Have you done a Google search of your business lately? We highly recommend you do.
In fact, the way to access what information shows up for your business is called Google My Business. This is a free tool to manage your online presence across Google products, including search and maps.
We recently attended an event hosted by Louisiana Travel and our partners at the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, where they offered tips and best practices to make sure our local businesses are putting their best online face forward to increase your traffic and visibility.
What happens when you Google your business? If there is a listing on Google already, you can click “Own this business” to claim it. And, you will want to claim it so you can make sure your business is properly represented on the internet.
You’ll need a Google account to become the “owner” of the business but those accounts are free and easy to obtain if you don’t already have one.
If your business is not listed, go to business.google.com and click “start now.”
Here’s three things to note about your business profile:
1. Your business profile on Google is an enormous source of exposure for your business.
2. Make sure your profile is optimized, meaning you don’t have any missing information like location, hours, phone number, etc.
3. Customers are creating much of the content for your business through the photos and reviews they post.
Once you have secured your business listing and made sure all of the information is correct, it’s time to make sure your business listing stands out. One of the most important things you can do to have a good presence on Google is use eye-catching, relevant photos to entice customers to visit your business or use your services. Just know – horizontal images are preferred. And, include an exterior and interior photo if possible. This will help potential customers identify your storefront.
What about reviews? These can make or break whether a customer decides to patronize your business. In Google My Business, you can respond to reviews directly, which is a great practice to show you are a proactive business owner. Studies show customers trust a business more if it has positive reviews so encourage your customers to leave their feedback as a way to grow your clientele. Make sure when you do respond to a review to stay away from getting personal – be helpful and courteous and thank the reviewer for taking the time to review your business.
While we are sharing these tips from this helpful Google My Business event, these aren’t just tips for your Google presence alone – they include all of your social media channels, your signage, advertisements, etc. as well. Make sure all information about your business is correct and up-to-date through any communications you have with your clients. Any time is a great time to check all of these accounts, refresh your photos and make sure you are maximizing your web presence.
Lisa Johnson is President and CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce