As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads to affect the entire global population, accessible information is more important than ever. This step-by-step guide explains exactly how to update your Google My Business (GMB) and Bing Places business listing to provide your customers with crucial information about COVID related changes within your business.
Information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic changes from day to day leaving most consumers certain of one thing when it comes to the months ahead. Nothing is certain. As your customers scramble to keep up with filling basic needs and preparing for a potential period of sheltering in their homes, current information could be the most important tool you can provide. For the Americans experiencing quarantine or self-isolation, the comforts of home are more important than ever. Take these steps to update your customers on how the pandemic has affected your business and the ways your team is still available to meet their needs.
*Tip: Any changes you make may be reviewed for quality. Therefore the changes may not be immediately available in Search and Maps.
Change Your Hours
Many businesses are changing hours of operation to follow local and state ordinances for social distancing. You may even wish to include hours related to emergencies. Appliance stores and repair shops aren’t considered emergency operations under normal circumstances. However, when your customers can’t leave their homes, your business can supply vital services. Updating your Google My Business (GMB) and Bing Places business listings will provide your customers with information about the ways you can improve their situation.
Changing Your Hours on GMB
Your Google business profile is one of the most important ways you provide information to your customers. Updated hours will help them find the convenient services they need in this time of crisis. Changes to your GMB profile will be reflected in your business profile, Google search, and Maps. Follow these steps to update your hours on GMB.
- Sign into GMB. If you have multiple locations, choose the location you’d like to manage.
- Click Info.
- Next to Add Hours click Hours.
- Turn on the days of the week your business is open.
- Next to each business day, click Opens At and select your opening time.
- Select Closes At and choose a closing time for each business day.
- To set 24-hour business hours, simply select 24 hours beside each day you’re open.
- After making changes, click Apply.
*Tip: You can include breaks during the workday by selecting multiple opening and closing times for each workday. For example, if you open at 8:00 AM and you’re closed from 12:00 to 1:00 for lunch, select Opens At 8:00 AM and Closes At 12:00 PM. Then select Opens At 1:00 PM and follow with your closing time for the day.
Changing Your Hours on Bing Places
Don’t confuse your customers with conflicting information. Take the time to update your Bing Places for Business listing to reflect changes to your business hours with these steps.
- Sign in to your account and select Settings
- Click My Account.
- Click Edit Profile
- Select Hours
- Choose the days of the week your business is open and make necessary changes to reflect your current hours of operation.
- Click Save Changes when your changes are complete.
Share Additional Information
In an attempt to promote social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, many businesses are changing the way they operate. For instance, you may be experiencing delays, limiting in-store traffic, or providing additional services to help the community. If you take care of in-home appliance repairs or installation, this is a good opportunity to mention the additional safety precautions taken by your team to avoid the spread of germs. Edit your business description to reflect all changes.
Updating Your Google Business Description
- Log in to GMB and click the location you’d like to edit.
- Click Info.
- Choose From the Business
- Make the edits you need and click Apply. (Remember to make changes brief enough to fit within the 750 character limit.)
Updating Your Bing Places Business Description
- Sign in to your account and click Settings.
- Click on My Account.
- Select Edit Profile.
- Choose Basic Business Details.
- Edit your profile to display any expected changes in service.
- Click Save Changes.
*Tip: Bing Places also has a tab titled Additional Information, where you can flesh out the details of your changes.
Create Updates with Timely Posts
Most information related to the pandemic is followed by the uncertain phrase “until further notice.” As events change daily, posts can provide you with a way to keep your customers updated with immediate changes. Posts give you the opportunity to add detailed information your business profile doesn’t have space for. Regular posts will also assure your customers that your information is still relevant in this time of rapid change.
Creating a Google Post
- Sign in and click the location you want to edit.
- Select Posts.
- At the top of the page, choose the type of post you’d like to create. When options appear, choose fields you’d like to enter (like photos, videos, text, events, offers, and a button).
- Click Preview to see a preview of your post.
- If you need to make changes click the back button in the top left corner and continue to edit until you’re happy with the changes. When your post is complete, click Publish.
*Tip: GMB posts are set to disappear after 7 days, so it’s crucial to add new information regularly.
Update Your Phone Number
Changing hours and the way you provide services might mean you’re not accessible in the way your customers are accustomed to. Provide an updated phone number or additional emergency numbers to ensure you can be reached. When you make changes to your business profiles, make sure to update phone numbers or add new numbers so your customers will know the best way to reach you in their time of need. Don’t forget to add these new contact numbers on your business website and social media accounts as well.
Additional Ways To Keep Your Customers Informed Online
Making your information consistent across the Web provides your customers with the dependable information they need. When you make changes to your business accounts, look for other ways to share information with your customers online. Your business website and social media accounts are also great ways to reach your customers.
Making COVID Related Changes to Your Website
Your customers expect to find the most complete information about your business on your website. Luckily, most websites have the tools to add temporary information for events or emergencies. These two techniques can provide your customers with detailed information about your changes during this fluid situation.
- Create web posts about COVID changes. Creating one or more web pages about your COVID related changes will give you a wealth of space to add details about the ways you can serve your customers when they need the comforts of home the most. Include detailed information about your company’s commitment to sanitation for in-home services. If you’re in a position to supply additional services for customers sheltering in place, highlight this information to provide your customers with much-needed options.
Leveraging Social Media for Useful Information
In trying times, many people turn to social media for quick information and updates. You can use your various social media accounts to publish changing services and hours immediately as changes happen. Try these tips to use your social media accounts to help your community.
- Post daily.
- Make your posts as positive as possible.
- Share information about additional services your customers may need (like curbside services or delivery).
- Consider making connections with other local businesses to better serve your customers and announce these alliances on social media.
- Use social media to answer your customers’ questions and concerns as soon as they arise.
You provide a vital service to your community and could be in a position to supply necessities to additional customers in a time of crisis. Sharing relevant information with your customers offers them with dependability and comfort in a time of great uncertainty. Whether you’re a beacon of light to your customers in a time of crisis or simply supply high-quality appliances or provide reliable repairs during your customers’ time of personal need, your business needs a voice. Your online voice will reach your customers when traditional options are unavailable.
To learn more about creating an online voice to provide dependable support for your customers, get in touch today. Fluid Services is a marketing company that keeps things simple by doing the heavy lifting for results that lead your customers to you. Establishing an online brand and a positive online reputation provides you with more ways than ever to serve your customers in their time of need.