Earlier this week, Alex Bruner of 435 Digital published an article detailing the new Google Plus Local platform.
By now most web-savvy business people are aware of the move Google has made away from the old Places product, but there still seems to be some confusion as to what Google Plus Local will offer over Google Places, and why it is important to adapt to the new program.
Google Plus Local changes and new features:
Yelp, Urbanspoon, YellowPages and other third party review sites are out. Recently acquired Zagat is in. (Side-note: it sounds like “the cat”, with the emphasis on the “gat”.) The new basic rating will combine user ratings on scale of 1-3 on various and turn them into one overall score of 1-30. More on the criteria can be found here: Zagat and Ratings
Reviews from sources outside of those submitted through Google reviews no longer matter. This means businesses can focus their social media efforts around acquiring user ratings solely through Google Plus Local.
More options for conversation between businesses and customers. One of the biggest benefits to using Google Plus Local is the ability to reach out to customers through a business Google Plus page. In addition to the standard “write a review” call to action, users will have the option to follow the business, +1 their pages, and partake in “Events” and “Hangouts” through Google Plus. This is a vast improvement over the previous platform as it allows businesses and social media managers much more access to interactive customers and various methods to engage them.
We won’t go into all the reasons Google + local is a great idea for businesses of all sizes, but believe us, there are plenty. Read the rest of the article over at 435 Digital’s Blog.
You can hear Alex Bruner talk about Google Plus Local and other digital marketing topics during Social Media Week’s “435 Digital On Integrated Marketing” on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, at 3:30 pm.