Your farm business is likely on Facebook, and that’s great. But there’s another tool out there that is quite useful in helping drive folks to you. It’s called “Google My Business.” It’s free and easy to set up. It also helps raise your profile when anyone is on Google Search and Maps, and it helps customers connect with you.
Have you noticed when you do a Google search for a business that frequently a box will appear that includes a photo from the business, a button for directions, a website link, and other information? It also may include reviews. That’s an example of a business that has “claimed” their Google My Business” page.
Consider a person in any given region of the state who wishes to find a specific type of farm, say a strawberry farm in the spring. In Google Maps they may type “strawberry farms near me.” If you have claimed and verified your “Google My Business” page, information about your farm will appear in a list with other farms for the specific region for which someone is searching.
If you have not claimed your page, you may be missing out on business. It is an important tool in promoting your business. It allows you to provide the information you want customers to find when they are searching for you. You control the information – such as location, hours, website, products – that is at their fingertips.
Google My Business is easy to set up. The platform will walk you through the steps.
Generally, this is what to expect when it comes to information you can provide:
- Your business name.
- A business category; be as specific as possible though you will have to select from options provided. For a blueberry farm, for example, you may have to select farm.
- The option to add a location that customers can visit, like a store or office.
- Your service area. If most of your customers are in the Greensboro area, for example, you can add that.
- The region where your business is based.
- Contact details you want customers to see, such as phone number and website URL.
This will lead you to “Finish and manage this listing.”
At this point Google will ask you to choose a way to verify. This is a step Google takes to confirm the business is yours. Typically, you will receive a postcard with a verification code. Most postcards arrive within five days. In some instances you may receive the code by phone or e-mail, depending on your business.
After the verification step, you will be directed to a page with a menu of items on the left-hand column along with a “Get Started” tab.
It includes the following tabs: Home, Posts, Info, Insights, Reviews, Photos, Products, Services, Website, Users. You can start adding in information about your business even though information won’t appear on Google until you verify your business with the code that Google will send you.
A few helpful tips:
- People like photos. Add a beautiful shot of your farm or products to your profile. They help increase traffic to your website and increase requests for directions on Google Maps.
- When adding photos to social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, spend a few minutes and add a few to your Google My Business page.
- Visit the Insights tab to find information that can be helpful to your marketing strategies. It provides information such as how customers searched for your business and where they are coming from. You can also see what days receive the most customer use. This may give you an idea on best times to post information. There are many other statistics and it’s worth spending some time reviewing them.
- If you have special events, promotions, or new products, include that on your page. If you are selling tickets you can add a button for ticket sales.
- Customers can add photos to your page too. If they have visited your farm and shot a fun photo, that can help others to see what you have to offer and what experiences others had. However, take the time to periodically look through the photos and remove any that don’t represent your business. You won’t be able to delete the photos outright; you’ll have to go through a couple of steps to do so.
- People can leave reviews about your business and you will have an opportunity to respond, if you wish. It’s important to check the space frequently to address any issues. Positive experiences by customers help convince others to become customers.
- You can add users if you have employees or family members who will also post. As the owner, it’s advisable to retain primary owner status for yourself and designate others as site managers. They will be able to post information but unable to edit important information or delete your profile.
- During Covid-19, there is even space to provide Covid-19 updates about your business hours and other information.
- Like most social platforms, there are numerous features to employ well beyond the basics. Of course, that depends on your time. Basic business information – attractive photo, name, location, directions, contact info, link to website – will likely connect you with more customers, and using other options will get you more bang for your your time.
- Schedule time to check and update your page on a regular basis, particularly “Review Updates” to make sure no one has added incorrect information.
Get started at Google My Business. By claiming and verifying your business it can increase search engine optimization, meaning you increase your chances of showing up in search results. There are lots of online articles on how to optimize your Google My Business listing. This article provides helpful information on many of the features.
This is part of a 4-part series on social media resources. Google My Business, a free tool, helps increase your online presence in Google Search and Google Maps. Facebook now owns Instagram and helps facilitate cross posting. Devine Farms shares their social media strategy. Visit NC Farms is a new app introduced by NCDA&CS.
By Leah Chester-Davis