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Today when people are searching for your business they are mainly going to their phones or computers to find you. Google is the biggest search engine out there, and if you aren’t on board, people may be missing you. Starting a Google My Business account or optimizing your existing one is vitally important for your business and how it appears in searches.

Setting Up a Google My Business Account

Google My Business listings

If you haven’t set up a Google My Business (GMB) account yet, you’ve got one mission for today…set up a GMB account! No seriously, it may seem like just another place to add your business to but this one is important and here’s why. When people are searching for a product or service they jump onto Google. For example, searching “office supplies” pulls up the Google accounts of places that offer these supplies. This image is what your GMB account will show up like. You will see the rating of your business, location, some images and much more as you go in further. If you have a good GMB account, this may even show up before your website listing. The initial set up is straight forward, but it’s the actions you take in each of those steps and after your account is set up that makes or breaks your account.

Images Are Everything

images are everything

When you have the option to add pictures of your business, always, always do it. You don’t want to resort to stock images because Google will find them and remove them. Take this chance to show off your business, inside and out. Take multiple pictures of the front and inside of your building. People feel comfortable when they can see different aspects of your business. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer either. Take clear, well lit images of the first place you see when you walk in, the staff and definitely your products. Don’t make people feel like they are going on a blind date when they are coming to you. If a business adds stock images as their product photos or avoids images of their building, I usually question why their products weren’t deemed “good enough” to make it to the front page. Or what the building looks like so I wont drive past, or wonder if I’m at the right address. Including these images shows you are proud of your work and prepared. Add pictures of the people working there, recognizing a face when walking into a business, even if it’s just from a picture, helps puts people at ease and builds trust.

Take advantages Of Features

using features

Just recently, Google made it available to get a short name for your business. Creating a short name makes it easier for people to send links to others to leave a review. When adding a logo to your profile be sure corners aren’t being cut off and it is a good quality image, a square usually works best. Choose a header that represents your business well and be creative when writing your business description. Please don’t copy and paste directly from your website, make your description unique.

Post regularly

Post regularly

Be active on your Google My Business account, post every week about new features or products. Bring to life aspects of your business that go unnoticed. Posts will expire so keep your account updated for the best reach. Regularly check your categories because they are often updated and new categories are added that you may want to be found under.

Reviews

reviews

Reviews aren’t as scary as they seem. We have an entire blog post about how to manage bad reviews. So when it comes to Google reviews, don’t be afraid to ask customers to leave a review after their visit. It’s a great way to hear about their experience and gain exposure! Although in the event that a bad review pops up, don’t take it personally. Be professional, address the issue, create a solution, if it hasn’t been solved already, and apologize for their experience. Keeping emotions out of it is the best way to professionally solve a problem. Since you can’t control the actions of others, it starts with you. Don’t become aggressive or invalidate their experience. Accept it and always apologize, then respond to them in a positive way. This is important. Always respond to reviews, good or bad, in a positive manner. Recognize that some bad reviews are good. Many people want to look at bad reviews just like they want to look at good reviews. They take note of how you responded and what your solution was to the problem.

Creating a Google My Business account increases the amount of people you reach. It helps give more information about who you are and what you do. It encourages people to find you in other areas, like Facebook or maps. You don’t want to skip on an opportunity for people to see your business and to gain more customers.

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online review

Managing Online Reviews

You open your email and find a note saying “____ left a 1 star review”. What do you do?

It’s commonly a joke in the online world that you’ve “made it” once you have “haters”. Meaning that as soon as you are big or important enough to have people that will take time out of their day to say something negative, you know you are on the right track. Well, to an extent. If everyone and their dog is writing a bad review, or has something awful to say about your business, then I would take a look at some things. BUT, today we are talking about how to manage those online reviews that aren’t a perfect score.

What went wrong?

First things first, look into the persons concern. Was it poor service that needs to be addressed with an employee? Did they not receive the product they asked for and it needs to be fixed? Is it an ex employee that feels they weren’t treated fairly? Once a negative review comes in, it may be an opportunity to A) help change their minds or B) improve processes/products. Figure out what went wrong and address the concern offline to the best of your abilities.

Respond

Respond to the reviewers request in a timely manner. This doesn’t have to be done within hours of the review, especially if something is being sorted out. If it is being sorted out offline, still respond to the review afterwards explaining the resolution. This will help show people reading the review that you care and can come to a solution. Be professional at all costs. Getting into a keyboard war with someone online, will not help anyone. Check out this below response that probably could have gone another way……

 

managing online review

SOME negative reviews is a good thing

Now hold on a minute, I know this one seems a little counter productive, but there is a bright side to a negative review. Like said above, it shows other people that are reading the reviews you care and are willing to make it right for the customer/employee. This shows that regardless of your company size you take the time to look at what’s not working and what you can do to fix it.

Additionally the odd negative review makes you actually look more credible in the eyes of those looking at reviews. It’s nice and all when you come across a company online with a wonderful rating review, but something seems off when you have a lot of full 5 star reviews. Imagine you were looking for a hotel online. You come across a couple options that fit well and are the same price. You take to the reviews to make your final decision. Hotel “A” has 50 reviews total with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. They have had a couple unhappy people, but otherwise people are generally happy with their stay. You come across Hotel “B” and it has 50 reviews total and every single one of them is a 5 star review. Would you suspect that “something’s up” maybe? How could a whole hotel get it right EVERY SINGLE TIME? I know I certainly would be questioning. In 2014 it was estimated that 10-15% of reviews are purchased! Which is HUGE no no when it comes to your SEO. If you get caught, google will remove ALL reviews and penalize your site showing up in searches!

So do not panic when you come across a negative review online for your business. Managing a bad review can sometimes even be a blessing! Or fun like this hilarious rebuttal below.

yelpreview