Have you heard of Google Places yet? It’s a program Google rolled out in 2009 to better connect people with the world around them. At the time more than 50 million places around the world were listed to help people make more informed decisions about where to go (i.e. restaurants and hotels, dry cleaners, bike shops, museums, schools and parks.
Adding your company to Google Places is free, and just takes a few minutes of your time. In a world where connecting with millions of people in an instant are already happening, why not allow people to instantly find you via search or on the map?
Furthermore Google Places allows you to converse with customers (maybe they are lost?) and let them provide ratings, reviews, and up a 5 star feedback about their experience.
Are you always on the move servicing customers? You can show which geographic areas you service to better help customers. In need of professional looking photos? Businesses in select cities can request a free photo shoot of the interior of their business which will be used to supplement existing photos of businesses on Place Pages.
So you see, Google Places isn’t just a map with a red dot representing your company. In just a few minutes millions of people within just a few miles will be able to find you more easily than ever before (which is good for you).
There are a lot of social media platforms out there and realistically unless you are a huge national brand your chances of dominating them all for your niche is slim to none which is why many businesses focus on just a few at a time. Many people discredit Google+ as a flop and don’t see much value in spending time there. But with that attitude you could be missing out on a huge opportunity, here’s why.
Since Google dominates the search engines it makes sense that having a presence on Google+ can help boost your SEO efforts. If you have a Google+ account you can register your blog posts with Google Authorship and increase your exposure in search engine results. Your results will stand out with a photo of you and link to your Google+ profile.
Who doesn’t love some subtle (and free!) marketing? As a little bonus, anyone you e-mail that happens to be using a Gmail account will see a small ad to the left of the message with a direct link to follow you on Google+. You can also use a lot of Google’s integrated features like Google Hangouts to interact with users. This doesn’t reach all of your audience but it’s free, so who’s complaining?
There are more Google+ users than you might think (around 540 million active users) and they generally spend less time on Google+ than they do on Facebook, but you know what that means – less competition! With less noise and fewer hands in the air waving for attention you have a better chance at being seen and interacting with potential customers. The regular users of Google+ tend to be more business and professional related so know your audience and be visible where they hang out!