There’s no arguing that Google and other online entities have made our world easier and convenient. In the age of the internet, we no longer only utilize search engines or message boards, but social media and digital directories to find services or items we need. For small businesses, this can be a great way to not only promote your business but to gain support from your community. 

Over recent years and with the heavy impact of COVID-19, Google Maps and Google My Business have become staples not only for the regular business information but also for others to support local businesses. Below, you’ll read about features in Google Maps that have transformed the way we support local businesses.

1. Reviews

We try to highlight how important reviews are for small businesses or even large businesses. They allow customers to let others know about their experiences and provide positive feedback, which is important when potential customers or clients are looking at your business or services. Even if a business receives negative reviews, it allows the business to provide a response and ultimately show that they care about what others are saying, and they’re willing to correct any wrongs that may have been done. 

With Google Maps, users are able to see reviews and star ratings, which allows them to make an informed decision. They can also see photos of services, food, or other items the business may provide, all while on the go or when in an area they haven’t been to before. The information in Google Maps is a great way for those traveling, moving, or exploring their local community, to help support local businesses.

2. Business information

Keeping your customers and clients up to date with your most recent information is crucial to success. Especially in times where hours are changing due to labor shortages, different city mandates, and other issues, keeping your online information updated is more important than ever. Now, not only does Google provide users with a map of local businesses, but other features as well. 

Google Maps supplies users with important information about a business such as hours of operation, current services provided, and days that the business is open. Due to the recent state of small businesses, Google also implemented a way for users to suggest edits allowing others to know if anything has changed, and helping local businesses stay up to date. Google receives the information changes and makes the updates as they come in. These changes and information allow others to support local businesses by being active in their community, leaving positive feedback and sharing information that links others to the business. 

3. Report as opened or re-opened

The harsh reality of this new world is; a lot of businesses are closed. Whether it was temporarily and they’re getting ready to reopen, or they closed permanently, a lot of local businesses felt the impact of quarantine and closed due to lack of customers or inability to keep employees hired. Even as people returned to the workforce and quarantine restrictions lifted, for some local and small businesses the impact was too great to recover. 

Within this transition, some businesses that returned may have forgotten to update their hours, safety protocols, or even that they had reopened. Google Maps put the power of updating these factors into the hands of customers and clients. You can report that a business opened or reopened the same as reporting a change. This helps local businesses continue being seen by potential new customers and clients and letting the community know that the business has returned. 

4. Options for donation or gift cards

As we’ve also talked about in the previous blog and social media posts, gift cards are a fantastic way to continue supporting small and local businesses. It provides the business with revenue but you or your recipient don’t have to use the gift card right away. You can also support local businesses in your community by providing a donation either directly to them, or to an organization that supports small and local businesses.

Google Maps has put a lot of power into users and businesses alike. In an effort to continue supporting local businesses, they also added a feature that allows users to purchase gift cards, or provide donations through the app. To do this, users simply search ‘support a local business in their Google Maps app to see a list of businesses accepting donations or allowing gift cards to be purchased online. This is a great option especially with the holidays on the way, and for those who want to support but also want to stay safe. 

While the internet is a lot like our real-world and constantly changing, there are a lot of good things that are available to help those in need. Ultimately, the use of the internet and apps like Google Maps is to bring us closer together and to help support our community. It provides needed and useful information, as well as ways we can support and lift each other up. It’s one of the great tools that allow us all to support local businesses and continue supporting them in the future. 

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