How The New Google Q&A Feature Works
Google has just launched a Q&A feature for Google Maps for Android and mobile Search. The feature allows users to exchange information about places on Google Maps for Android and mobile search. To access information on a site, search the location on Search or Google Maps and open the listing.
The Q&A feature will be found in the lower sections of the page. Users can do three things in the Q&A section:
(i) Ask questions concerning a location.
(ii) Answer questions concerning a location.
(iii) Upvote the most helpful answers (by a simple tap of a thumbs up icon).
When questions are submitted, the relevant business owners, and other in-the-know users, are notified and given a chance to respond to queries. Users are also notified whenever there is a response to their questions. This new Q&A feature is yet another opportunity, from Google, for businesses to market their brands. Most businesses will, however, be reluctant to try it out; those that do will, therefore, enjoy a competitive advantage.
Why Should You Care?
If technological advancements have taught us anything, it is that businesses that do not embrace change die. With a little tact, however, technological advancement can be a business’s best friend.
So, how do you make the new Q&A update work for your business?
1. Control the conversation.
People will talk about your business; some with not so good intentions. The web is not critical of intentions. It will create a permanent record of whatever people say. You have no option but to join and control the conversation. Make sure that your permanent record is full of niceties.
2. Free PR.
The modern market favors businesses that make intimate connections with their customers. The Q&A section is a free opportunity for a business to engage in one-on-one interactions with prospective clients. The smallest of gestures, like answering a question in real-time, can improve the level of trust prospective customers feel towards a business.
3. Control The Word of Mouth.
Word of mouth is a double edged sword. It can propel a business into incredible success, or irredeemable failure. With the Q&A update, a business can control word of mouth.
A business can take charge of the questions asked. To do this, ask the most relevant questions about your business and answer them most helpfully. This will help you control the conversation and, consequently, word of mouth.
4. Keep It Concise.
Many businesses are still oblivious to the marketing potential of the Google Maps and Search Q&A updates. Not many will take keen interest in the manner in which they answer their questions. To gain competitive advantage, answer the questions with the intent to educate in the least time possible. Do not be overly wordy in the answers; keep them clear and concise. Impress users with your answers; you may just convert them.
5. Beware The GMB Login. Be Very Aware!
Internet users can be very hostile. This will be reflected in some of the questions. When feeling irritated by such questions, avoid the GMB login. It identifies you as the business owner. You do not want to vent your frustrations on a potential customer in full glare of the web. The web loves a scandal; the web never forgets.
Google is rolling out the Q&A update rather slowly. It will be quite some time before most of your competitors catch on. Enjoy the competitive edge, while it lasts.