Google's Questions and Answers (Q&A) feature has been a key piece of the Knowledge Card since August 2017. Since the answers can come from a variety of sources — including Google Local Guides — some marketers have expressed skepticism over this tool and have not utilized it to its fullest potential. A recent study shows that it has been "seriously underutilized" by the marketing community, with more than 90% of questions left unanswered.
There's never been a better time for you to add this to your to-do list and play an active role in managing this content.
Like online reviews, Google Q&A could have a considerable impact on your business's online reputation. Similar to monitoring and responding to reviews (and replying to questions and comments on social media channels and community forums) you will want to actively manage this feature to ensure you're providing searching consumers with the most accurate information about your brand. The last thing you need is for false information about your business to spread because someone provided an incorrect answer to a question that your team could easily have resolved.
Respond to all questions — and do it fast.
Don't think you'll be judged on how timely your responses are? Think again. Quickly posting a response to a question will make you the authoritative source, and will keep other users from posting incorrect information.
It's also smart to think about the up-vote. When a question is answered, Local Guides and other users can provide a thumbs upto an answer, which could lead the question to show up at the top of the Q&A section of the Knowledge Card. If you don't get there first, misinformation could spread.
Stay ahead of the game by providing answers to FAQs.
Take a proactive approach to your Q&A strategy by creating a list of frequently asked questions about your business, and providing answers to them from the outset.
You might be thinking, "I have FAQs on my website. Can't my prospective customers check that page?" In theory, yes — but if an answer to their question appears directly in search results, they're unlikely to seek out your FAQ page to confirm the facts before they move on to their next click. Of course, it's still a good idea to have those FAQs on your website, too. Keeping them consistent and easy to find will help customers and search engines trust that the information you've provided in your FAQs is accurate and up to date everywhere there appear.
Start by thinking through some common places you receive questions. What do customers ask when they call your business? Or message you on social media? Or reach out through the contact page on your website? What questions are included on your website that could easily be lifted and included on Google Q&A?
Some questions to consider:
What are your hours of operation for a particular location?
If you're in the restaurant industry, do you offer gluten-free options? Where can a customer find your daily specials?
Does your business accept online appointments or reservations?
If you're a health system, which of your providers are accepting new patients? What types of insurance do they take?
How many locations does your business have?
Posting diverse questions and detailed answers can help to improve your business's reputation and build trust with prospective customers.
Keep customers top of mind.
When creating your list of FAQs, put yourself in your customer's shoes. How would they ask a question? Write your questions conversationally, and answer in a professional tone that's aligned with your brand voice.
Reminder: Google Q&A isn't the forum for marketing-speak, or to promote aspects of your business. The point is to answer questions and provide helpful, accurate information to searching consumers.
Ducking out of this responsibility isn't an option, so you might as well get out there and embrace Google Q&A as another key way to manage your online reputation.
And don't forget about managing your brand's reputation with a strong reviews strategy. Watch our webinar to learn how brands like Denny's manage their online reputation.