The wide adoption of digital and social media platforms across Ghana (and all over the world) has provided more opportunities to entrepreneurs than ever before.
In the past, your business had to deal with a wide variety of platforms to get your message(s) across. While there are tens of TV channels and hundreds of radio stations all vying for the limited attention of the public, with several newspapers and thousands of billboard options, the new media is more centralised: there is only 1 Facebook, 1 Instagram, 1 Twitter, 1 YouTube, 1 Google, 1 LinkedIn, 1 Tik Tok. They are the modern gatekeepers of the audience you seek. The cost dimension is also different: it was difficult for small businesses to raise the funds to do a TV campaign. With Facebook or Instagram, you set your own budget. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (formerly Facebook), Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and other platforms have changed the game entirely. Need to rent a car for an event? Instagram or Google can help. Need new shoes? You can order and have it delivered to you at home or your office.
Benefits of early adoption
When Facebook started, businesses which jumped on board were able to get followers quickly and organically. Later on, Facebook started monetizing the platform and changing its algorithms. Facebook now makes it a little more difficult for businesses to reach wide audiences without paying for advertising. The same is true of Instagram, which has become central to a lot of businesses. Early adopters grew quickly but now it will take more to grow.
More leads, more enquiries, and more customers using Google My Business (GMB)
A lot of us have learned to search for businesses online using Google. That is great. As a business owner, have you taken the important step of listing your business on Google? If your business has a location and you want more clients to visit, it is imperative that you take your Google listing very seriously. In my line of work managing a digital marketing agency, I have seen the benefits of a well-managed listing for clients in different sectors – a spa, a chain of dental clinics, a diagnostic centre, and a hotel among others. Now, what are some of the reasons why you must create, maintain and manage a Google listing?
When clients or potential clients search your name (or your business category), they must be able to quickly find you. I remember living in Haatso a few years back and trying to find gyms near me. That is when I realized how important it is to be well-listed on Google. Recently I was in Adabraka and wanted to buy a blazer quickly. I pulled out my phone and immediately started looking for places to buy men’s suits around me. The millennials of today want to do everything practically using their phones. You ought to make it as easy as possible for people to find you.
Google Maps has created a revolution for location-based services. Having a good Google My Business listing helps clients and potential clients to easily locate your business. If you have hospitality or tourism-related business, for example, a lot of visitors to the country can find your business and come directly to your premises using Google.
There is very pertinent information that a client can derive from a Google listing. Some of the key ones include business name, services you render or products you sell, your opening and closing hours, whether you have some seasonal offers (Valentine’s Day promotion, Easter Promo, etc.). Clients additionally get your contact information and also get access to your website address. Google can be used to create a free website for your business without buying a domain or storage, in case you lack the means to create a professional website.
Google Reviews are one of the key benefits of having a Google business listing. Reviews tell potential clients the experience that previous clients have had and how they rate you. This, therefore, requires that you deliver top-notch service, to consistently receive good reviews. The more reviews (especially positive reviews) a business has, the easier it can be found in a search.
A well-managed Google listing enables your other business profiles on other social networks to show up in searches. Potential clients or customers can easily see your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other profiles easily using your Google listing.
Data and Analytics
Google provides great analytics for your professional business website. However, even without a website, Google listings provide very helpful data for your Google My Business account. It can tell you how many people have viewed your business profile, how you are doing in relation to businesses like yours, how many potential clients are visiting your profile, requesting directions, calling your contact number, and messaging you through your Google listing. You will be able to tell how many potentials are searching for you online or searching for directions to your location through Google Maps. This will help you determine if the new photos and posts you add to your GMB profile did better in say January or the previous month.
Content is King
People are always searching for content. From food and restaurants to events and entertainment to relationships, comedy, pets, etc., content is king. Your business, therefore, has to find ways to generate exciting content and then share it. Video content usually attracts more engagement than pictures. The stratospheric growth of Tik Tok is a pointer to just how much your next generation of clients are looking for content. It’s not enough to just have a Google listing. There must be constant updates of pictures, new products, and services, promotions, etc. That, and increasingly positive reviews, will help your business pop up faster in searches by potential clients.
Even if a worker, client, or just a member of the general public has created a listing for your business already, you must take charge of your destiny and narrative by claiming that listing. Then you can work on it (or appoint a competent digital marketing person or agency) to ensure that you’re at the forefront of conversations with regard to your industry.
Every serious business must aim at 360-degree visibility online using your Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tik Tok, a website, and other platforms where applicable. You must create content, manage, and when possible, spend money to promote engaging content on Google (and the other platforms) to guarantee consistent revenues for your business. A Google listing is a great asset to get customers to find you. If done right, and also with a bit of Google Ads, your profile can bring in a lot of enquiries, calls, visits, and sales from customers. It’s imperative that you take charge of your GMB profile or get help doing it.
The writer heads Brand Rite, a Ghanaian digital agency that helps small to medium-sized businesses grow. He can be reached at [email protected]
Source: Nana K. Oware
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