We are always in search of new and good places to go; and many of us look towards friends, family and other trustworthy sources to seek out that perfect place to eat or shop. To ease this search, Google has recently teamed with Zagat to give its users not only recommendations from friends, but a key rating of places nationwide with various categorical breakdowns. With this roll-out, there is no longer Google Places; in order to use the application you will have to log into your Google+ account and click the Local tab on the left sidebar. Here is where the internet marketing strategy comes into play because Google is now forcing users to create a Google+ account in order to use the local search application.
Once on the Google+ Local page, you can begin searching for whatever type of location you’re feeling like visiting or wanting to know more information about. Being born and raised in New York, I wanted to find some Italian style pizza and here is what came up:
As soon as you begin typing in the search bar, popular queries will begin to emerge, and once searched several locations in your designated area will be displayed. At a glance, you will see photos, a Zagat score and summary, along with reviews from other Google+ users (displaying those you are connected with first), and even useful information such as store hours and address. Zagat is able to make their reviews based on user-written submissions and surveys. Social media marketing can be enhanced here by encouraging users of your business to write reviews, which is now easy to do with the little pencil option in the top right corner of each location. A sign located on the users’ way out of your business reading, “Hey! We know you liked your meal, but let us know how much you loved it and why on Google+ Local,” and then implementing a QR code to the destination would be most beneficial to your business.
Google+ Local has an app on the Android market and will soon release one for iOS devices. It is integrated with other products you search for regularly, and therefore will display the same information when looking for a place on Search or Maps. We’re wondering if this new application will drive you to create a Google+ page and be more active on the social network.