New Google Local Marketing Kit for the Summer of 2019

Google has taken another step to take your local marketing efforts easier and more streamlined this 2019 Summer with their new local marketing kit. This ties in nicely in your Google My Business (GMB) profile.

Create custom posters, social posts, and more from reviews and highlights on your Business Profile on Google. All for free.

From the new Google Marketing Kit

In addition, it provides video and promotion options.

This Google-provided video is currently pretty cheesy, yet gives you a video option including easily embedding the YouTube video within your content such as this blog. As of yet, I don’t know if you can customize this.

Another new opportunity is pre-made (social) Google Posts. They also give you the option to share these on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, plus a downloading option for you to share wherever in your content you feel relevant.

The current examples they seem to have are a bit generic, but I see them useful for filler Google Posts. My mind may change tomorrow, although I don’t see these as useful for Facebook and Twitter. I’d rather see updates that tell more of a story. But maybe that’s just me. Example:

Google Social Images
Google Social Images

If you’re a restaurant, hotel, or any other business prone to potential positive reviews, this is certainly worth filler posts.

At an enterprise level with multiple listings, this opportunity is a must with proper management. For stand alone local businesses, I have a couple reservations.

The best (or worst) part of it is that Google owns all the data. Yep, they still own the local search content you provide. For this, they even own the analytics although they show you an overview in your GMB panel. I only imagine that they use all of this to help calculate your overall authority in the results, and indirectly, your rankings in the local 3-pack.

Google does get info for these based on both content you provide in your own free Google My Business (GMB) profile combined with ratings or your organization.

very-friendly
New Small Thanks with Google Replacement?

I was a huge fan of the Small Thanks with Google Site that gave you free posters to showcase the positive things customers say about you, but the site’s now down. There’s no redirect and is now just a broken 404 page. The above-mentioned Google local marketing kit seems to be the replacement along with the other opportunities.

Google has a pretty strict policy regarding obtaining user reviews, and a lot of fantastic articles have been written regarding this. In a nutshell, soliciting positive reviews is bad. Reminding people they can leave honest reviews is good. Google is now showcasing the latter with new window decals.

Review us on Google
Review us on Google

Have you or your company/organization used the Google Local Marketing kit yet? We’d love to hear your experiences!

Google Maps Icons

Google My Business (GMB) – Charging for Listings or Just Incorporating their Local Services Ads

Is Google My Business sending surveys to local business owners to see if they can charge local businesses for their own listings?

I say no. Oh hell no! They’re not out to screw you. My first reaction on Twitter:

They have sent survey question (survey now closed) about this. Joy Hawkins from Sterling Sky contacted Google and sent out this tweet.

I’m with that. There’s nothing to panic about. My assumption on this good Search Engine Land conversation is that the survey questions really closely mirror the minds of those who choose to participate in Google Local Services ads and not for GMB profile listing owners worried about if they’re going to be charged for Google’s already-free product.

Google Local Service ads in general do not integrate within your Google My Business (GMB) profile. So yes, I believe they are encouraging you to buy local service ads just like they visually encourage you for AdWords Express with their Create an Ad icon. I imagine in the future, they will use these survey Q&As to encourage GMB users to sign up for Google Local Services Ads.

Create an Ad with AdWords Express

I can certainly see an simple added tab for Google Local Services ads, written in their own very simple way.

I do suggest looking into Google Local Services ads on your own. We put a services page up for this over a year ago as well. Not many local Mpls/St. Paul industries qualify, but you check out your eligibility for yourself.

What are your thoughts? Is GMB out to charge your for your listings or is it just a survey to explore interest in Google Local Services Ads?

Google Maps Icons

Local businesses can now reply to Google Maps reviews via desktop

Local business owners have been waiting for the ability to respond to user-reviews via laptop, per Search Engine Land.

It makes sense for business owners to relish this. As mobile savvy as they are, they may not want to reply to reviews on a phone due to personal perception, or are just used to working on a laptop during the work day. Using a laptop for these are (per Google) now an official option and it takes just seconds.

Right now, I immediately think of Minneapolis/St. Paul area businesses such as restaurants, bars, laws firms, hospitality, and other service-based businesses who may receive Google reviews up over once a day. No matter where, you can most likely view the same or more.

There are many through experience who have enough clout with Google that they take our responses, plus photos and anything else Google My Business (GMB) on the spot. For many others, it does take a few days at least. I do not know how immediately these replies take to go live. My guess is either on the spot or within a day.

If you’re a local business or organization you can reply to business reviews whether you’re signed in to GMB or not. If not, here are the steps.

  • Google your businesses/organization name
  • Click on “Google reviews” on your GMB listing/local box
  • You’ll see a reply button for reviews. Reply

If you’re in your GMB profile.

  • Click “reviews” in the left panel
  • You’ll see a reply button for reviews. Reply

That’s it! You’ve now replied to a local business review, of course we hope in a positive and compelling way. Happy replying!

Replying to Reviews on Desktop

Google Maps Icons

7 Tips to Enhance 360° and Still Photos for Google My Business (GMB) Profiles

If you’re new to Street View photography to enhance your Local Search (local SEO) chops, there are some good ways to embrace this and learn while enhancing Google My Business (GMB) profiles. Seriously! If you’ve already mastered this, hopefully this will give you some additional insights. Here are 7 tips to improve your Google My Business (GMB) Street-View and virtual tour (VT) photography skills.

  • Practice, practice, practice. If you’re just starting you need 50 Google published 360° Street View photos. Once you’ve done this, it can take a good month or so to be added to their Street View For Hire page. Here’s the app for you to get started.
  • Keep your clients informed from the start. The more knowledge they have benefits everyone. Whether it’s for interior VTs for showcasing navigation inside their location, or external 360° photos to imply directions to them helps them determine their strategy.
  • Remember the sun. This seems obvious, but a bright sun can reduce photo quality no matter what camera you use. I recently had a great exterior view towards the south. It was noon and had to delete the 360° because I couldn’t escape the bright rays.
  • Charge up beforehand. If you’re using a Ricoh Theta V or similar 360° camera, the battery can run low fast if you’re taking a lot of photos… at least in a Minnesota winter. It’s always a good idea to bring a laptop and external charger to charge both your 360° camera and smartphone. This has saved me more than once.
  • For stills, don’t be afraid of Portrait mode. As much as I absolutely despise iStocky type photos, focusing in front while blurring the background can work if it’s obvious that the photos taken are real and of the location. Example:
optometry-gear

Real Optometry Instruments at a Local Clinic

  • Add descriptions to each still photo. The photos themselves can be very compelling, but adding a description can help you tell a story for them, or imply directions and specific entrances to a building.
  • Transfer photo rights! This is a selling point for me. Just like any business or organization should 100% own their website, they should also own their GMB photos. Example:
Partial Screenshot of ODG in Minneapolis

Partial Screenshot of a 360 photo showing ODG as the owner

The photo name still comes up as myself, although the important photo credit belongs to ODG.

Thoughts? Comment here or let us know via Facebook or Twitter!


LocalMN provides Google trusted Street View photography as well as local search consulting and implementation. Contact us to learn more.

Google Maps Icons

LocalMN 101: Creating a Google My Business (GMB) Presence with Maps Photography

Creating Your GMB

Creating a Google My Business profile has long been well-known as a local search must, even before your own website and for good reasons. Do a branded search for your local business, and chances are there’s a big knowledge box result for you whether you claimed, or verified it or not. You can create or edit your own. It’s easy and awesome.

Partial Localmn Knowledge box. These are awesome. A home page of your business, if you will.

Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is now often considered the home page for your local business. It makes sense. It’s highly visible, includes a link to your website, appointments or bookings, your own customized photos, including 360° photos, managing ratings and reviews, POSTS, and a lot more, actually.

Google Photos and Maps Photography

Organizing photos in Google Photos is a great starting point after claiming your business. They make it easy for you to edit your photos to your preference, and place them on your GMB profile.

Organized Google Albums to Minneapolis

Organized Google Albums Minneapolis for GMB or other uses

You can title each album for your own organization, describe each picture, and automatically have your deets stored in exact location taken, camera used, date and time, and even exact size. Photo proof of your own!

Eventually, when you need photos for your GMB presence, you can be comforted at looking at your photos account like a switchboard. Look at an album, select a photo, use them as your profile, cover, logo, and POSTS.

We consider Maps Photography as quality photos with the intent to drive customers to your door. Include photos of your address, cross street signs and exterior 360° photos can imply and provide customers visual directions to you. Directions is arguably what the majority of customers are seeking.

360° Photo: Sign of the Mayo Clinic Gonda Building, reflection of downtown Rochester, move to view Methodist Hospital, the Kahler Grand and 2nd Ave SW.

After awhile, you’ll see that you’ll have enough real digital photos to use, without having to pay for fake stock photos. You know the ones. They’re attractive, with a smiling person pointing to a graph that goes up. Seriously, they’re horrible! An exception goes to Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco courtesy of @Buzz60 a few years ago, but I digress.

These photos can easily be done with a few photo and editing tactics. You could include your own staff, being serious, or being cleverly comedic like above by including a local celebrity. I’ve never met The Fancy Ray, but I’m a fan and love his local commercials and outdoor billboards. I’d love to see him in local stock photos like this. Again, I digress.

With a Street View app, (preferably along with a compatible 360° camera), you can create these photos publicly as long as Google accepts them to Maps. These are stored within your Street View app. Plus they can appear on your Google My Business profile, as well as providing an short, embedded code for you to include to media, social profiles, and content marketing strategies such as your blog.

Back to your Google Photos and albums. You can easily edit any photo on mobile or desktop. Often, it can just be by selecting Auto to bring the photo to life a bit like this one at On-Demand Group. There are plenty of other edits that make your photos pop, and auto is just one of the more popular ones.

ODG Rooftop

On Demand Group Rooftop in Minneapolis

We hope this helps your local business or organization. Happy Maps Photography to you all. Skål!


Localmn Interactive provides Maps Photography services including Google Trusted Street View Photography, Google Trusted Verifier and Local Search in general Contact us to learn more!

We’re Now Google Trusted Verified!

In addition and to compliment our Google Street View Trusted Photography status, we’re also now a Google Trusted Verifier.

Google My Business (GMB)

This makes your time more valuable by having someone come out to immediately verify your business to GMB, take photos and 360° virtual tours, consult you with Google Posts, GMB Insights. So often, people will set up their GMB correctly and adequately, although don’t take full advantage of this free tool for you DIYers. For agencies, we’re looking to add this to your mix for local search services.

When we come out to visit your Twin Cities location, we come with these ready-to-use icons, literally right on the Google Pixel 2:

Google Maps Icons

We forté in being flexible. If you just need GMB verification, we do this. If you need verification plus setup, photos, 360° Virtual Tours, Google Posts insights, and overall GMB consulting, we also do this, and we do it well.

4-hour consultations for you and your business (at your location) are available for this and is definitely time well spent. From there, you can decide to hire us on a more permanent level or go your own way with the confidence to DIY.

Side note: This is proudly available for physical businesses and organizations in Minnesota. Transportation expenses outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area TBD. We are Minnesota. 

Contact us Minnesota, and lets get verified! Skål!

Single Lane on Nicollet

Businesses and Community Along Nicollet Open Streets Minneapolis

One thing I look forward to when going to Open Streets events is to look at local businesses and community involvement along the routes. Open Streets Minneapolis – Nicollet is amongst my favorite. On a single lane street that’s usually too dangerous for drivers to view anything other than the road, these local businesses are often overlooked. It’s encouraging to see them all on foot, especially if they have an event presence in front of their storefront.

Businesses

I’ve been to the St. Paul Selby Revival a few times but not the one in Minneapolis. It’s right on the Open Streets Nicollet route and they engaged with the community by having different bands play throughout the day. I believe that the Minneapolis Revival chicken and waffles are available everyday and not just Sunday, but maybe someone could confirm or deny in the comments. Transit is a good way to get here, too. The 11 and 18 Metro Transit buses take you right here along with the Nicollet and Blaisdell Ave bike lanes that cover the jaunt.

Band setting up outside the Minneapolis Revival

Band setting up outside the Minneapolis Revival

Curran’s Family Restaurant has been a comfort food staple for decades and is right on the route. Like Revival, the 11 Metro Transit bus and Nicollet and Blaisdell bike lanes take you right there. There’s a parking lot as well for drivers. They have what’s known as the tastiest Monte Cristo. They could’ve displayed for free in their own parking lot, but paid for the honor to be on the street in front of their own restaurant. I’m not a fan of this charge.

However, they were selling cookies and beer on the street and were kind enough to let me take a quick photo of them. They even offered to let my phone juice up with one of their chargers, but I digress.

Curran's Crew

Curran’s Crew outside of Curran’s Family Restaurant

Nicollet Hardware on Nicollet is a welcoming community store and community presence for the Nicollet Open Streets. Also, the most Minnesotan Google review and response you may find this week.

Nicollet Hardware

The most Minnesotan response to a review you’ll see this week

Here’s a visual example of using their space as part of the Open Streets Community.

Nicollet Hardware

Nicollet Hardware presence at Open Streets Mpls – Nicollet

The patio at Pat’s Tap is welcoming for events like Open Streets, general people watching, of course their food, and the day of the event, Lagunitas specials. Like other Nicollet Ave businesses, it’s really easy to get to by transit, foot, or bike lanes.

Pat's Tap

Pat’s Tap and Lagunitas food and drink specials

Protip: For you businesses and orgs on the Open Streets University of Minnesota + Motley route, consider a Google Post to help cross-brand your business along with the event.

Awareness

I’m always interested in learning how a few things tick, especially when it comes to bringing neighborhoods together in all four seasons. The Samatar Crossing post comes to mind as I’ve now used it a few times for either walking transportation or to see a soccer match at Currie Field.

The Art in Public Places group were kind enough to show me the plan for the Green Crescent project and greenspace between Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway, just off the new-to-be Lake Street Transit Center. Just like the Samatar Crossing, they would be looking for public artists to help make it engaging through the greenspace. Open Streets is one way they’re getting the word out.

Art in Public Places

Green Crescent calling for public artists between Lake St. and the Midtown Greenway

Little did I know, most benches in the city are from US Bench. For revenue, they sell advertisements highly visible on the bench itself for transit users. I guess this isn’t new, but didn’t know that one company provided most of these. According to one esteemed councilperson, they the Clear Channel billboards of benches and can possibly be used this winter to help build awareness for the Our Streets Winter Sidewalk Maintenance study and initiative.

 

US Bench

US Bench – Clear Channel billboards of benches

Pets

There’s always something special about taking a day to dedicate a city street to those to walk, bike, roll, stroll, eat, drink, and play. It’s all about the community, especially those with 4 legs. Often, the popular question, “can I bring my dog (or pet)” to Open Streets?”. Of course you can, they don’t worry about traffic, road diets, or infrastructure, and they’re cute, dangit.

Least Dangerous Staredown

Least Dangerous Staredown

Doggie hanging out in the sun

Doggie hanging out in the sun

Music

Music bonds people together. It makes sense that multiple musicians are always lined up. Pick your genre and you’ll mostly find it right on a street corner or a makeshift stage. Hot Pink Hangover played a a few acoustical sets on the NW corner of Nicollet and 35th.

Hot Pink Hangover playing an acoustic set

Hot Pink Hangover playing an acoustic set

Sgt. Danny was cool enough to show me his cajon box drum along with his foot tambourine.

Cajon Box Drum

Cajon Box Drum

These guys played right by the Driftwood Char Bar on the 44th block of Nicollet. They put on a great show including the accordion player/singer swinging his accordion like a flying-V guitar at times.

Band playing by the Driftwood

Band playing by the Driftwood

Roadrunner Records always has some kind of outside presence. The last time I was here, they were selling vintage albums. This band outside was really catchy. I didn’t catch their name, but if you know please let us know in the comments!

Band outside or Roadrunner Records

Band outside or Roadrunner Records

Community Engagement (fun!)

Where else can you close off a main street and play life-sized Jenga on the side?

Life sized Jenga at Open Streets

Life sized Jenga at Open Streets

And there’s bike polo right on Nicollet. Better than car traffic.

Bike Polo on Nicollet

Bike Polo on Nicollet

Our friends Beth and Tim helping people out at the Streets.mn booth.

Beth and Tim keeping the Streets.mn fort down

Beth and Tim keeping the Streets.mn fort down

Of course, there were plenty of runners enjoying the event’s Run for Beer 5K-ish.

5k-ish Run for Beers participants

5k-ish Run for Beers participants

If you’re interested in sponsoring, getting a spot or volunteering for the upcoming Open Streets University of Minnesota + Motley Open Streets, you certainly can. I look forward to attending the event as I’ve never been to one at this location.

More photos were originally taken for this post. If you like, there’s a shared Google Photos album for you to see as you please!

Article originally posted on Streets.mn


LocalMN Interactive provides content marketing marketing and local search services to the Twin Cities area communities.

Local Search Profile

What Permissions Your Local Search Company Should Have and Should Not Have

Just like you should absolutely own your own website, you should also own all of your properties that have anything to do with Local Search. There are many properties different companies use in web builders, Google Accounts and social media platforms. We’ll stick with 3. WordPress, Google My Business and Google Analytics.

It’s kind of hard to believe, but there are companies with deceptive sales tactics that allow you to have your site back once the relationship ends, but in chunks leaving it up to you to piece it back together. You’ll want to make sure that if you ever leave a company or agency, you have your site back full and intact. With WordPress, sites are pretty much built that way by default.

WordPress StatusFirst, just make sure you have a signed NDA to ensure you own all your web properties once the business relationship ends for  whatever reason.

In WordPress, your web company can have different permissions. When the site is built for you, the company would need administrative permissions (status). Admissions status is also recommended for monthly and quarterly stats so your web company can continue with customized reports and actions. If you’re set with everything when it’s initially set up, you may want to think of giving them Editor status.

Notice there are other permissions. You may want to inquire with your company what others are suitable.

Google Properties make it really easy to add you to accounts. Although not needed, it’s even easier if you have your own Google Account which includes a custom gmail address determined by you.

GMB StatusGoogle My Business (GMB) is your local search hub. You most likely have a profile whether you created one or not and you can find out by simply Googling your name. If you haven’t claimed your profile, you can start right here. Once the profile is completed you can add your hours of operation, write Google Posts, add photos and even an up-to-30 second video, and many of these 8 things you may not have known you can do.

Once your GMB is set up, your web or local search company should eventually have Manager status. You’re the owner and should have Owner status. Manager status still lets your local search company perform functions and reports you need.

Google Analytics AccessIn Google Analytics, it’s important that your local search company produces anywhere from overview to highly-detailed reports for you including recommendations. It’s also important for you to have access to at least the Read & Analyze level so you can access almost any data set you choose. Talk to your company to help determine which access you should have and this is all under User Management category in the Property settings. When you’re done working with the company for whatever reason, any reputable company will switch your access to administrative so you own complete control of it.

There are many other sites that local search professionals use, although these 3 are flagship-type portals that you need to know your status, and the status of your web company. Let us know in the comments of sites or tools you use or local search company uses which gives you full control.


LocalMN Interactive is a full, local web company including local search, responsive web design, UX, search marketing and Google Certified Street View Photography. Contact us with any questions about our customized services.

Grain Belt Sign

Happy New Year and Let’s Make 2018 Inviting!

Happy New Year, folks and here’s to your new goals, inviting customers and happy times! It’s a chilly January so far, but there’s a reason we all live here. Even in the Winter, we enjoy the Winter Carnival, skiing/boarding anywhere from Theo Wirth to Lutsen, U.S. Pond Hockey Championship or even ice fishing… if that last one is your thing.

U.S. Pond Hockey Championship

Your Site. Your Door.

It’s not just a tagline. It’s what we do! We help make you look awesome. The first part of 2018, we’ll be finishing a small rebrand, or added services as we’ve honed in even more in both experience and expertise. To celebrate, we’ll be offering January discounts for new customers. Just contact us.

From web vision to measured web solutions, we have exceptional WordPress design and development, certified advertising credentials and branded social media for you and your company at your door. Really. We’re local.

WordPress and WinterIn 2018, your customers are more web savvy than ever. They know when they want to see your fast, beautiful site, your Facebook Page, Twitter presence, ratings and reviews, maps and directions and real photos.

This is where we hope to meet you. Do you just need a custom website redesign with usability? Or, do you need local site marketing including local listings, voice search consulting, 360 photos, and even virtual tours? If you’re local, we could be a perfect match.

Contact us and be inviting, be swift, be mobile.

Downtown St Paul

Local Search Marketing Predictions for 2018

2018 may be the most opportunistic year ever for local search. With Google leading the way and users and vertical markets working aside or within Google, the user experience promises the possibility to be both high in quantity and quality.

Voice Search

I’m putting Voice Search in right away because it involves probably everything below, local or not. This is changing search fast and companies are busy figuring out how to capture the market.

First Ave Voice SearchHere’s a real-time example. I would like to see Soul Asylum play tonight at the First Avenue, mostly because a neighbor or mine won an audition an earned a spot to play bass for them tonight. Yes. Really! I don’t want to miss that! A voice search gave me the Google My Business profile. It has the hours correct tonight as it does close publicly at 7:30 in time for the sold-out 8:00 show. When you tap on Directions, you will get an Uber and Lyft option which will be convenient when the temp is supposed to be below 0.

Score “1” for Voice Search. Just one of many ways this changes all types of search, in this case Local just a bit.

Google My Business (GMB)

In 2017, Google was keeping busy pushing to Claim businesses in Google My Business, and then features within like Google Posts, Local Services Ads and Websites.

In 2018 Google will focus more on continuous new features in Google My Business and push both new and current features. Following these alone can keep professionals pretty busy.

Google Posts

Google Posts grows in 2018, but grows slowly. It was released in June, 2017 to be shown in branded searches and quietly used by few. They can be very informative for end-users and cover more valuable search result space for the branded company name. The Posts provide interest to click and learn more about events, newsletters, new offerings or any other thing relevant to the company. However, Search professionals have been weary of this all. Google owns the content provided and doesn’t pass any direct SEO Love to links that pass through.

Local Services Ads

In a simpler word, Ad. Google pushes this hard in 2018. This is how Google makes money. Originally Home Services Ads, they rebranded it to include and imply Local. Companies won’t be looking at it based on their favorite keywords, but by the quality of leads. Local Service Ads do have a prominent, thin listing up top on both desktop and mobile. Google’s currently pushing it hard enough that even companies that don’t have the “Google Guaranteed” badge sometime appear, most likely because not every industry has enough participants yet. Right now, there are a very limited number of industries this is offered to. Look for this to expand, and expand greatly to cover industries like legal, landscaping and other industries to where people compare companies.

Garage Door Repair St. Paul

Currently, all three of these companies are probably busy right now with the arctic chill Minnesota is having. Plus, maybe Google is banking on being listed next to Google Guaranteed listings will have some automatic trust.

Google Websites

They’re nice, they’re free (unless you get a customized domain – recommended), it’s almost built for you in GMB. They also show maps, custom photos, fill-in-the-blank hours of operation. With that said, don’t look for this go grow in 2018. At least, not in the U.S. This is certainly meant to help Google, and that’s fine. In my view, they can have the data. Google Websites are probably best for businesses who are just looking for a 1-page brochure about their business.

Other Opportunities

Real-Time Transit

Real-Time Transit

Real-Time Transit

Google will either develop or buy a company who can provide real-time transit in 2018. Both Uber and Lyft obviously have this, and Metro Transit MN just came out with this feature on a mobile app or their website as well. I’ll bring up the arctic chill again. When a bus is late, this feature makes it handy by not having to stand outside quite as long when it’s really cold. The concept fits in perfectly for usability, placing inside the Directions and Bus tab in Google Maps.

Local Guides Grows and Grows

2018 promises to be a big year for Google Local Guides. For Google, they get data. The Local Guides at Connect are passionate and happily contribute photos, reviews and knowledge to Google and GMB. Just look at the 2017 World-Wide Food Crawl Meet-Up. Main incentives for Local Guides aren’t rankings-based. Rather it’s points and levels obtained-based, sometimes meaning perks provided by Google. The other incentives are really satisfaction-based to bring positive awareness to make local communities better. Google knows and appreciates this all, and they even provide a yearly Local Guides Summit.

Ratings and Reviews

Google cleverly builds on reviews in 2018 while Yelp confuses people. While Yelp is telling us to absolutely not solicit reviews but go ahead, Google just goes on and removes paid reviews. And now, it’s also against Google’s guidelines for ex-employees to leave negative reviews. With that said, Google highly encourages honest reviews. Albeit often indirectly, they highly encourage them. Here’s one way they do this and also reach your customers online and in person.

Review for Points OnlyLocal Guides now get extra points if their Google reviews are 200 characters or more. Perhaps this increases the level of quality and reduces the number of 5-Star ratings with no reviews below it for the purpose of gaining points only.

Reputation management companies have been around for years to encourage reviews and consulting when negative reviews happen, just to mention a couple services. There are good companies who offer this and have become trusted because of it. Some companies like Get Five Stars go further by developing more of a comprehensive platform. It’s built to acquire customer feedback, encourage online reviews and other features mentioned above. I see services like these all growing in 2018, albeit mostly with companies who already have a head start. It’s a growing and demanding opportunity, but also a comprehensive one.

Local Videos and 360 Photos

DIY or Pay Professionals?

2017 may have been the year of making more videos. 2018 will be the year of making more videos, smarter.

DIY video can certainly be done on the cheap. Have a smartphone, tripod or monopod, lapel mic, iMovie app, and you can make an adequate one… or not. Companies may start with going the DIY route because it is rather inexpensive. Many of them afterwards will go towards independent companies, or agencies who specialize in videos.

2018 will be a really good opportunity for independent videographers. They know everything about video strategy and creation, as well as being search savvy. Some are confident enough to provide you free tips as well. Here’s Erica from Puke Rainbows on 2018 Video Marketing Trends to watch for.

360 Degree and Street View Photography

Street View photography will certainly grow in both supply and demand in 2018. Per Google Street View:

Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest.

To become a Google Trusted photographer for this is a trial and error process. There are a number out there, coming from backgrounds from photography to marketing. Right now 360 photos for businesses are somewhere between the “this is really cool” stage and “this is really useful for our customers” stage.

Conclusion

Only time will tell how accurate my predictions will be. I suppose another post will come at the end of 2018 to see. What do you think? Am I spot on for these or am I out of my tree?


LocalMN Interactive provides Local Marketing services and we are beyond excited and very confident to see what comes in store for 2018. Let’s get together! We look forward to customize a local search strategy customized just for you. Skol!