America runs on small business, and small businesses in turn rely on local customers to fuel their sales. These days most people start their search online to find a vendor they want to build a relationship with. No other search engine in the world is more trusted than Google. What Is GoogleMyBusiness? It is a new way to help connect your business with the millions of customers who use Google services to navigate the world wide web.

GoogleMyBusiness is an effort by Google to consolidate all of their local business services in one product offering. By signing up for the service, a company will be given multiple outlets to reach people in the Google network. It is completely free to join.

By signing up, a business will be given a Google Plus profile that they can use to communicate with people across the social network. A complete business listing will update visitors as to any information they need to know to learn more about your business. You can publish regular updates on specials, new products, and contests. You can also directly interact with customers and solicit their opinions on how to make your business better.

Social network marketing through the Google plus network is also a great way to virally share your content. By posting interesting pictures and articles, users can easily share and “plus-one” posts that dramatically expand the reach of your content. You can also incentivize people to share the content with their friends by sponsoring contests so that each share enters them in a drawing for a prize. As your page builds critical mass, you will get more “plus-one”s on your page, which will build social proof for your business.

By using GoogleMyBusiness, your business will also get featured on Google Maps. This is the most popular mapping service on the internet which is used by countless people to find their way around a given city. Your location can be highlighted in a map that appears in the search results anytime someone uses a local keyword to search for a related service. This is in addition to any organic result your website might also be getting. A Google map pin for your location can also be highlighted as people are just browsing through Google maps looking for things to do in the area.

GoogleMyBusiness also allows you to manage online reviews for your business. Reputation management has never been more important online as people want to see that others have had good experiences with a vendor prior to making a decision to purchase a product or service. From the GoogleMyBusiness dashboard, you can respond to any potential negative reviews by encouraging the reviewer to contact management to see if there is something you can do to make the experience better. This is often the most effective way of dealing with any negative reviews as people want to believe that their complaints have been heard.

What is GoogleMyBusiness? It is a way for you to improve your interaction with your audience and find new customers. This way your small business can accelerate its growth and become more responsive to changes in the marketplace.