Google is adding several new features to its Google My Business listings that will help businesses gain more exposure and generate engagement with customers.
It’s only a few months since Google shut down Google+, its ill-fated social platform, but the tech giant is far from done with the “social” game. Five years after first launching its Google My Business, it is now bringing new tools that will allow businesses to better interact with current or potential customers and maximise their exposure on Google Search.
As Google explains in a blog post last week: “We’ve evolved Google My Business to better meet these needs–from redesigned, easier-to-use mobile apps to making restaurant reservations directly from Google. Today, we’re rolling out more features to help businesses make their Profiles as unique as they are and as descriptive as the queries that get customers there.”
The first new feature – Welcome Offers – allow businesses to reward customers who follow their business on Google, turning happy first-time customers into loyal, repeat ones. People can receive a Welcome Offer by following their favourite businesses on Google Maps.
Short Names & URLs
Now, users can find businesses quicker with short names and URLs. Business owners can claim their short name and URL for their business and easily refer customers back to their Profile to get updates, make bookings or to write reviews. Within the next few months, people will also be able to search short names in Maps.
A feature typically reserved for social networks, cover photos can really help businesses show their personality. From now on, businesses can easily set a preferred cover photo for their Google My Business profile.
Users can now more easily identify companies via more prominent logos – an additional branding opportunity. Users who have added their core information (i.e. phone number, hours, etc) will be able to have their logo displayed at the top right-hand side of their profile.
Now, photos uploaded by a business appear instantly and prominently within a new dynamic module on its Google My Business Profile. Soon, businesses will also be able to use photo captions, to “tell the stories behind the pictures.”
Google is launching a website to help businesses easily download and order custom marketing assets (i.e. stickers) promote bookings on their Google My Business profiles, adding reviews and customer following.
Finally, wanting “to recognize those businesses that consistently deliver a great experience for people” Google will be “highlighting the top five percent of businesses in a particular category with the “Local Favorite” designation.” This way, people can find and engage with them more easily.