Carina Florist – Florist – Carina

logo-squareCarina Florist did have a generic Google+ Business Page (that had automatically been created by Google), but they had not verified or configured it.

They “claimed” the page and had updated it in My Business, but had been waiting more then 3 weeks for the postcard verification.

I helped them to get the page verified, took the panoramic tour photos and was able to publish their Virtual Tour within a week.

Their Google+ Business Page was verified on 7th August and (less than a week later) already has more than 1200 views.  Here is their virtual Tour….

Why Local Businesses Still Need a Google Plus Business Page

Despite various changes to Google+ over the last couple of years – which suggest that Google is downplaying the relevance of Google+ as a social media platform, it is still critical for local businesses to have a Google+ Business Page.

Allow me to explain.

As local and mobile search becomes increasingly prevalent, small businesses who rely on the local economy for their livelihood, must take steps to improve their online visibility visibility, or risk losing ground to those who do.

Google links Google Plus with Google Search and Google Maps via the Google My Business (GMB) portal.

google-my-business

When you claim and verify your business listing using Google My Business, Google creates a Google Plus page for you. Users can show appreciation, give feedback with posts and reviews, and use the “+1” button to endorse your products and services.

Users logged into Google, who conduct a local search (E.g., restaurants Camp Hill), will see a list of local businesses appear among the top returns.

How to get the most from you Google Plus Business Page

Although you will probably see little activity on your Google Plus page, there are ways to you can use it to your benefit.

  1. google-business-pagesClaim and verify your Google My Business listing. A vital first step, GMB is the gateway to getting your business ranked in local search.
  2. Get a Virtual Tour.  If you have a physical business that is open to the public,  a virtual tour is an awesome way for them to visit your business online.  It encourages a physical visit, increases the likelihood of your business coming up in local searches, and can also be embedded into your website.
  1. Link to Google Plus from your website. Anyone interested in leaving a comment can use the link to gain access. It may also help you pick up a few followers.
  1. Post to your G+ page. If you’re already posting to Facebook and Twitter, add Google Plus to the list. Don’t expect much attention from followers, but searchers may find one of your posts appearing in Google search results. The more you post, the greater the likelihood that will occur.
  1. Remind your customers to leave feedback. This can bolster the number of reviews you receive, which can help your business stand out from sites that have fewer reviews.

The future of Google Plus is in flux but so long as Google ties the platform to Search and Maps, it’s important to have a presence there.

Pet Angel Funerals- Cremation Service – Molendinar

Pet AngelPet Angel a Gold Coast cremation service for pets, had already claimed, verified and setup their Google+ Business Page, but wanted to raise their profile on Google by adding a  virtual tour.

Their Virtual Tour (see below) was published on 14th July – and less than 3 weeks later had received more than 2,000 extra views.

How to Add a Page Manager to a Google+ Business Page

Google+ page owners are able to invite additional people to manage a page. This enables people (other than the page owner) to update and manage content on the page. Only an owner can delete the page, or add or remove managers, however, a manager may remove themselves from a page.

google-my-businessTo add a manager to a Google+ page:

  1. Log in to your Google Account
  2. Go To Google My Business and choose the page you’d like to manage.
  3. Click the gear icon next to your business name and choose Settings.
  4. Click the Managers tab in top navigation menu.
  5. Click Add manager, enter their email address or invite by profile, and click Invite.

This page displays all currente managers as well as people who have been invited to become managers. When a manager invitation is accepted, the owner of the page will be notified via email. The owner and all managers can view the names and email addresses listed on this page.

You can find out more about Google Business Page Owners & Managers

Google Announces Planned Changes to Business View & Street Views

Yesterday, on their public Google Maps and Earth Help Forum, Google announced some significant changes to Street View – which will involve a rebranding and restructure of their existing Business Views service.

New Street View app

Street ViewA NEW Street View app will replace the existing Photo Sphere Camera app – with both iOS and Android versions supporting Googles photo sphere camera mode. The app will be capable of linking to spherical cameras, including two at launch: the NCTech iris360 and the Giroptic 360cam.

Street View | Trusted

A range of changes are also planned for the existing Google Maps Business View program. In mid–August, this certified photographer program will be rebranded as “Street View | Trusted.

It will continue to focus on supporting pro photographers who publish photo spheres to Google Maps, but will shed many of its stringent requirements :  enrollment will be easier; publishing requirements will be simpler; and publishing and editing reliability will be improved.

Google-MapsGoogle Maps

from around mid-August Photo sphere upload will be made available directly from the Google Maps website, and later in the year, Google Maps will re-introduce the lost support for creating connections between photo spheres (“constellations”) with a new, more automated solution.

The Guitar Centre – Retail Store – East Brisbane

The Guitar CentreThe Guitar Center already had an existing Google+ Business page and Virtual Tour…. but after moving premises to a brand new store (diagonally across the intersection of Stanley St East and Lisburn St, Woolloongabba), they decided that a new updated Virtual Tour was important.

We scheduled the Photoshoot in March 2015 and published the New Virtual Tour on 30 March 2015 (less than a week after the shoot).

They are still to update the cover photo on their Business+ Page – but in less than 1 month (as of 22 April), the number of views has grown from just under 50,00 to  more than 67,000.

Moreish Cafe – Cafe – Stones Corner

logo-squareMoreish Cafe is a fabulous Cafe on Logan Rd, Stones Corner (although Google thonks it is Greenslopes).

They originally had an auto created Business Page, but it had not been claimed.  I helped them to claim and verify the oage, and also assisted them with adding content and updating it. We scheduled the photoshoot  in March 2015 and the  Virtual Tour was published on 24 March 2014.

As this was abrand new Google+ Page theye didi not have any Views registerd – as of 22 April (less than 1 month after publication of the virtual tour) thy have had over 2,300 views.

New Google Photo Tools for Businesses

Google My BusinessNew Photo tools – designed to enable businesses to add their own unique photos to search listings, Google Maps and Google+ pages have been launched by Google.

The New feature (known as “Business Photos”) has recently been added to their My Business service, to allow business owners to more easily add their own photos to their Google+ Business Page.

All business owners need to do to enhance their listings is log onto Google My Business and visit the new “Photos” section to upload images of their own choosing. Owners can also update their public-facing profiles, add logos and cover photos.

Contact Us if you’d like to find put how to add  a Google Virtual Tour to your business, or of you’d like some help optimising your Google+ Page, or see How to add local business photos for more information.

Have You Seen Wally Lately ??

Wheres WallyWhether you know him as Wally, or Waldo, Willie, Walter, or even Charlie (depending on where you are in the world)…. most of us have spent many frustrating/entertaining hours trying to find him in one of the famous “Where’s Wally” picture books.

I recently decided to start to add something a little “extra” to the Google Virtual Tours that I create.  I thought that by subtely including some sort of character or figurine to my Business Views, I could make it a bit of a “signature” of my work – but at the same time also add an extra element of interest for the business (and potentially their customers).

I thought about lots of different things I could use… I wanted something small, but bright and easily recogniable… Thanks very much to Rory for suggesting Wally… I think it is just perfect because :

  • The figurine is small, bright and recognisable
  • Most of us are already used to searching for him
  • He is a photographer (and has a camera around his neck)

Actually finding a Wally figurine was harder than I thought (as they went out of production more trhe 25 years ago)… but I did manage to track some down, and have started (with my clients permisison), incorporating them into new Virtual Tours that I publish.

So far all my clients have loved the idea… it provides something a little quirky for their virtual tour…. and also gives them the potential to run a competition or offer a prize tpo encourage potential customers for taking a long hard look through their virtual tour.

See if you can find Wally in the tour below (there is only one to find) :

Badminton Brew – Coffee Shop – Mt Gravatt East

Badminton Brew Cafe v1Badminton Brew is a relatively new cafe/coffe shop (opened in December 2014) hidden away in the backstreets of Mt Gravatt East.

Located in amongst a small row of otherwise ordinary shops on Badminton St (in an area bordered by Cavendish Rd and Creek Rd), Badminton Brew has rapidly become a popular spot for Takeway Coffee.

As this is a brand new business, a Google+ Page did not already exist, so I assisted Rachael in the creation and optimisation of this.  We then went through the Google verification process, and were able to schedule the photoshoot for the Virtual Tour. and arrange for publication.