Google+ Local, Google Pages, Google Local Business Center — the Google graveyard is littered with small business products.
Even up until a few weeks ago, navigating the many “essential” Google SMB products was time consuming at best, confusing at worst, given that there were so many different platforms to master, navigate and maintain.
That’s all gone now thanks to Google My Business – Google’s mostly successful attempt to streamline its many different SMB services into one – easy-to-use platform and dashboard.
That’s Search, Maps, Google+, AdWords and even some degree of Analytics all in one place.
As such, the features here aren’t really new, just combined so that small businesses will have a much easier time of harnessing all of its many features. If you previously used Google+ for your business, as you’re upgraded you can now expect to:
1) Capture Customers Across Platforms
Both current and potential customers turn to Google in vast numbers to find businesses just like yours – but they do it across Google products, not just inside of one.
With Google My Business, you won’t have to worry about whether your customers find you on Search, G+, or Maps. The details will be pulled from a single profile, so your location details, social presence, and any beautiful photos of your business you might want to include, are all findable.
2) Share News and Content in One Place
As you know, Google+ is Google’s social media site. Having a presence here is a great way to share news and expert content while also engaging customers in conversations.
It’s also a great place for spreading details about your local events, as well photos afterwards. Because Google My Business’ is centralized into a single dashboard, you’ll now much more easily access, post and monitor responses on G+. This will make you much more accessible and responsive to customers.
3) See Your Analytics and Insights in One Place
Google Insights give you a deep look into just into how visible your brand is on Google+, how engaged your followers are with your brand, and your follower demographics.
Combine that with AdWords Express, a feature that helps business owners see who is finding their site, how they’re getting there and what they’re clicking on and sharing, and you have powerful tools for analyzing your marketing, SEO and sales efforts.
Again, having both of these features in a single dashboard will make them much easier to navigate and act upon, and will also reduce the amount of time required to use them.
4) Connect With Your Following on Hangout in a Different Place
Just kidding, it’s still in one place. Now you can post on Google+, read a customer’s reaction, and suggest a Hangout without having to toggle across platforms. This empowers deeper connections with your audience and greater loyalty.
5) Monitor Reviews
The benefit of everything being in the same place (notice that theme here?) is that you won’t miss when someone leaves a negative review of you.
This is important, as you want to be able to control the conversation by offering a rapid, empathetic and clear response. You’ll also more easily respond to good reviews as well, and share the feedback on Google+.
A powerful Review Stats feature makes this even easier, and can help as you brainstorm any mitigation plans.
6) Get Optimized for Mobile
Google My Business already has an Android release, and there should be one for iOS soon, too. This is great news, as it will make updating and monitoring any facet of your Google presence easy to do on the go. That’s key for small business owners with a lot of plates to juggle.
Google My Business is a much needed and extremely helpful update for Google’s powerful small business offerings. If you need help getting on board, I highly recommend reading this Google My Business Guide so you can make the most of the platform from the get go. Good luck!