Building a strong offline and online presence in local markets is of key importance to every organization that sells products and/or services to a local audience.

For franchises, this is an ever-increasing challenge because as they grow, they expand into more and more local markets. It is a challenge that, if ignored, can lead to devastating results. On the flip side, when addressed properly, it can lead to industry widespread exposure...and that's a good thing.

One important aspect of that is securing a prime spot in the increasingly important map listing results that appear in response to keyword searches on Google.

When that all-powerful map appears, you need to be there.

While Google Local Pages are still active, Google is transitioning priority to Google+ pages, so it's imperative that franchises that need a local presence setup a Google+ page. Not just any page can be setup, however.

In order to appear in local map results, you must setup a Google+ page as a "Local Business" rather than choosing an alternative such as product/brand, company/institution, arts/entertainment/sports or other.

It's also crucial that you then go through the process and complete all the steps in order to take advantage of the power that Google+ offers:

  • -Specify correct physical location
  • -Choose the correct categories
  • -Add a description with keywords
  • -Adding a website link
  • -Add a logo and cover photo
  • -Post a welcoming message

And lastly...verify the page! Without verification the page will not appear in Google results...then the efforts are wasted.

It is important for franchises to determine who is responsible for the setup and maintenance of these pages. Many pages can be setup through a single Google account, which makes it easy for the corporate franchise team to maintain.

Given that in most industries audience engagement on Google+ is not as crucial as it is on other networks such as Facebook or Twitter, corporate management of the pages may be the most practical and make the most sense.

If it is decided that independent franchises will setup their own Google+ pages, then the corporate team should provide them with instructions about how to do so properly in order to maximize results.

Regardless of who sets it up, Google+ is an essential component of establishing a solid online presence for franchises in local markets.

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