Google My Business: 3 Ways to Ask Customers for User-Generated Content

 
 google-my-business-user-generated-content

The best salespeople are your customers. So, why not ask them to post user-generated content (UGC) about your business on Google?

High-quality, informative user-generated content like ratings, reviews, photos, videos, etc. can significantly help businesses with verified Google My Business listings on Google Maps and inside a box called the Business Profile on Google Search.

How?

Google My Business listings with rich user-generated content rank higher and searchers trust that content because it's from real customers. A variety of rich, informative user-generated content that ranks well is going to increase conversions.

For example, if a potential customer searches for "Japanese ramen" on Google Maps or "Japanese ramen near me" on Google Search, high-quality, informative user-generated content could easily convert the searcher into a customer –– without ever visiting the website.

In this post, I’m going to share 3 ways to ask customers for user-generated content on your Google My Business listing.

1. Rate and Review

 google-my-business-rate-review

Ratings and reviews are the most prominent user-generated content that appears on Google Maps and Google Search.

Ratings for local search results are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Scores are calculated from user ratings and a range of other signals that reflect the quality of the business.

  • 1 Star (Hate)

  • 2 Stars (Dislike)

  • 3 Stars (Ok)

  • 4 Stars (Like)

  • 5 Stars (Love)

Don't funnel the positive and negative reviews (i.e. review gate) and never accept money in exchange for reviews. Both are against Google's Terms of Service.

How to Ask Customers to Rate and Review

Be friendly and politely ask, "Could you rate and review us on Google?" or "Did you have a 5-star visit today? If so, please rate and review us on Google."

If appropriate, explain how to write better Google reviews. Google provides several tips on its Local Guide support site that includes writing with style and being informative, insightful and respectful.

To further encourage user-generated content, tell customers (especially the tech-averse) how easy it is to rate and review your business on Google. Use the following guides:

Google Maps (Desktop)

  1. Go to Google Maps.

  2. Search for your business.

  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page and click "Write a Review" (see image).

  4. Give a star rating.

  5. Write a review (optional: add a photo).

Google Maps (iOS & Android)

  1. Open Google Maps.

  2. Search for your business.

  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page to 5 empty stars.

  4. Tap the stars and write a review.

Pro Tip
Respond to all ratings and reviews –– positive or negative –– via the Google My Business Dashboard or mobile app on iOS and Android. While every business owner loves a 5-star rating and a positive review, it's impossible to satisfy everyone, especially if customers are unaware of policies or unfairly blaming the business. That's why taking the initiative to respond to every rating and review is imperative. Show that your business cares about every single customer.

2. Post a Photo or Video

 google-my-business-add-photos-videos

Photos and videos that appear on Google Maps and Google Search give potential customers an inside look into your business without investing time and money.

How to Ask Customers to Post Photos or Video

Be friendly and politely ask, "Would you mind taking a photo or video and sharing it on Google?" or "Why don't you join this month's contest and post a photo/video to Google?"

Ask customers to open Google Maps and take a photo of the interior, exterior, products, services, your team, etc. Alternatively, ask them to open Google Street View on iOS or Android and take a panoramic photo or video of the business or its exterior location and link it to your business on Google Maps.

If appropriate, explain how to create great videos. Google provides several tips on its Local Guide support site that includes seeking well-lit spaces, capturing the interior and exterior as well as focusing on details and giving personal reviews.

To further encourage user-generated content, tell customers (especially the tech-averse) how easy it is to post photos or videos on Google. Use the following guides:

Google Maps (Desktop)

  1. Go to Google Maps.

  2. Search for your business.

  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page and click "Add a Photo" (see image).

  4. Choose a photo to upload.

Google Maps (iOS & Android)

  1. Open Google Maps.

  2. Search for your business.

  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page to "Add photos or videos."

  4. Choose a photo or video (up to 30-seconds) from your photos or tap the camera to take a photo. To take a video on Android, hold the shutter for up to 10 seconds.

Pro Tip
Create a monthly contest that encourages high-quality photos and videos. Ask customers to take a photo of themselves using your products, take a photo of the business location's interior/exterior or create a video review of a product or service. Select the best one each month and inform the winner.



3. Post a Question

 google-my-business-ask-question

Questions that appear on Google Maps and Google Search reveals that people are interested in the business. Additionally, businesses that answer those questions convey that they're ready, willing and able to respond to customer questions.

How to Ask Customers to Post Questions

Be friendly and politely ask, "Did you know we respond to all customer questions on Google?" or "Did you know that you can ask us questions on Google? We usually answer questions within 30 minutes."

Tell customers to ask questions about your location, products and services. Give them examples of typical questions (e.g. Do you allow pets?) and explain that they can also rate the best questions and answers with a thumbs up.

If customers begin posting questions that are similar to chatting, ensure Messaging is enabled on the Google My Business Dashboard, then instruct customers to direct chat-related questions there. If necessary, report questions and answers that violate Google's content policies.

To further encourage user-generated content, tell customers (especially the tech-averse) how easy it is to ask questions on Google. Use the following guides:

Google Search (Desktop)

  1. Go to Google Search.

  2. Search for your business.

  3. On the Business Profile (right side), click "Ask a question" (see image).

  4. Write your question.

Google Maps (Desktop)
Not currently available

Google Maps (iOS)
Not currently available

Google Maps (Android)

  1. Open Google Maps.

  2. Search for your business.

  3. On the business listing, scroll down the page to "Questions & answers." Click "Ask the community."

  4. Write your question.

Pro Tip
Respond to all questions via the Google My Business Dashboard or mobile app on iOS and Android. Enable GMB notifications or check the dashboard daily to ensure you're responding to questions about your business before someone else does. That's right! Anyone –– including your competitors –– could answer questions about your business.

Wrap Up

You just learned 3 ways to ask customers for user-generated content (UGC) on your Google My Business listing. Start getting more user-generated content, communicating with your audience and converting searchers into customers.

Now, go master your marketing.

Google My Business: 3 Ways to Ask Customers for User-Generated Content first appeared on the Bento Sites Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.