A reported 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Have you ever Googled yourself or your business? If you’re not so pleased with the results, not to fear: here’s a suggestion for you to improve your online visibility right now:
Set up your Google Plus (Google+) Local profile page
- It’s Google so it will appear in Google results
- Easy and quick to set up, and even easier to update it anytime you need to
- Similar to Yellow Pages listings but with photos, logos, and detailed information about your business
- Your customers can post reviews or photos to your page
- It’s Free!
Although Google+ has millions of users, it still has not reached Facebook status yet. But it has features that are very useful to certain niche industries. Even if you do not foresee yourself using Google+ on a daily basis, it is still important to claim your social proof now to take advantage of the power of Google. It’s better to have a Page with just your company’s information than no page at all.
You can have a Google+ Local Profile page in nearly no time. Follow these steps to get started:
1) Create a Gmail email account
- Go to www.gmail.com and click “Create An Account”
Google products are all linked, so you must create a Gmail account to get a Google+ Local business profile page. You’ll now have access to Google products such as Calendar, Drive, YouTube, Docs, Maps, and more.
- Enter your business information
Fill in the dialogue boxes with your basic information. Be sure to choose a username you are comfortable with and a password you will remember. This information is collected to verify your account and prove you are who you say you are. It’s also an additional way to contact you regarding your account, as well as updates and upgrades to the service.
You have just joined Gmail and completed the first step!
2) Create your Google+ profile page
Choose from one of the following categories to define / classify your business:
- Local Business or Place – pick this if you can be found at a physical, brick-and-mortar location, such as a restaurant, retail store, professional offices, etc.
- Product or Brand – this is whatever your tangible goods or services are: footwear, bicycles, graphic design, etc.
- Company, Institution or Organization – this is for larger entities, with many employees or members
- Arts, Entertainment or Sports – this category is for movies, dance, music and other cultural and athletic pursuits
- Other – if your business does not fit any of the categories given, you may choose this and fill in the details
For most businesses, the Local Business or Place listing will be sufficient.
3) Customize your Google+ page’s public profile
Add a photo: this does not need to be a photograph of you; it can be your logo, a storefront picture, or anything else that represents your business or brand. Be aware of the ideal dimensions for the image, 250 x 250 pixels. Simply upload your chosen image from a computer file, or even easier, you can now drag a photo from your computer’s desktop onto the profile area.
Circles is the Google+ social network community you can build with your contacts to share information. A dialogue box will pop up and ask you to write a few words about your new business page, to introduce it to your circles. You can skip this detail for now, if you like.
4) Finalize more customization options
Click “Change Cover Photo”
Select a correctly formatted photo from the gallery, or upload your own. (This picture should ideally be different from the one used as your business profile photo.)
5) Explore. Comment. Share.
On your profile page, you’ll see four tabs underneath your new cover page photo.
The first tab, “Posts,” is where you will compose messages, like Twitter and Facebook posts. You can create calendar events, and add photos, videos, and links to websites. Make your posts public or only for a small audience by clicking the green drop down menu in the box “Public.”
Under the “Photos” tab, you can post pictures, album-style, of your business and events. (Remember, you can drag-and-drop photos from your desktop.)
It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of posting and engaging with an audience. But once you have completed the basics, your business’ online presence is potentially visible to millions of people.
Interested in how you can take your Internet visibility to the next level with Google+ Local Business Pages? Feel free to contact us or leave a message below.