There are many benefits to updating your social media profile: branding, relationship building and driving traffic, to name but a few. Many business owners and managers spend a lot of time updating their Facebook and Twitter profiles and often overlook Google +. This is an important outlet to focus on, as it can increase your visibility drastically and has a much broader influence than any of the other mediums. It can be difficult to gauge how much social media signals influence ranking, but there are clear benefits to optimizing your Google + profile, especially for the hospitality industry. Here are some quick pointers on how to optimize your profile.
1. Verify your profile. Make your page official by getting a verification postcard sent to your physical business. Once your page is verified, you can integrate it with Google for business services. It allows you to manage important information that shows on the knowledge graph like your contact information, address, profile pictures and it allows you to respond to customer reviews. The knowledge graph is the information panel that shows on the right hand side of the search results once a user types in your business name.
2. Speaking of customer reviews… don’t forget to respond. This is especially important in the hospitality industry where reviews can heavily influence users’ decision to book. It is not only polite to respond, but it builds confidence for potential customers and demonstrates good customer service. Writing responses also indicates to Google that the page is actively managed. You should be encouraging past guests to leave reviews, as reviews are shown in Google search results as well as Google Maps. See the search results for “hotels in Hawaii” below in both search and map results: the star rating is prominent in the listing.
3. NAP! NAP stands for name, address and phone number. It is really important to have the exact same name, address, and phone number listed on your Google profile, on your website and across the web. Google sees this as a legitimate business, and therefore, it improves your ranking on local search.
4. Content, content, content. Posting content regularly is key in optimising your account. There are a few small guidelines you should follow:
• The meta title of the linked page or blog will pull into the google + post so make sure it’s a relevant description . This will show up as title in the search results and, like any good meta title, it can improve the click through rate.
• It’s good to entice the reader by writing a brief summary of the page you are linking to. It’s worthwhile investing some time and effort into this, as a well written post can get some + 1’s which means more reach. A +1 is the equivalent to a share on Facebook.
• Utilize hashtags and keywords wherever possible, but do it in a natural and relevant way.
5. Embrace all media. This is the perfect place to showcase your hotels best features and personality by posting images and video. Quality images and videos can increase shares and engage potential customers. Your uploaded images also pull into the knowledge graph.
6. Create circles. Once you have optimized the profile you can begin to explore circles. Creating circles is the equivalent to adding a friend or following someone. Circles allow you to create segmented groups. You can choose to share specific content to certain circles and also see what circles are posting, meaning you target relevant audiences with the most suitable content. Let’s say you are a hotel based in Dublin City. You can create a circle for local attractions. This circle can inform you of upcoming events in the area. It is also a great way to interact with them.
Google+ is worth investing in, as it is invaluable to the hospitality business to increase visibility, help in organic search and manage customer relationships. Don’t forget it in your next round of social media updates!