This is something which was discussed recently in the Q&A for my Google+ presentation at SMX London - which was where are Google going next with developing Google+ for brands?
There were a couple of questions around this – which in answering, of course I can only speculate on where I think Google are going with this. But the news of Google+ Local being launched has confirmed in some ways where I thought things were heading.
The questions were:
1) Will it be possible for you to -1/dislike brands, as well as +1 votes?
I hadn’t really considered this concept before – but thought it was an interesting idea. Obviously the current way of doing this is if you don’t like something – you just don’t like it (or +1 of course). But that’s not the same as a negative vote.
The main way I could see Google making something like this work would be to make Google+ brand pages more of a one-stop shop – so integrating reviews, in an almost TripAdvisor style into pages. Google definitely aren’t there yet – and it’s unclear if that’s where they want to be, but they’ve rolled out Google+ Local this week – which suggests they’re taking a step closer and are looking to encourage more customer interaction in this way.
It isn’t just for restaurants either – you can search any type of businesses – here’s what the listings look like:
2) How do small businesses market themselves on Google+?
For small businesses, online and search marketing advice is generally based around local – at least initially. Of course it’s easier to rank for local terms within your industry than it is to rank for generic terms nationally. And I think this advice applies to social media too – target your local audience, find where your customers are and then look to build a community-feel around your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages.
So in this instance, my advice was to keep an eye on what Google+ are doing with local – because that’s been such a huge push from Google during the last 12-months. And if they do roll something out, similar to the TripAdvisor style review pages mentioned above – then there’s a big opportunity to capitalise on it!
And looking at the recent Google+ local changes, that’s exactly what they’ve done! See this screenshot for my hometown, Abingdon:
So if you’re a small business targeting a local audience – now’s definitely the time to get these pages optimised and promoted!