If you want potential customers to get a 360-degree, panoramic view of your brick-and-mortar business when they click on any of your listings in Google, its new Business Photos campaign makes its listings for business more interactive. To that end, the search giant is pairing its own certified “Trusted Photographers” with businesses that want to show off their interiors to the public.
While including these photos in your Google Maps listing and GooglePlaces page is extremely helpful for someone wanting to findout moreabout your business, it will really matter in your search engineresults. When someone does a search and your listing comes upfirst,Google pinpoints the business on a map, offers its existing street viewphoto, and gives the option to look inside the business if interiorpictures exist.
Hiring a Trusted Photographer
To get started, goto this page, select a Trusted Photographer, and hire them.Google certifies photographers but lets them set their own prices. Thephotographer will get you to fill out aservice agreement, which spells out that while you own theimages, you are licensing them to Google for its use.
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If you want to hire one of Google’s Trusted Photographers, you may bewaiting a while. The city selection is a bit thin, as are the currentnumber of photographers. If there is no Trusted Photographer in yourcity, applyhere and Google will notify you when one becomes available.You can apply to have your business photographed anywhere in the world.
Once you hire a Trusted Photographer, you don’t have a final say on howthe photos will look on Google’s Web site. Blur out employees’ facesandother items if you have privacy concerns once the picturesare onGoogle by hitting the “Report a Problem” button under the image inquestion.
You can embed the photos and panoramas on Facebook, your company Website, and your Google+ page by followingthe instructions here.
A Trusted Photographer’s snapshot ofthe program
I spoke to one of the Trusted Photographers on the list, Bryan Tan of Bryan Tan Photography.Google contacted him back in November to be a part of the pilotprogram, and he’s had a lot of interest from businesses. So far, he’sphotographed a few restaurants that haven’t gone on the site yet, ahair salon, and a metaphysicalantique shop.
While Trusted Photographers quote each business individually for photo rates, the price is largely based on square footage and how cluttered the space is. The more panoramas a photographer has to shoot, the higher the price. But businesses with a larger square footage shouldn’t be afraid, says Bryan.
“An auto body shop with a 7,000 square-foot shop contacted me to seewhat the cost would be, and I priced them the same as a 1,000square-foot restaurant because I only needed to take one panoramic shotof their wide-open shop space.”
Bryan also said that the Trusted Photographer program isn’t forbusinesses that like to control every aspect of their brand image,since they have no say over which pictures end up on Google’s listings.Instead it’s for businesses in industries where physical appearancematters, such as a restaurant or a hair salon.
Google’s Business Photos make a great opportunity for exposure,particularly if you have an attractive restaurant or beautifullydesigned showroom that you want to show off.
To sweeten the deal, Google is offeringa $100 incentive for free AdWords promotions to help smallbusiness owners offset the cost of hiring one of its approvedphotographers.
Becoming a Trusted Photographer
If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a Trusted Photographer,signup here. Google isn’t publicizing the requirements to get itsstamp of approval, although it does talk about the technologiesand techniques in which a Trusted Photographer is trained. ATrusted Photographer not only needs photographic acumen, but thetechnical expertise to upload files in the correct format and layout.
Tan confirms that the photographic methods used are similar to maknigreal estate panoramas, althoughusing proprietary Google software.Google’s tools are free its Trusted Photographers, and there’s nocharge to be part of the program.
Although Google only offers the Trusted Photographers program in theU.S., the company said it would expand the service to Toronto if enoughCanadian businesses start requesting it.