Whether you love or hate Google, you must admit that it’s a company that doesn’t let the grass grow under its feet and we’re really seeing that with its Local Guides program.
For the local small business community, Local Guides can be extremely powerful. I discussed the basics in this post, but almost as soon as I pushed my keyboard away, Google added another twist: videos.
As a quick summary: Local Guides are the Google version of Amazon’s “Top Reviewer.” Individuals sign up to become Local Guides and then they post reviews and verify information about local businesses.
With the addition of videos, Local Guides can post short (10-second) videos of local businesses to Google Maps. Videos can be added via the Google Maps website using a desktop computer or when using the Android Google Maps app. As of this writing, the iOS Google Maps app doesn’t support uploading videos. By the way, if the video is on the user’s camera roll rather than shot straight from the maps app, it can be a bit longer – up to 30 seconds.
There’s one more interesting wrinkle to this development: some local businesses will be able to upload videos themselves. Google is currently testing out this feature and I think that eventually they’ll roll it out for many small businesses. Check your Google My Business account to see if you’ve been okayed for posting a video. And, if you get the green light to post a video, consider making something with higher production values: hire a videographer.
Let me ask you a crucial question: Do you know which of your customers or clients are Google Local Guides? If you do, great. If you don’t, you need to develop an unimposing way to find out. When you identify Local Guides, ask if they know that they can post videos using the Android Google Maps app. Suggest they try out the feature at your business.
There’s no question that Google is doing everything in its power (and it’s quite powerful) to be the universal gatekeeper of local business information (watch out Yelp). This makes a lot of sense in light of the rising reliance on mobile devices; when on-the-go, users fire up their smartphones to gather local business insights.
It’s critical that local business owners fully appreciate what’s happening. Be an early adopter. Don’t let this pass you by because playing catchup in the Internet Age is very difficult.