It’s happened plenty of times: you’ve been out all day, and it’s too late to cook—so you look up nearby restaurants from your phone. After you finally get everyone to agree on a destination, you arrive to find the place is closed. With frustration (and hunger) welling up inside of you, you take off to give your business to another restaurant, vowing never to return.
But if you haven’t updated your Google Places listing, your customers could be shaking their fists at your closed doors—and telling their friends about the experience.
Google Maps’ Real-Time Information: Will it Help or Hurt You?
As so many people perform mobile searches for businesses using the Google Maps App, Google recently introduced a helpful new feature: if you ask for a navigate route to a business, Google will check your arrival time and warn you if the business will be closed.
As a consumer, you find the feature is invaluable. As a business owner, you worry that you could potentially lose several customers a week if you don’t keep them properly informed.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to start using Google’s mobile platform to your advantage today:
- Set up your listing. If you aren’t already using Google Places for Business, take a minute to create your free listing. After you enter some basic details about your business, Google will show your business in its search results (no matter whether customers are looking for you on Search, Maps, or Google+), along with a short blurb detailing your address, phone number, services, and businesses hours.
- Be thorough! Avoid the temptation to fill out only the “necessary” fields of information about your business—cutting corners can hurt you in the end. For instance, if you list your hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but you close early on Wednesdays, Google is going to wrongly notify people that you are open for business on Wednesday evenings—and rankle a lot of potential customers.
- Keep your info current. If you have already created a Google Places listing, now would be a good time to update it. Have you expanded your hours? Have new partners joined or left the practice? Will you be open or closed on major holidays? Do you have a second phone number for off-hours calls? A good listing should have both fast and accurate information about your business.
- Engage socially. Google Maps is part navigation, part social media. Customers can leave comments, upload their photos of your storefront, and review your business without leaving the Maps application—and since users can filter their search results based on reviews, you should encourage your customers to rate your services on Google.
Of course, you can also help your online profile by making a Google+ landing page for your business, making it easy for Google to point others to your Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s called a social media network for a reason: all of the platforms can be integrated to work together, bringing you as many customers as possible. For more tips on improving your social media strategy, download a free copy of our social media guide or call us today at 866-460-3724 to put our team to work!