Protect your Digital Storefront with Google My Business
Every business owner knows the importance of aesthetics when it comes to attracting customers. Your brand should be protected from anything that could potentially negatively impact its impression on prospective customers. In today’s digital age, your physical storefront isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. Since many people are conducting business on their devices, their digital perception often outweighs how they perceive your physical presence. That’s why you must strive to manage your entire digital presence and protect it from negative or flat out wrong impressions.
If you think you’re in the clear because you haven’t done any digital marketing you are sorely WRONG. Thanks to popular channels such as Facebook, Google Ads, and Yelp to name a few, your business could have an online profile automatically generated for you based on the information available on the web. What’s more, potential customers could be looking at these pages and get a completely skewed impression of your business.
To take control of these auto or user generated pages and content you need to get a head-start on creating your digital presence. Below I tackle the most important web properties that ALL businesses should be active on.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important channels you must manage because of the popularity of Google searches and Google Maps. Your GMB listing is what appears when users search for your business in a browser and in their Maps app.
Here’s an unclaimed listing in the wild:
In this example, Google My Business auto-generated a profile that appears in Google’s search engine results page (SERP). This profile has a decent cover photo, but upon closer inspection the phone number that’s listed is actually their fax number which was likely scraped from their site. As far as negatives there’s a 1-star review which hasn’t been addressed because they probably aren’t aware it existed. Customers appreciate when businesses respond to their clients’ feedback and it looks bad on the business if these go unnoticed. They are also missing business hours and a website for users to browse. If I were a potential customer, I’d be hesitant to pursue this 1-star business. I would likely get frustrated after calling their fax machine and give up once and for all. I might even leave another negative review which would make matters even worse. To compound the damage, random users can suggest edits to Google to change the information displayed here to whatever they like. Taking control of your GMB lets you put the right info for your customers to find and prevents changes from being made by the public.
To regain control of your brand, Google makes it easy to claim your GMB for your business. After following the procedures you can change your business hours, add a description, set a profile picture of your liking, and use GMB’s other great features.
Facebook is a popular social channel that automatically creates a profile for you. You can claim this profile so that you can manage reviews, change photos, create posts, and interact with your customers. To claim an unofficial page of yours, simply click the “Is this your business?” link and follow the instructions. This auto-generated profile may also be filled with incorrect information so it is imperative that you take control if one exists, or create a business profile ASAP before one is auto-generated for you. Just be sure you search if your business already exists before creating a new profile otherwise you may end up with duplicate profiles that may confuse your customers.
Yelp is a popular review site that will also auto-create a profile for your business. The Yelp community is very vocal when it comes to reviews so this could be either a major obstacle or advantage if your customers are happy with your business. The same gist here: claim your business page, actively manage your profile, protect it from negative content, and use it to market the very best qualities of your brand.
With more and more of the world staring down at their screens instead of the world around them, it’s increasingly important to make sure that your digital presence is informative and useful. A single negative review can echo to thousands of potential customers, but with preparation and due diligence, you can shine light on the positive aspects of your business and get useful information into the hands to prospective customers. This is just another example of ‘if you don’t keep up, you’ll be left behind.’