on the world’s most popular search engine, and you have a direct line of communication with your customers.

This is where Google My Business and the Map Follow Feature come into play. These powerful tools from Google can significantly boost your local business visibility and customer engagement, paving the way for a successful digital presence.

Understanding Google My Business and Map Follow Feature

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. 

By verifying and editing your business information, you can help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.

What is the Map Follow Feature?

The Map Follow Feature is a unique tool on Google Maps that allows users to follow businesses and receive updates from them. 

Users can follow a maximum of 10,000 contributors or accounts. Once a user follows a business, they will find their reviews, ratings, photos, and other public contributions to Google Maps in the “Following” tab.

The Power of Google My Business and Map Follow Feature

Benefits of Google My Business

Google My Business is a powerful tool that benefits local businesses.

Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Enhanced Visibility: Google My Business helps businesses to be found more easily on Google Search and Maps. This increased visibility can lead to more traffic, both online and in-store.
  2. Customer Interaction: Google My Business allows businesses to interact with customers directly through features like Google Reviews and Q&A. Businesses can respond to reviews and answer questions, fostering a sense of community and engagement.
  3. Insights and Analytics: Google My Business provides valuable insights about how customers search for your business, where those customers are coming from, and how they interact with your business listing. This data can inform your marketing strategy and help you better understand your customer base.
  4. Cost-Effective Marketing: As a free tool, Google My Business is a cost-effective way to market your business and reach potential customers.
  5. Showcase Products and Services: Businesses can use Google My Business to showcase their products and services, highlight new arrivals, or promote special offers. This can help attract customers and drive sales.

Benefits of Map Follow Feature

The Map Follow Feature on Google Maps also offers several benefits to businesses:

  1. Customer Engagement: The Map Follow Feature allows businesses to engage with their followers by posting updates. These updates appear in the user’s “For You” tab, keeping your business top-of-mind and encouraging repeat visits.
  2. Real-Time Updates: Businesses can share real-time updates about new products, special offers, or changes in business hours. This helps keep customers informed and engaged.
  3. Building a Following: By encouraging customers to follow your business on Google Maps, you can build a loyal following. This can help boost your business’s online reputation and visibility.
  4. Personalised Customer Experience: The Map Follow Feature allows businesses to provide a personalised experience to their customers. By sharing updates that reflect your business’s unique personality and values, you can connect with customers on a deeper level.
  5. Increased Traffic: As users follow more businesses, your business’s updates and posts could potentially be seen by a larger audience, leading to increased online and physical traffic.

How to Use Google My Business and Map Follow Feature

Setting Up Google My Business

Setting up Google My Business is a straightforward process that involves several key steps:

  1. Create a Google Account: If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to create a Google Account to access the Google My Business service.
  2. Go to Google My Business: Visit the Google My Business website and click on “Manage Now” or “Start Now”.
  3. Enter Your Business Name: If your business doesn’t appear in the drop-down menu, you must manually enter it.
  4. Enter Your Business Address: This is the physical location of your business. You can list your service areas if you don’t have a physical location.
  5. Choose Your Business Category: This helps Google decide how to categorise your business and which searches to show your listing for.
  6. Add Contact Information: Include your business phone number and website so customers can reach you.
  7. Verify Your Business: Google must verify that your business is legitimate before your listing can appear in search results. This is usually done by mail, but some businesses may be eligible for phone, email, or instant verification.

Remember, businesses can have their business listed via a Google My Business profile up to three months before their open date. 

This allows businesses to build their online presence even before they officially open.

Google must verify that your business is legitimate before your listing can appear in search results. This is usually done by mail, but some businesses may be eligible for phone, email, or instant verification.

For more details, check out this guide on verifying Google My Business without a postcard.

Encouraging Customers to Use the Map Follow Feature

To make the most of the Map Follow Feature, businesses should encourage their customers to follow them on Google Maps.

Here are some strategies to do this:

  1. In-Store Promotion: Display signage in your store encouraging customers to follow your business on Google Maps. You could even offer a small incentive, like a discount or freebie, to customers who show they’ve followed your business.
  2. Social Media Promotion: Use your social media platforms to inform your followers about the Map Follow Feature. Share a step-by-step guide on following your business on Google Maps and explain the benefits of doing so, such as staying updated with your latest news and offers.
  3. Email Marketing: Include a call-to-action in your email newsletters, encouraging subscribers to follow your business on Google Maps. You could also send a dedicated email explaining the feature and its benefits.
  4. Website Promotion: Add a section or pop-up encouraging visitors to follow your business on Google Maps. Provide a link that takes them directly to your Google Maps listing to make it as easy as possible.
  5. Customer Service: Train your customer service team to mention the Map Follow Feature when interacting with customers. They can explain how to use the feature and the benefits of following your business.

To make the most of the Map Follow Feature, businesses should encourage their customers to follow them on Google Maps.

For more tips on how to effectively use Google Maps for your business, check out these Google Maps tips.

Maximising the Benefits of Google My Business and Map Follow Feature

Best Practices for Google My Business

To maximise the benefits of Google My Business, businesses should ensure that their information is accurate and up-to-date, respond to reviews, and use Google Posts to share updates and promotions.

If you need help managing your Google My Business profile, consider using a Google My Business management service.

For businesses looking to optimise their Google My Business profile for maximum visibility and engagement, consider using a Google My Business optimisation service.

Best Practices for Map Follow Feature

For the Map Follow Feature, businesses should regularly post updates to keep their followers engaged.## Case Study: Success with Google My Business and Map Follow Feature

Let’s take a look at a local café that successfully used Google My Business and the Map Follow Feature to boost its visibility.

The café set up its Google My Business profile three months before opening and regularly updated its profile with photos and updates.

They also encouraged their customers to follow them on Google Maps, significantly increasing followers and engagement.

While using Google My Business and the Map Follow Feature, avoiding common mistakes hindering your local SEO efforts is important.

For a comprehensive understanding of these pitfalls and how to avoid them, check out this guide on common mistakes to avoid in local SEO.

Step-by-step Guide On How To How To Use The Map Follow Feature

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use the Map Follow Feature on the Google Maps app for Android:

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your Android phone or tablet.
  2. Tap on the “Updates” tab at the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap “Following” to see the list of people and businesses you follow.
  4. To follow a Maps contributor or verified account, scroll down to the card that suggests people follow and tap “Follow”.
  5. Alternatively, you can follow a Maps contributor directly by tapping “Follow” from their posts on the Explore tab.
  6. Once you follow a Maps contributor or verified account, you’ll find their reviews, ratings, photos, and other public contributions to Google Maps in the “Following” tab.
  7. To unfollow a business, tap “Saved” at the bottom of the screen, then tap “Following” to see the list of places you are following. Tap on the business you want to unfollow and then tap “Unfollow”.

That’s it! 

Once you follow a business, you will receive updates from them in the “For You” tab, where Google curates user recommendations based on shared preferences.

In Summary

Google My Business and the Map Follow Feature are invaluable tools for any local business looking to enhance its online visibility and customer engagement.

By setting up a Google My Business profile, businesses can be easily found on Google Search and Maps, interact with customers, and gain valuable insights.

The Map Follow Feature further allows businesses to keep their customers updated and engaged with regular posts and updates. Encouraging customers to use these features can lead to a loyal following and increased traffic.

With the right strategies and best practices, businesses can maximise the benefits of these tools and create a successful online presence.

So, take the leap and harness the power of Google My Business and the Map Follow Feature to boost your local business visibility today.

In addition to using Google My Business and the Map Follow Feature, businesses can also consider other SEO strategies such as link building to boost their online visibility further.

Learn more about understanding and implementing link building in SEO to elevate your local business.

FAQs

Is Google My Business free to use?

Yes, Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google.

How many accounts can a user follow using the Map Follow Feature?

A user can follow a maximum of 10,000 contributors or accounts.

Can I set up my Google My Business profile before my business officially opens?

Yes, businesses can have their business listed via a Google My Business profile up to three months prior to their open date.

How can I encourage my customers to use the Map Follow Feature?

You can promote the feature in-store, on social media, and through email marketing.

What are some best practices for using Google My Business and the Map Follow Feature?

Ensure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date, respond to reviews, use Google Posts to share updates and promotions, and regularly post updates to keep your followers engaged.

About the Author

Des Dreckett

Des Dreckett is the eCommerce and growth Marketing Director of XenMediamarketing.co.uk: a writer, blogger and a paid media specialist.

Writing content to help you grow and build your business.

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