Everything You Need to Know: COVID-19 Google Review Update
There is no denying that over the past few weeks, companies have had to quickly adjust to COVID-19 and its impact on all areas of business, including marketing. Recently, Google announced that it is updating its review and support policies in response to COVID-19. Here is how your business will be impacted by the Google review update and additional ways you can continue to enhance your online reputation.
Limited Functionality with the Google Review Update
As many businesses are quickly figuring out next steps and working to adapt to the pandemic, so is Google. Google has prioritized their critical services in order to reduce the number of employees required to come into their offices. This re-prioritization has resulted in a temporary Google review update, which disables new customer reviews, company responses and Q&A features on Google My Business.
While this may seem like an inconvenience, it is important to remember that Google is taking the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of their employees, just like everyone else. Additionally, before the review limitation was placed, many companies were receiving one-star reviews from unhappy customers because of their business being closed, not feeling like businesses were taking enough precautions, etc. This Google review update ensures that your business’ online reputation and review rating is not tarnished unfairly.
Pro Tip: Google has now made it possible for businesses to mark their locations as “temporarily closed” during COVID-19. If your business is not closed but had to adjust hours, use the “special hours” feature to keep your customers up to date. Learn more here. In some cases, businesses are seeing a delay between updating their hours and seeing the new hours published on their public profile. If you run into this problem, consider creating a COVID-19 Google My Business Post as well. Also confirm your hours are updated on social media.
I Still Want Reviews – What do I do?
If your business is heavily reliant on Google reviews from customers and was negatively impacted by the Google review update, there are other outlets to generate those reviews and maintain your reputation.
If you are a healthcare professional, consider asking your patients to leave a review on Healthgrades. Healthgrades is a robust online resource and rating tool for doctors, physicians and healthcare facilities. This tool allows patients to leave a review based on their experience, which prospective patients can then take into consideration as they choose a healthcare provider.
For businesses across all industries, Facebook serves as a great platform for generating reviews. Funneling customers to Facebook instead of Google is an effective way to increase your social media reviews while still receiving feedback and engaging with customers.
Pro Tip: When responding to online reviews, don’t sound like a robot! You want each response to seem personable and genuine.
How Else Can I Connect with My Customers?
While there is currently limited functionality with the Google review update, there are many other ways that your business can connect with customers online!
If you are not already taking advantage of the post feature in Google My Business, now is the time to start. Google My Business posts appear on your Google listing, and serve as a way to make your search results stand out and increase listing engagement. Whether you want to feature a product, promote an offer or simply give an update, Google My Business posts are a great way to stay in front of your audience with relevant, timely information. Google has also created a new type of post specifically for COVID-19 updates.
Pro Tip: The recommended size for all Google My Business graphics is 1024x576px. This size ensures that your graphic will not be cut off on your listing.
Another great way to connect with customers during these uncertain times is through video. Whether you have old footage you would like to repurpose, have an idea for a great graphics video, or would like our video team to safely capture footage, Frozen Fire has the tools and experience to create a video that will produce results. With so many companies adding new tools to their everyday business operations, how-to videos are the perfect way to capture a new process from beginning to end and simplify communication with both your customers and your employees. Video is also a great option as a backup for mass company meetings, events or training programs.
Take a look at this video collection, which showcases videos we created in the past that could serve as an effective tool when connecting and engaging with your target audience and/or employees.
Get in Touch
Are you eager to maintain your online presence, but not sure where to start? Reach out to our team today with any questions about the Google review update, video projects and more. We are happy to discuss your options and be a resource to you in any way that we can.