By John Kultgen
When you think about social media for your franchises, you probably default to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. But don't discount the mammoth of influence that is Google. And I don't mean Google Plus; I mean Google Maps.
Why is Google Maps so important for your business? 3 out of 5 searches on Google are location specific, according to the Google Maps Business Development Team, who I had the pleasure of recently hearing speak at Google's New York office in Chelsea.
After a franchisee has verified its location on Google Maps, make sure you recommend these steps to increase their presence on the platform.
Provide Up-to-Date Information
People rely on Google Maps to tell them if a business is open or accepting phone calls at that moment. Make sure you have the following listed on your location:
- Phone number
- Hours of operation
- Website URL
- An introduction (this is a short description of your business)
Tag a Category
Make it easier for customers to find you. Be sure to provide a Primary Category that will help users find you. You should also provide as many additional categories as you can; you're allowed up to nine. If you're struggling with what to submit, try some of the common categories Google recommends.
Sometimes words are not enough. To help customers really make a decision, upload appealing photos that represent your location's look and feel. (Incidentally, this will also help with SEO since image search yields its own results.) Plan to submit a:
- Profile photo (which is NOT the same as the logo photo)
- Cover photo
- Preferred photo
- Collection of any additional photos
Here's where the social aspect really comes in. Recently, I left a review on Yelp of a local business. Immediately, the business contacted me and asked if I would leave a review on Google Maps. Smart thinking! They already knew my review would be positive, and Google has more visibility than Yelp!
Encouraging many positive reviews will increase your likelihood of people choosing your business over a nearby competitor.