If your business is using Google My Business, congratulations on taking a big leap into the digital marketing world. Now let's talk about how your business can get the most bang for its buck. Google My Business has many tools and options to use, so it can get a bit distracting. If used correctly, Google My Business will become a major asset to your web presence. The tools can also boost ranking status when it comes to the Snack Pack or top 3 listings seen when a search is performed. However if you ignore some of the more crucial tools, it can be damaging to your brand. One of those crucial tools is the Google My Business question and answer tool.
Let's talk questions
People who need your product or service are full of questions; they want to know how your company can solve their problem. You likely have many answers to questions on your website; this is always a solid start. But some consumers may not take the time to search for answers on your site and will simply ask using Google My Business's questions and answers.
Google My Business Q&A is a great feature where questions and answers are crowd sourced. This is great, because people are communicating about your business, but what if someone's answers are less than helpful? What if the answers being provided aren't correct? Here's where you step in, because who knows your business better than you? If a question is being asked by a potential consumer, it's best for them to get accurate and prompt information, preferably from you.
User-generated attributes are questions and answers asked and answered by the public that help fill in a business' profile. There is a linked question on the business profile that says "know this place?" in the knowledge panel. This is where your customers and anyone else who feels up to the task can go to fill in answers to user-generated questions about your business. Upon clicking the link, there will be a bunch of questions asked about the business that you can answer. There are many questions to choose from, and you can answer as many as you like. This helps create an overview of the business for your consumers. Google loves this kind of input because it provides unbiased information about the business to help consumers make up their mind about your company.
Google My Business Q&A's are like attributes. User's ask questions and offer input and wait for the business to respond. The downside? More often than not, questions remain unanswered. It's important to your brand to keep up with these questions. It's more common than ever now for a consumer to research a product online before making a purchase. Unanswered questions will leave them wondering and questions that have been answered poorly could drive them to choose another business.
You will only receive notifications about questions being asked if you have the Google Maps app. You must also be signed in with the same Google account you use to manage your Google My Business listing. It's likely, though, that those notifications will go unread or unnoticed. It's up to you or your marketing team to search for your business name and see if there are questions. You can use your desktop browser or the Google maps on your phone as well as a mobile browser to see if there are questions. Keeping up with the questions being asked can help minimize the chance of some well-intentioned person offering up information that isn't quite helpful.
Keep the messaging positive
For the most part, people understand that the Q&A feature is for answering questions about your business. However, like any outlet, there is a chance that a disgruntled or confused web warrior will try to sully your name. There is also a chance that a customer could leave positive remarks as well. Staying up-to-date with this flow of information will help you to manage these comments to keep the message positive about your business. Google has recently started to send notifications that let a GMB manager know if a new question has been asked, but it's still best to manually check for new questions.
There always seems to be at least one person who has a poor opinion of something and takes to the keyboard to shout their message. Thankfully, Google has guidelines about Q&A. If you feel that someone is abusing their keyboard powers, you can flag the offender. Using the guidelines, you can tell Google why you think their question should be ruled out. When you flag the question, you will be asked if the question falls under the following categories.
- Off topic
- No longer applies
- Advertising or spam
- Hate, violent or inappropriate
- Incorrect information
- Something else
If you've flagged an inappropriate question or answer, and it still hasn't been removed, you can also contact the GMB support team. The GMB support phone number is 1-844-491-9665 or you could reach out to them through Facebook and Twitter.
A great feature of the Q&A tool is that you can create your own frequently asked questions and answer them yourself. This makes it possible for you to steer the conversation in the right direction. You can help your consumers understand your business in a way that is helpful and accurate. It can also help to avoid any misunderstandings that might arise from consumers or others answering questions about your business. It also has the effect of making your listing look more complete and useful to the user. Your company will stand out compared to those who don't already have questions answered for their customers. The more information you provide, the better you look to someone who is interested in learning about your products and services.
What questions are helpful to answer?
Get a good idea of which questions to post in your FAQ section by talking with your customer service team. The sales team will also have a good idea of which direction you should take. These are the people who will have the best idea about the questions and concerns your customers have and may also have other insights for you. Consider the questions being asked on the Google My Business Q&A as a jumping off point. Any market research that has been done for your business should also be considered. Put a list of potential questions together as a team and it will be much easier to decide what the official FAQ's will be.
The questions in Google My Business's Q&A can show up in search results. Answering questions using key words about your business is a smart idea. Google and web searches are all about key words, and as a part of the ranking algorithm, Google prioritizes by key word. When people read your questions, they can give them a thumbs up or thumbs down and this will rank the questions. The ranking will impact the order in which the questions appear. Questions with the most thumbs up will likely show up on the listing itself and can get the attention of users without them having to specifically click on the Q&A category.
Do they know if you respond?
Currently, users don't receive notification when a question is answered. It's left up to them to check back for an answer. This is not the most ideal set up, because that leaves it in the hands of the consumer to come back and check. If their desire for an answer wasn't all that strong to begin with, then they aren't as likely to come back. Hopefully over time, this oversight will be corrected and updates will include those notifications. But in the mean time, it's best to keep up with questions and respond promptly when you see them.
Google My Business helps consumers take advantage of Google's ranking system and helps business owners get their business noticed. Remember that a lot of the tools and features in Google My Business are still quite new and will be getting a lot of tweaks and updates over the next few years, so stay up-to-date with their tools and take advantage of it all.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of the Google My Business and underwhelmed by your ability to adequately use it to your advantage, you’re in luck. We can guide you through Google My Business and more. The initial consultation is free, so schedule a free consult now.