It’s tough to keep up with Google; it seemingly tests and adds a new feature every month. Alas, that is our calling as digital marketers and yet, this one almost passed us by. We’re talking about the new Google Maps Questions & Answers feature that lets mobile users browsing a business listing ask any question they want. You, the business owner, can answer these questions and so can other users.
So, how exactly does it work? Will it help or hurt your business? We’ll explore these questions and others in this week’s blog post.
How Does Google Q&A Work?
Here’s the deal: a user searches “criminal defense law firms near me” and your business pops up. They click on your listing and scroll down to the ‘Ask the Community’ field and type “do I have to pay lawyer fees up front?” At that point, they can either read through questions that have already been answered about your firm or wait for an answer to their question.
You’ve probably been contributing to this feature yourself for awhile now. When Google thinks you’ve visited a place, you usually see a pop-up that asks, “Know this place?” and you can select ‘ok’ or ‘close’. If you decide to participate, you’ll be prompted to respond to as many questions as you have the patience to answer. Eventually, you’ll get a message that says “Your answers help people who search for __________.” If you’ve never done this, you should so that you can get a feel for the types of questions being asked about law firms similar to yours.
How to Manage This Feature
Naturally, it’s best to answer user questions yourself instead of letting others do it for you. After all, you wouldn’t let a random person off the street answer the phone in your office, would you? With that out of the way, here’s how to access this feature and start adding some FAQs of your own.
Note: you can only do this with an Android phone.
Why You Should Get in Early
As you can imagine, having unanswered questions can’t be good for attracting new clients, especially if your competitors are answering theirs. If we’re being honest, this feature is fantastic for users and kind of a pain for businesses, but meeting the demands of your clients is crucial. Being proactive and adding answers before anyone else does will reduce the number of questions that pop up demanding an answer. It also tells users that you’re actively meeting their needs.
To make it even easier on yourself, you can pull content from your website’s existing FAQ page. However, be sure you’re anticipating real questions potential clients want to know or this could end up an exercise in futility.