We want to thank everyone who was able to join us for yesterday's webinar on Google+ for Hotels and Restaurants with special guest Benji Greenberg of BCV. For those who missed the webinar, you can view it here. The webinar covered lots of useful information, including outlining Google+'s intricacies and reasons why hotels and restaurants specifically should engage, spotlighting unique Google+ features that have direct hospitality application, demonstrating how to improve your business's search performance with the social layer and explaining the differences between a Google+ local and a brand page and how to merge the two.
After the webinar, we had many additional questions come in, so we wanted to answer them here and also elaborate on some important topics.
Q: How many Google+ Local Business pages can be created under a single e-mail? We work with a multi-unit business and we would like to create pages for them but we don't want to create multiple profiles.
You can create a maximum of 50 +Pages under a single profile. For step-by-step instructions on how to create a Google+ Local listing, here's a great how-to resource for you to follow.
Q: If we've already claimed our business through Google Places (now known as local Google+ page) does that mean we already have claimed it as a Google+ page too?
The difference between a Google+ local listing and a Google+ page with social features is confusing. If you had already claimed your business through Google Places (which is a process that verifies your business's contact information, Google map location, etc.) then your page was automatically converted to a local Google+ listing. While this listing looks very similar to a Google+ page, it does not include any of the social functionality of a Google+ page (i.e. doesn't allow your hotel or restaurant to post updates, share photos, upload video, etc.). In short, you will need to create a separate Google+ page first, and then - once this step is complete - merge your local profile and page together.
Q: So again, if we have claimed our local Google business listing, do we need to create a Google+ page?
Yes. You will need to create a Google+ page first and then you can merge your local Google+ listing with it. For more information, Google has spelled out the difference between the two types of pages here.
Q: Any other tips to growing your circles beyond adding a Google+ button to your website?
Similar to other social communities, growing your audience with Google+ will require time and patience. Nonetheless, here are some great tips to get started with.
Q: Can you tell us again where you click to merge a Google+ page?
To merge your page, click on Verify now on the right side of the page. You'll need to verify that you're representing your business by having a postcard sent, even if you're a verified business owner on Google Places for Business. Also note that verification will only work for pages created in the "Local Business or Place" category in Google+. Google has also published step-by-step instructions on how to go about this.
Q: Can we use the same pin from merging our Google Business page to our Google local page?
You should first try to use the same PIN. If using this PIN does not work, however, you will need to submit a request for another one to verify. Another good resource to check out on the step-by-step verification process can be found here.
Q: Can you reply to local Google+ reviews as a business?
Yes. You’ll still be able to publicly respond to reviews, and now you can respond directly from your local Google+ page. To do so, sign in to your Google Places for Business account, click See your listing on Google Maps by the business that has a review you want to respond to (which will take you to the corresponding local Google+ page), and click Respond next to the review and write your response.
Q: Do all Google+ reviews pull into Revinate?
Yes. Revinate pulls your Google+ reviews into your Revinate dashboard under the Reviews tab in our dashboard and can be responded to directly. Google+ social mentions of your brand will appear in the Social Media Searches tab of your dashboard.
Q: Is it possible to create more than one Google+ page? For example, a brand page and then one additional for each property?
You can create more than one page. A good example of how to differentiate your brand versus property Google+ pages would be the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts brand profile.
Q: Is there a reason/benefit to have more than one page?
If you are asking whether or not your hotel or resort should also have a separate page(s) created for your restaurants, spa or nightlife, think about the following. When it comes to managing multiple Google+ brand pages, consider the time and resources that are available to you. While proactively cared for pages can yield search and enterprise benefits to your online presence, ones that are left without compelling content on a consistent basis will have little impact. Moreover, many pages even at the brand level are still looking to gain a critical mass in following. With this in mind, we would advise beginning with one page and evaluate its progress after a certain amount of time has passed.
Q: If you mark your post as Public, can people see it if they are not using Google+?
When you post publicly, only people who've added you to one of their circles will see your update on their Home page. Your public posts will be displayed on the Posts tab of your profile and are viewable by anyone who wishes to see them. They also may appear in search results.
Q: Does the Google+ badge have the same impact on search results when integrated into a website with AddThis?
Yes. By adding a Google+ badge to your site, you will find a similar impact on search, whether its integrated with your AddThis toolbox or on its own. This badge's core purpose of allowing visitors to your website to directly follow your Google+ page, +1 your site, share your site with their circles, see which of their friends have +1’d your site, and click through to visit your Google+ page will remain the same.
Q: So we have to create an individual account before we can claim a business, similar to Facebook? Is it better to create a gmail account for your business?
Yes. You will have to have access to a gmail account as an individual user before claiming a business. Typically, it's a smart idea to have a general gmail account for your business so that you can use the same uniformed login across managing multiple social channels.