Such a fun question and you ask any marketer, they will probably roll their eyes and chuckle. First on Google Maps, it is typically established for you when you create a business listing but you will want to be sure all of the information is correct so it is best to manage your own page, don’t you think? When you do a search on Google, due to a change by Google, you will now see these Google Maps listings. Now, I want to further confuse you, you can thank Google, that when you manage your Google listing, what was previous called Google Local is now Google Places. See the confusion already?
When you ‘Manage this Page’ for your own business Google Places page, it displays on Google Maps, with all of your information to include the ability for customers to leave reviews. This is also where you can verify the information, add your website, and add additional information with keywords and pictures. This provides more detail and can benefit your business in search and for the consumer.
Now, on Google + for your business, this was Google’s way to be social. You can have a Google Hangout (more recently a bigger hit), add friends into circles and label/categorize them and socialize with the world and your followers. You can add friends just as you would in Facebook, do searches for businesses and the like.
Now that you have the skinny, why would you want it if you are happy with Facebook and the general information on the Google Maps? Well, the first thing is because… it is Google. Don’t you want to keep Google happy? If I wanted to be more relevant and have more authority in the eyes of Google, I would want to be on Google Plus (aka, Google + or G+).
With that being said – here are some steps on how to set yourself up:
- First and foremost, you WILL want these to be connected, so set them up at the same time so you keep them together and don’t get confused. Plus if you have the under two different logins it will be a pain to deal with merging them down the line.
- Just like with Facebook, you need to have your own account. If you don’t have one already you can create a Gmail account and go from there.
- You would follow the prompts to create your Gmail account. After this Google will guide you through setting up your personal G+ account. You can just click through these without entering information or actually set up your own account, but this is not the same as a business G+ OR
- If you already have a Gmail account then you are good to go and would now click on your picture or the blue picture and click on View Profile.
- In the upper left corner there is Google+ and below that is a drop down. You would first want to set up your Google Places page, so use the drop down and go to Pages. It gives you several types of pages to create, in this case, click on the Local Business or Place otpion, and follow the prompts. You will be asked to verify your listing, in which you will be mailed (snail mail) a postcard with a verification code on it, within 2 weeks. Upon receipt, log back in to verify the listing. This is your Google Places page.
- Once this is done, follow the same step – go to Profile drop down, select pages and then pick the closest to the type of business you own/manage and follow those prompts. This is your Business Google + page. Again, you can post here, just like on Facebook.
- These steps will ensure that you are set up under the same profile = easier for you or whomever handles your social media.
The confusing part is that both your Google Places and Business Google Plus look similar. Google decided they would make things easier by doing this, however, realizing that it made folks think they already had done the work but didn’t and sometimes took to creating another or just getting frustrated. Yes, a headache commenced.
I will say though, that Google Help has a lot of valuable information when you are confused or in a pinch, or well, there is this really cool social media business owner who rocks in social media, paid advertising and search engine optimization and not only would she be happy to set these up for you, but post for you too! Contact her, err, I mean me, Kristen at (757) 679-8348, by completing my contact form or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer your questions.