One of the really common ways people find local businesses is by searching with Google Maps. Have you noticed that when you click on a particular business, it either has reviews listed or the comment 'be the first to review'?
Have you ever clicked through to see the reviews? If so, you are brought to that business' google plus page - every business has one whether or not they have set it up themselves. Google automatically sets up a default Google plus page for every business and it looks like this:
Pretty plain Jane at this point. You can quickly spruce it up with pictures of your business, as well as claim the business for yourself. Claiming the business will give you more control over what images are displayed. Click on the Manage this page to claim your business, or read our previous post on how to claim your business with Google. Once you've done that, continue reading here about how to personalize your business' Google Plus page.
Click on the Manage this page to upload images and update your information, and then click the Edit button below your business' name.
Here you can enter in lots of great info about your business - phone number, description, business hours, payment options etc. That's all fairly self-explanatory, but to make your business' Google plus page look nice, you'll want to upload some photos of your business. This is done by clicking through to your Google+ page - it will be something like https://plus.google.com/[lots of numbers here]. To upload images, click on Upload first public photo and upload some nice picture of your business' interior and exterior. This way people will know what your business looks like and make it that much easier for them to find you.
You'll also want to upload the 'main' picture for your business - the one that shows up at the top of the Google+ page. Just click on the camera icon and follow the instructions for uploading an image.
Lastly you'll want to upload a really nice, large format, and high resolution picture for your 'Cover' picture. This is the large image that displays at the top of your Google+ page. Click on the Change cover button next to the +1 button, and upload an image.
This is the basic (inexpensive) way to get set up. Google also offers a fancier option called Google Maps Business Photos. With this option, you can create a 360-degree, interactive tour. To get started, you need to contact a Google approved photographer/agency with the necessary camera equipment to take the panoramic images that allow people to take an online tour of your business. For an example of this type of virtual tour, check out the Just Food For Dogs google plus page, and on the right hand side you'll see a 'See Inside' section. Click on this arrow pointing to the right on the image to enter the virtual tour.
This may be more bells and whistles than you would like, and also the cost is up to the photographer/agency, so may be beyond most small business' marketing budgets. But it's totally optional and you can definitely get your Google+ listing looking spiffy without any expensive camera equipment. Just grab your iPhone, take some nice interior and exterior shots, and get them posted.