Google My Business is a mysterious—albeit very important—marketing tool for small businesses. It isn't quite a social network, but isn't a traditional Google Ad either.
Instead, it fits somewhere between the two—giving you the ability to update your Google Maps and Search listings in real-time, so things like hours of operation, phone numbers, and other info are always up to date.
Additionally, Google My Business has features akin to a standard social network. It gives you a powerful way to manage and reply to your business' Google reviews, and you can even post status updates right to your Google listing.
This will drive more brick-and-mortar traffic to your business and ultimately leave you with happier customers (and better reviews). After all, the last thing you want is people being unsure of your hours or see that you have multiple negative reviews that have gone unanswered.
In this article, we'll show you how to create a Google My Business account for your business. Then, we'll dive deep and show you how to update your Google My Business listing and post new status updates.
Let's dive in!
Create a new Google My Business account
First thing's first: we need to create a Google My Business profile for your business. Note that before starting this process, you will need a Google account, so create one of these before we start.
Once you're all set up and signed in, create a Google My Business account by doing the following:
- Head over to the Google My Business site and click Manage now at the upper, right-hand corner of the screen.
- Now, enter your business name at the center of the screen. Note that your business may pre-populate from public records data, so select it from the drop-down menu if it appears. Then, click Next.
- Enter your business' address here and click the Next button. Then, choose if your company performs services or sells products outside of this location—all online businesses should select this option!
- Now, choose a category for your business. Be as accurate as possible with this selection so you rank for the right listings in Google Search and Maps. Then, press Next.
- In this screen, add your phone number and website in the text box at the center of the screen. Then, click Next and you'll be prompted to choose a verification option to verify your business—this can be done via phone or postcard.
Note that you must verify your business in order to use Google My Business to its fullest. Unverified businesses aren't able to post status updates, update business information, or view analytics.
Once you've verified your info, your business is ready to go on Google My Business! You can now use all of the service's powerful features and update your Google listing with ease—don't worry, we'll walk you through them below!
Now, let's polish up your Google listing!
Now that you're set up, the first thing you'll want to do in Google My Business is update your (or your client's) business info. This includes things like hours of operations, menus, a list of services, and other vital business info.
To do this, look at the left-hand side of the Google My Business screen and click the Info button. Here, you can see a preview of your Google My Business listing and can make changes at will.
Making an edit is simple: just click the pen icon to the right of the label. We highly recommend updating as much info as possible in this screen to give a well-rounded look at your business and give customers the info they need before they call you.
Adding images to your Google My Business listing
Once you've completed the info page, add a few photos to your Google My Business listing. This includes a logo, cover photo, and any auxiliary images and videos you'd like to add to your business' page.
To do this, click on the Photos tab at the left-hand corner of the Google My Business screen. On the images page, you'll see prompts to add a cover photo and logo to your page. Do this first so that your Google My Business listing is visually complete right off the bat.
Then, navigate through the rest of the on-screen options and add additional photos to your listing. For example, you can add interior shots, videos, and even 360 photos of your business to your Google My Business listing.
We recommend adding as many photos and videos as you can to your Google My Business listing. This will give potential customers a better look at what your business does, in turn making them more likely to visit your business.
How to use Google My Business for marketing and review management
Google has seriously beefed up Google My Business' marketing features over the past couple of years. Most notably, businesses can post status updates to listings and reply to customer reviews right from the Google My Business dashboard.
These features let you better market your business and provide awesome customer experience before your leads walk through the door—here's a look at how to use them!
Posting status updates to Google My Business
Status updates on Google My Business are vastly different than posting status updates on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.
After all, people can't follow your business status updates. They're only delivered in your Google Search and Google Maps listings, so they'll only be seen when people are actively searching for your business.
This means that only new leads will see your status updates—think about it: your restaurant's biggest fans probably aren't Googling its name to find an address.
So with that in mind, focus on posting promotions, sales announcements, and the occasional link to a blog post on your Google My Business account. These types of content will entice new leads and ultimately bring new people through the door.
These types of content attract new customers and show your new leads what your business is all about—and hey, what's better than that?
To post a new status update to Google My Business, just click into the Posts tab on the left-hand side of the screen. Then, click the Create your first post button at the center of the screen.
Now, you can make your first Google My Business post! At the top of the post maker, choose the type of post you're making—this can be a "What's new" general status update, event, offer, or even a product link.
In each of these types of post, you can add a photo or video and a call-to-action button. However, the type of text content you can add depends on the type of post you chose—for example, the event post will ask for a date and time and the product post will ask for a price.
We highly recommend using a call-to-action in all of your Google My Business posts. This will let you add a link to your Google My Business post, driving traffic back to your website or a landing page of your choice.
Responding to customer reviews is important
Like stated earlier, you can reply to customer reviews in Google My Business inside of the Reviews tab. We highly recommend that you respond to every review your business gets, no matter if it's a good or bad one.
Why do this? Simple: you can rectify bad experiences, and show that you're thankful for good reviews.
This proves to your leads that you care about good customer experience, giving a good first impression of your company. Further, it encourages more people to review your business as they'll see that you're actively engaged with your reviewers.
To respond to reviews, just click into the Reviews tab on the left-hand sidebar—here, you'll be presented with a list of all of your reviews, ordered by date.
Underneath each review is a Reply button. Click on this and you can reply to reviews under your business' name.
Make sure to keep your replies friendly, helpful, and show a general sense of gratitude. How you reply to feedback shows a lot about your company and—as stated earlier—may encourage others to leave positive reviews and feedback in the future.
You need Google My Business tools to speed up your workflow
These features are great and all, but let's be real for a second: it's hard to remember to check your Google My Business dashboard.
This is especially true if you're an agency managing reviews and social media for multiple businesses. Currently, Google doesn't have any type of unified Google My Business dashboards for agencies, so you'll have to check reviews and post status updates by manually logging into each Google My Business account.
Thankfully though, there are a couple of tools that can make managing Google My Business easier for you and your team—these tools are Social Report and Grade.us.
Here's how each tool can speed up your Google My Business workflow and enrich your marketing strategy.
Use Social Report to schedule posts to Google My Business
Social Report is an all-in-one social media and marketing powerhouse.
Thousands of agencies and marketing teams can use the app to schedule content to all of their client's social networks, and pull reports from dozens of marketing apps and social networks—including Google My Business.
With Social Report, you can schedule new posts to Google My Business, monitor for new reviews, and pull detailed reports from your Google My Business page. These reports include things like how people found your Google My Business posting, website clicks, and more.
And since Social Report integrates with so many social networks, you can schedule your Google My Business posts alongside your other social posts. This will help you publish more frequently while the social inbox helps you keep an eye on your new reviews.
Social Report is a must-have for any marketer. Try us free for 30 days, and if you love us (we're sure you will 😉), plans start at just $49 per month!
Grade.us is the world's most powerful review management app for agencies
Want to take Google My Business to a whole new level? Our friends at Grade.us have you covered.
Grade.us is the king of review management. You can use the platform to view super in-depth Google My Business analytics, quickly follow up with unhappy customers, and even ask existing customers for reviews.
The tool even has a way for you to share good Google reviews with your social and website audience, right from the Grade.us web app. And since recommendations are one of the best ways to get new customers through the door, we highly recommend taking advantage of these features.
Another one of our favorite Grade.us feature is its built-in multi-channel review request campaign manager. Using this feature you can create email, text, and MMS review request drip campaigns in-app, and even order printed cards to hand out your at your brick-and-mortar locations.
Sounds awesome, right? Give Grade.us a shot today—head over to their site for a free trial!
And that's all there is to it! In this article, you learned how to create a Google My Business account for your (or a client's) business and how to use the service for marketing and review management.
When combined with awesome apps like Social Report and Grade.us, Google My Business can unlock the full potential of your Google listing. So don't wait—set up your Google My Business account today!
Need a great Google My Business management tool? Try Social Report free for 30 days.