Over the past decades, social networks have become an increasingly integral part of people’s lives, and it isn’t difficult to see, especially since there are over 2.77 billion users across the globe. While Google’s attempt at its blend of social networks in the form of Orkut and later Google+ where shuttered, unknown to many people, it has an active social network but just not the way you’d imagine it.
Google’s network is different, and it is benefiting hundreds if not millions of local businesses and people who are searching for those businesses. Google took what was an already successful service and then slowly morphed it into Google My Business with additional features. But the major distinction here is that for a business, Google My Business is a lot more important than other popular major social media networks.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a firm believer in working with both, and I do so myself. But I do see lots of local companies make the mistake of under-utilizing their Google listing.
Google My Business works because millions of people volunteer to take a survey and talk about a business that they love or hate, or one that’s across the country or right across from their home. GMB (Google My Business), allows users to:
- Post pictures and videos
- Submit reviews
- Reply to people’s questions
- Send direct messages
- Access posts and take advantage of special offers
- Follow businesses and receive timely updates
Users also get something out of it. Those who frequent the service can add value to it and earn badges, in addition to receiving perks such as invites to special events. So, while it really is a social network in and of itself, its sole focus is businesses.
Any and all local businesses need to start with what is called a “GMB Page” – a term used to define a business listing, but it touches every platform that’s owned by Google.
Consider it a central location from where all other Google-related entities pull information about your business, and in particular, search engines.
GMB also boasts of features like photos, videos, appointment booking, opening hours, etc. Go here to learn how secure and optimize your GMB listing today.
Google My Business Vs. Social Media Platforms
There is one major difference between social media and search engine marketing. Social media has traditionally been used as a “top of the sales funnel” marketing strategy where users are engaged, and awareness is created about the product or service. Anyone who has worked much with marketing knows that convincing people and creating awareness about your product or service takes time and a lot of money.
On the other hand, search engine marketing along with search engine optimization (SEO), is typically considered a bottom of the sales funnel strategy. Here, users are already very close to making a purchase. Consequently, they don’t require convincing because they are searching for a product or service just like what you are offering. That’s where GMB can be such a potent conversion force. It is also why it is so important as a sort of social network for business. People who have discovered your listing have done so because they are already aware of and searching for a service like yours. You can see why getting a GMB page such a smart decision.
However, interestingly, GMB isn’t just useful when a searcher already knows about your kind of service or product and is searching for it. Estimates show that around 84% of GMB listing views come from discovery searches, which means that these Google listings often appear for non-branded searches. For instance, a search term like “the best local bar,” or “dentist near me,” or perhaps “best coffee shop,” may end up directing people to your listing, so long as your website has pertinent content. So, you see why optimizing your GMB listing is so important to ensure that the right steps are being taken to rank high for all the keywords you’re targeting. And it also means that your Google page can perform and create impact anywhere in the sales funnel.
Understanding Your Sales Funnel
For starters, your GMB listing, posting, reviews, and everything related to it is free. Unlike major social media sites, you don’t have to pay to boost views, buy engagement and ‘likes’ to get the ball rolling. What you do need to do as a local business is to encourage people to leave a review, a rating, and to post pictures.
When local businesses complete their profile, it improves their chances of being featured on the top of search results on both Google, Google Maps, and related websites. It also gives you the opportunity to define a category, which ensures that the results are more relevant to your business and consequently drives more traffic that converts.
Traffic from social media websites or platforms, on the whole, doesn’t have any influence on search engine results and, in particular, Google. They also play no role in driving conversions by only sending targeted traffic based on location and demographics to your business the way Google does. Though it is possible to drive some targeted traffic via advertising, the fact is that even that does not always work for all types of business.
More People are Interacting with GMB Listings Than Ever Before
Over the past three years, there has been an increasing number of people interacting with GMB listings.
Listing views that resulted in action from a potential customer jumped from just 3.9% in 2017 to around 4.8% later in 2018.
One reason for this is an array of new GMB features, which are meant to give searchers more reasons to interact or engage with a listing.
Also, people are becoming more familiar with GMB and its features, which is resulting in higher interaction rates.
What Does All of This Mean for Your Business?
It means that you need to have a website, some social media pages, but even more important than a social media presence is your GMB listing. A GMB listing should be the center of your attention as a local business more so than social media platforms.
While social media platforms do have their place, if you’re looking for conversions, GMB listings are the way to go. To ensure that your GMB listings are effective it is important to actively manage it. Post pictures and encourage your happy customers to post their reviews. The more active you get, the more GMB will reward your business. But it does not demand as much time and interaction from a business owner the way a social media page or presence requires to get good results.
Maximize Google My Business Posts
Use the GMB platform to elevate your business on the most visited pages in the world: Google Search and Google Maps.
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