Put Your Best Foot Forward with Google My Business Photos
Put Your Best Foot Forward with Google My Business Photos
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage your online presence across Google. By updating your information, people can easily find your business through Search and Maps. By now, a lot of businesses know the importance of claiming their My Business profile and keeping it updated with a current name, address and phone number. But, how much thought have you given to your photos?
The images posted to your Google My Business account are more important than you realize. Let’s take a few minutes to address the need to have high quality, relevant photos on your My Business profile and the best practices for doing so.
Visual Content Marketing Stats that Will Impress Anyone
Don’t ever doubt the power of visual content. Here are a few statistics – compiled from this infographic from WebDAM – that you should know.
- The average person gets distracted in eight seconds, though some much less. Images do a better job than words of capturing a user’s attention and holding it.
- 81 percent of people only skim the content they read. Usually, they’re just looking for a basic gist of what a business is about. Photos can help tell your story in a matter of seconds.
- People form a first impression in 50 milliseconds. Again, sharing images of your business helps them see what you’re all about. Imagine a restaurant that features pictures of their food. This would be enough to form an impression.
- It’s predicted that 84 percent of all communications will be visual by the end of 2018.
- Posts that include images get 650 percent higher engagement than ones with only text.
Types of Photos to Include on Google My Business
When people glance at your profile with the intention of making a decision in a few seconds, images can speak a thousand of words. Aside from static images, Google My Business has introduced 360-degree images and virtual video tours. Take advantage of these features as they will help separate your brand from your competitors.
To ensure that your pictures are doing justice to your brand, here are the best practices to follow.
Exterior and Interior Photos
Show people that your business has a credible location. I recommend taking two to three exterior photos of the outside of your building. You can take them at various angles or different times of the day, especially if you have cool lighting that comes on at night.
Interior photos are extremely important, so I suggest a minimum of three. Show people what your business looks like from a variety of angles, and include all the places they may use. For example, if you have a restaurant with a party room and bar, include photos of each.
Products and Services
Include photos of your products and services so that people can see firsthand what you sell. You don’t want to overwhelm users, so choose your best examples of each product. If you deliver a service, such as a cleaning service, take before-and-after photos to show your work.
Management and Team Photos
Show the human side of your business by posting a few pictures of your employees. Happy, smiling faces show people that your employees love what they do. But, don’t stage your photos. Get your staff in their natural element. Otherwise, the photos may come off as fake and do more harm than good.
Choosing Which Photos to Use
When choosing which photos to use, there are several things to keep in mind. Below I share a few practical tips.
Opt for Authentic Photos
First, make sure the photos are authentic and genuine. Some businesses are less corporate than others, so it might not be difficult to accomplish this. However, even if your business is formal, you don’t want to risk posting images that are too polished and professional. It could make your business look cold and off-putting. Find a way to balance your professionalism and approachability.
Avoid Stock Photos
Second, avoid using stock photos. I’m not sure why anyone would use these, but it has happened before. Google will find them and remove them from your account, so save yourself the trouble from the start. While it’s nice to have a professional photographer take photos of your business, products and services and staff, this can’t always be done. Do your best to take photos from a variety of angles using various lighting and props.
Enhance Your Images
Lastly, take advantage of the apps and tools out there to enhance your images. Some of my favorites include Snapseed, Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe PhotoShop Elements 2018 and Corel PaintShop Pro. These apps and tools allow you to edit your photos so they appear higher in quality and align with your business. Play around with filters, adjust lighting, retouch faces, create collages and more.
Making User-Generated Content Work for You
It’s important to know that customers who visit your business also have the option to upload their own photos and videos. There is not much you can do to control these images, but you can flag them and ask to have them removed if they are offensive or inappropriate. So, it’s a good idea to check this user-generated content on a regular basis to ensure that all photos of your business are positive.
I do, however, have a few ideas to encourage user-generated content that will benefit your business.
- Mascot or special character. Some resorts, sporting events and family friendly restaurants have employees that dress up and take pictures with customers. Ask customers to upload their photos to your business profile.
- Special events. Host a sidewalk sale or special event to celebrate a milestone, such as an anniversary or birthday for your business. Encourage customers to share their photos to your business page.
- Samples and testers. If you have fun or silly products to be used in your store, let customers have a chance to do so. Allowing customers to test out products can lead to great photo ops for your business.
Google My Business is always working for you, so be sure that you put your best foot forward. By including original, relevant photos of your business, it’s more likely that customers will choose you over a competitor. If you need advice or technical help when optimizing your profile, contact WSI Net Advantage at 510-687-9737. We’re always happy to help our clients get the most from their online presence.