They tried it on, and it wasn’t a good fit!
It’s officially time to say goodbye to Google’s venture into social media – Google+. Believed to be the next big social network, Google+ was launched in 2011 to be in direct competition with Facebook and Twitter. What would have completed Google’s dominance of the internet, turned into a massive disappointment for Google and users alike.
Bon Voyage Google+
On April 2, 2019 Google will be shutting down Google+
for consumers. Google cites “low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations,” as their reason for ending the service.
A few important things to note for those who use G+ for social, commenting, or business: first, it is possible to download your Google+ data. To learn how to archive your data, click here
. Google is already beginning to shutter services for Google+, and will slowly delete account data in the months following the official end date. While you have until April 2nd, Google advises that you begin saving images, content, comments, etc. that you might find important.
Also, for those who utilized the platform to its fullest and gained a large following, it would be prudent to begin trying to migrate some of your followers to other social accounts. User information, such as Gmail addresses can be targeted on other sites and marketing services such as Facebook, Google Display Network and retargeting.
Google+ will still be available for businesses who are utilizing Google’s paid service, G Suite
. Billed as a more of a collaborative environment, large businesses can utilize G+ for organizing and communicating in your desired industry. For those businesses not wanting to engage with Google+ any more, there is another option that will benefit not only your image, but also your SEO.
One Door Closes, and Another Opens
While this venture may have failed, Google is still insanely important for maintaining a strong internet presence. We all know how Google is effectively in charge of where your site ranks, but quickly becoming a necessity to engage with Google’s other services in order to stand out from the competition.
Enter in Google My Business, the business listing platform that allows you to cater your image to your target audience. GMB listings feature images related to your business, (posted by you or your clients and skimmed from your website or profiles), maps, contact information, reviews, links and the ability to post and show your latest promotions or news.
If you haven’t set up your Google My Business account, it’s fairly simple. Naviagate to business.google.com
to access the GMB dashboard. From there you’ll be able to create a new location(s) and enter pertinent information concerning your business.
Utilizing GMB to Its Fullest
Already have a Google business listing, but not really engaging with it? It’s become an essential part of marketing to engage with GMB, so if you’re not taking advantage of this completely free service – you’re missing out. While Google is no longer wasting valuable resources on Google+; that certainly isn’t the case for Google My Business, with regular updates and features that make it easy to attract and engage new audiences.
Basic Level GMB – What you HAVE to do
For those not looking to dedicate as much time towards GMB, there are some basic steps to take to ensure that your listing is set-up correctly. When setting up your profile, fill out as much information as you can about your business. To the left you’ll see the basic information you’ll be prompted to give.
Once you have filled out as much as you can, you will want to verify your listing
. If you’re a local business you’ll verify your listing by mail: Google will send a verification code via postcard (usually within 5 business days) to your business' listed address. Other businesses may have the option of verifying by email, phone or through Google Search Console.
After verifying your business listing, you’ll want to keep the information up-to-date with any changes you may experience.
Advanced Level GMB – What you SHOULD be doing
To utilize Google My Business further you should be engaging with your GMB dashboard as frequently as possible.
Two of the most important things you should be doing are answering your reviews, and posting. You’ll receive review alerts via email, but you can always view the latest reviews on your dashboard. By responding to reviews you are taking a proactive approach to refining your online brand, resolving irate customers concerns, thanking good reviewers, flagging inappropriate reviews
and more. And with 86% of consumers using reviews to make decisions, engaging more just makes sense.
Another tool to utilize is the GMB postings. An image, some content, maybe a link can go a long way in garnering the attention you need to gain new business. As of the writing of this blog, you are capable of posting news, events, offers, and products.
Expert Level GMB – What you COULD be doing
Taking your business listing to the next level you’ll need to ensure your listing is set up correctly, be engaging with your audience, and take advantage of even more of the features available in GMB.
The Google My Business app
, available in Google Play, can help you manage, organize and stay up-to-date on any changes to your listing or the platform. It also allows you to receive messages from customers, directly from your listing!
Insights are another exceedingly helpful tool you could be using to understand your audience. What keywords did they use to find you? Where did customers see your listing? Did they engage with your listing at all? How did they find your listing? All these questions can be answered through Insights: disseminating that information is up to you.
Overall, the importance of the tools and features in GMB are dependent on the industry you’re in, and your target audience. For example, a landscaper would want to utilize the new feature that allows you to share your service areas and information via Google Maps
. A restaurant that wants to show off their atmosphere would want to implement a Virtual Tour. Joining the Google My Business Community
will keep you apprised of all the latest updates, and showcase marketing strategies you could be using.
With the constantly changing online world, it can seem a little daunting to try and dig into such a complicated structure, but with a lot research, the right mind-set, and hard work – you could find yourself with the best listing in the biz.