What is a Local Guide?
In 2016 there were around 5 million Local Guides. There are now over 120 million Local Guides worldwide.
Google launched the Local Guide initiative in 2015 in an effort to continually expand its service offering, the idea being to attribute a certain status to all Internet users who have submitted at least one review, score or photo or have suggested an edit to a Google My Business page. This serves two purposes as far as Google is concerned. The first is to help improve Google My Business listings with high-quality content that is relatively recent and above all reflects the reality, since this information is submitted by consumers and not by the business itself. The second purpose it serves is to create a community just like Facebook or Instagram.
The gamification of Google
Google decided to try and gamify this new function to encourage Internet users to submit more and more content. There are, in fact, 10 Local Guide levels, In order to move up a level you have to earn points, and in order to earn points, you simply have to post reviews, add photos or videos, add new places and so on. There are 9 different ways to earn points, as shown in the screenshot below. Adding a place, for example, will earn you 15 points, leaving a review will earn you 10 and simply awarding a score will only earn you 1. Level 1 is reached by completing a single action. Earn 15 points to reach level 2. Earn 100,000 points to reach level 10, etc.
What are the benefits of moving up through the Local Guide levels?
Internet users can earn their first badge starting at level 4. These badges make our posts more visible.
They will also get to enjoy certain privileges such as early access to new Google features and exclusive partner offers.
Google has also been organising the Local Guides Summit, to which the American giant invites the best contributors from around the world, since 2016. The 2017 edition of the event brought together the top 150 Local Guides from 62 countries, far more than the 75 participants from 37 countries the previous year.
What does this mean where businesss are concerned?
As previously stated, reviews left by Local Guides with a badge (level 4 or higher) are more visible. As far as businesses are concerned, then, it is important to respond to reviews left by these Internet users to avoid having a bad review that has gone unanswered displayed at the top of their Google My Business listing.
The image above shows a level 5 Local Guide badge on the first comment and a level 7 on the second, with these then appearing immediately on a listing with 417 reviews.
Last but not least, being a Local Guide gives you the exclusive right to answer questions asked by Internet users on Google My Business listings using Google's new Q&A function,
As you can see above, your customers will help you to answer questions from other potential customers. For the purposes of nurturing your online reputation, it can be worth having a Local Guide within your company to be able to answer all the questions your consumers ask.
Partoo's Review Management tool allows you to reply to all comments on your multiple Google My Business listings directly via the Partoo interface and get your e-reputation strategy off to a good start.
Please do not hesitate to contact your Customer Success Manager or Partoo support if you would like to know more.