Over the last few weeks, I have written about the importance of registering your business on Google Places and ensuring that your profile has been completed fully. I advised this because, if done correctly and optimised properly, this enables Google to send you some free traffic.
Did you know that the vast majority of searches on Google were performed by people looking for local businesses? In fact, Google says:
“Every month, [we] connect people to businesses nearby more than 9 billion times, including over 1 billion phone calls and 3 billion direction requests to stores.”
That’s why, whenever there is a relevant update to this feature, we like to point it out so that you can take advantage of it.
The latest update is on the “Google My Business” app which is designed to make it easier for people to connect and communicate with SMB’s.
A lot of promotional videos can come across a little cheesy, but this one by Google actually explains the app in detail but in a simple way. The app is really great if you are constantly on the move and near a desktop computer.
It gives you the ability to add or make changes to your Google business listing whilst replying to comments and reviews in real time – you also have the ability to add new promotions and offers on the fly.
What I find really useful is the new Google Posts tool – as explained by Google:
“With a press of the new Post button in the app, you can upload a photo, create an offer or event and add it right to your Business Profile on Google. You can also manage your business information on Google from the Profile tab and watch your edits appear seamlessly across Search and Maps.”
I must admit, the new “Posts” tool that Google launched last year is a great addition to the suite of tools already available which allows you to constantly post updates that appear alongside your Google listing page.
I can’t help but think that this has been brought out to directly compete with Facebook, where you have the ability to add posts to your Facebook business page.
For the record, I absolutely love this feature and encourage any business, irrespective of size, to use this feature, whenever you have any updates about your business, products or services.
This latest new feature allows you to post directly from the app, which is great if you are away from the office and need to quickly post something in real time.
In the last few weeks, Google has been really busy rolling out new features to their mobile map app, making it more than just a navigation tool.
You now have the ability to group-plan certain trips with friends and family + they have added new commuter tools that work really well, once you have set up your home and work addresses on the app.
From there, Google will now show you how long the trip is going to take whether it is morning or evening and also provide you with alternative routes, which works in the same way as the “Waze ETA screen.” This is a great feature because it means that every time you open the app, it has already calculated your work route for you and possible alternatives if there is traffic.
If your car has the ability to accept maps from your phone via Bluetooth, I can see this working even better than your satnav (since you need to tap your destination in every time).
All you need to do is open your app and share it with your car’s screen, which should only take a few seconds.
There are also new music controls (you have the ability to open Spotify if you are commuting using public transport) and personalised recommendations.
New ‘Follow’ feature for tracking businesses
The “follow” feature was made famous by Facebook and now Google has included this feature in its maps app.
If you do a search for a business in the maps app, you are now able to click a “follow” button which will then enable you to get news updates, upcoming events and offers.
Therefore, if you run an SMB, it’s never been more important to add images, videos and post updates to your Google business listing.
If your clients have the added ability to follow you and receive regular updates in their “For You” tab on Google Maps, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to follow you for updates.