Google My Business (GMB) can help franchises connect with potential and current customers.

It’s where you input all the information that appears when someone clicks on your location name after a search … and it’s free! GMB allows you to manage how your business appears on Google Search and Google Maps.

The first thing you need to do is claim your franchise location listing. You’ll do this by visiting  https://google.com/business. From there, you’ll be asked some basic questions like your business name, address, phone number, URL and type of business. Once you’ve set up and confirmed your account, you’ll be able to fully utilize the GMB features.

Information

It’s important to keep the details about your franchise on your information tab current. If you have holiday hours, update those so that customers will find accurate information. You should make sure potential customers find correct listings for when you open and close, and you also want to communicate extended hours for anyone searching during special event times.

Posts

On the Posts tab, you can include posts about What’s New, Events, Offers and Products for your franchise. These posts should be short, informative and written in a conversational tone. You can pull pieces of content from your blogs, website and YouTube, or include unique content like job openings and community events. Include attention-grabbing photographs to accompany your text. (The recommended image size is 750 by 750 pixels.) Your posts will expire after a week, so keep a stream of fresh posts ready in your content calendar. Lean toward the low range on character count, with posts of 80 to 100 words to be fully visible on most devices.

Reviews

Reviews allow you to respond to customers in an engaging and authentic way. You can also control messaging and protect your franchise brand when responding to negative reviews. Customers are looking for authentic dialogue, so customized replies directly responding to the reviews work very well.

Analytics

Use the insights tab to review analytics that show you how customers are finding your franchise and how they are using the information you’ve provided in your Google My Business listing. Options include insights such as what customers are searching for, where they are located and the number of phone calls received each hour.

Google My Business listings are an important part of a franchise’s overall SEO strategy. The time you spend keeping information up-to-date, responding to reviews and posting content is a worthwhile investment.

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