How Google Plus will boost your local business reputation

At the beginning of June, Google made some fundamental changes to their Google Places listings.  They removed Google Places and changed it to be part of their social media networking platform Google +.

It is now called Google + Local. And while it is a huge change that will mix up things for some time, the benefits to a local business will be boosted dramatically, if used effectively.

Google + has grown faster than Facebook ever did in its first 6 months.  While accounts are now at around 400 million, Google has decided to boost that level faster by merging everything with Google +.

And when you consider that globally, Google has around 1 billion user accounts, once they are all merged and being used by customers, Google + will be bigger than Facebook.

So, why is this change so great for your local business?

It’s all about Social Proof and Trust.

Everyone thinks and talks about Facebook being the next big way for businesses to get more business; Facebook is a closed social network.  They fought to stop Google from indexing pages.  If a bunch of people love your business and leave reviews on FB that is as far as it goes. It will only be seen by your FB friends.

Google + on the other hand is open.  Every person with a Google Plus account that writes a review will be seen by Google.  If lots of your customers write good or bad reviews, every one of them will be seen.

When local people search for a local business and they find your business and your competitors on the first page, they will either go to the website or the Google + Local page.  We know they will be more likely to visit the +Local page if there are reviews there.

The power of this is yet to be realised, not only by local business but by all types of businesses.

But, reviews on their own will not be enough.  It will also be the trust factor of those reviews.  For instance, if someone writes one review for your business and never touches their Google + account again, Google will know that and may remove the review or reduce its impact.  So the trust factor of those reviewers is going to be huge.

It will affect your business reputation.

It will affect your search engine rankings.

Google Plus will definitely pass Facebook’s number of accounts within the next 12 months and your local business must be ready to take part in it.

There is no doubt Google Plus will become the backbone of search engine rankings. And it’s already started.

Your Business Reputation is Everything

Online reviews can be great value or do damage  to your business.

The anonymity the Internet can provide means that people who don’t like you can write reviews that are damaging to you business and reputation. And there is very little you can do to stop them.

There is legal action going on at the moment that may change the in the future.  We’ll have to wait and see how it pans out.

Even if a customer wrote a legitimate review on how they were treated.  How would you know about it?

The advantage with online word of mouth is you can monitor what people are writing about you.  There are ways to keep track of the good and bad things written about you or your business.  Monitoring is one thing. Managing those reviews is another.

How do you get rid of them?

Do you respond to each one?

How do you get positive reviews?

It needs to be managed like any other business system you have to earn an income.  It must be part of your marketing strategy.

Give customers every opportunity to write a review for you.  Show them how easy it can be to add one to your Google Places or to an online local directory.

The way it works, if customers keep writing good reviews and somebody decides to really bag you, then it won’t take too long for their bad review to be pushed down from the top of the list.  And when people scroll down, they might see one bad review but see dozens of great reviews before and after.

It’s a system that can be set up on a computer or a mobile phone or tablet.  There are effective ways to use reviews to really build a great business reputation.  If you need any help building positive reviews from your customers call me today.