When you have a question that people around you can’t answer, where’s the first place you go?
And because of its position as the leading search engine, it’s wise to take advantage of its “hidden” social media feature that many businesses fail to leverage.
If you want to boost your multifamily property social media marketing strategy, Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is well worth paying attention to. With features like posting updates, publishing photos, and chatting with customers in real time—Google Business Profile just might be the latest social media marketing trend for multifamily.
When someone searches for your business on Google Search or Maps, your business profile information (such as photos, reviews, and posts) will appear. Here’s how it looks in Google Search on desktop:
That means this one small profile on the right-hand side of a Google search has the power to centralize all the key information (and then some) to help searchers book a tour and eventually sign a lease.
According to Google, when users see your completed business profile on Google Search and Maps, they’re 2.7 times more likely to view your business as reputable. They’re also 70% more likely to visit your business and 50% more likely to consider purchasing. That’s worth paying attention to!
Read on to find out why the GBP just might be the hottest new “social media” site and how to use it as a marketing tool that will generate leads for your properties.
7 ways a Google Business Profile counts as social media marketing
1. It lets you create posts to keep customers informed
Just like Facebook or Instagram, Google Business Profile allows you to post updates, complete with texts and photos, to engage your customers and encourage them to take action. You can even include offers, plus a call-to-action link that encourages click-throughs.
See how it’s done with this example from The Casey Apartments in Denver:
2. You can gain access to customer insights
Just like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook lets you see data about your users and their engagement with your profile, Google Business Profile gives you insights as well. Check the performance of your business profile by seeing the search phrases people used to find you, number of unique visitors, number of requests for directions to your businesses, number of clicks on the “call” button, website clicks, and more.
3. You can chat with prospects in real time
Google Business Profile has a messaging feature that allows you to chat with prospects in real time. If you enable this feature, be sure to respond as quickly as possible. Why? Your prospects will see your typical response time when they select the chat feature, and Google could deactivate your chat capabilities if you frequently take too long to reply.
4. It helps you rank better in search results
Though not a direct ranking factor, social media can benefit your SEO. Further, your business profile information contributes to better local search results.
Here’s how it’s explained in the Google help center:
“For example, if you own a hair salon, your business might appear in local search results for people who search for ‘salons near me’ or ‘salons open now’ because you’ve provided information that includes your address and hours.”
That’s powerful—especially because these types of queries are becoming more and more popular. In 2019, Google research found that “near me” searches are growing across nearly every category. Queries like “where to buy” + “near me” on mobile had increased more than 200% in the previous two years.
So if you’re looking to up your local SEO game, do not overlook Google Business Profile.
5. It lets you show off your apartment offerings and photos
Photos of your properties can push people to book a tour. The same 2019 Google research mentioned above found that half of online shoppers rely on images to help them make purchasing decisions.
Google Business Profile allows you to upload photos and add products. In your case, you can add the floor plans for the types of apartments you have to offer. You can also add a phone number and link to your website to encourage viewers to take action.
Here’s an example from Montclair On The Park in St. Louis:
6. It helps you ensure prospects get accurate information
Because your Google Business Profile information shows up in Search and Maps, being able to control and update this information is crucial to ensuring prospects can find you. You can edit your hours, phone number, address, and more.
7. Customers can interact with your Google Business Profile
From leaving reviews to uploading photos to “liking” answers, online users can interact with a Google Business Profile much like they can interact with your Instagram or Facebook account. This creates that social aspect of social media.
How to turn your Google Business Profile into a lead generation machine
Now that you see how the GBP mimics many social media sites, below, we’ll show you how to polish your business profile to turn it into a lead generation machine.
1. Add accurate business hours and contact information.
Yes, it seems simple enough, but you’d be amazed at how often prospects come across a Google Maps listing and get the wrong phone number or the incorrect business hours. This can cause you to miss out on leads. Ensure your information is correct before moving on to the rest of your profile.
2. Take advantage of the description to paint a picture
With Google Business Profile, you get 750 characters to hook your readers. (No URLs or HTML code, though.) This description will appear on Search and Maps.
Here’s a great example from Juliana Apartments in Hoboken, New Jersey. Notice how its description uses words that convey imagery—”clean lines of the brick facade” and “admire the glow of New York City.” And to wrap it all up, it ends with a clear call to action: “Contact us today for more information!”
3. Post professional images and videos of your properties
While online users can upload their own photos to your Google Business Profile, you can control your image and ensure you make the best impression by uploading your own. Be sure to add professional photos (you can add video, too!) to help prospective tenants see the value of living at your property.
Here’s an example from The Casey Apartments in Denver. It uploaded 360-degree images that viewers can click and drag to feel like they’re virtually touring a space.
4. Add attributes to rank better in Search and Maps
On the GBP, you can add specific attributes to your profile to indicate, for example, that you’re a women-owned business or to show wheelchair accessibility information. These attributes help searchers know what to expect and help you stand out from the competition.
Adding these labels could even help you rank better! According to Google: “If you add certain attributes to your profile, your business might show up in search results when people search for places with those attributes on Google Search and Google Maps.”
5. Answer user questions as quickly as possible
Google Business Profile has a Q&A feature that allows users to ask questions on your profile that will be publicly displayed. Anyone can answer these, but as the business owner, you can submit an answer that will be labeled as “Owner” so searchers know it’s an official answer. Answer questions as quickly as possible to ensure accurate information and a good customer experience. You’ll want users to know that you’re responsive!
6. Ask residents to leave reviews
Yes, this is perfectly allowed (and encouraged, even) by Google. There’s even a review link you can share with people. Even better, use a Review Booster to automatically ask your residents to leave a review on your Google Business Profile. This saves you time and helps build up your reputation, leading to more signed leases.
7. Respond to reviews
It’s best to leave a reply to any review, good or bad—but it is absolutely critical that you respond to negative reviews. This helps with reputation management and ensures that prospects realize that you are responsive and willing to make things right. Not responding to a negative review leaves prospects with a bad impression.
8. Turn on chat
The chat feature in Google Business Profile is optional, but it’s a great way to stand out. Prospects want to be able to interact with you, and this way, they don’t even have to leave Google to get information about your apartment complex. If you do turn this on, however, make sure you’re able to respond to messages within 24 hours.
Take advantage of all the Google Business Profile has to offer
From direct messaging to posting offers, Google Business Profile has some lesser-known features that make it a fierce competitor in the world of social media marketing. By taking advantage of this tool, you can leverage it to increase site visits, tour bookings, and ultimately, signed leases.
Still looking for guidance managing your Google Business Profile? Respage has a team of creators dedicated to improving your reputation via social media and Google Business Profile. Click the button below to lean how they can help.