Although there was no flashy roll-out ceremony like the company’s regular conferences, Apple has introduced a new platform that will help small business owners increase the visibility of their storefronts. Known as Apple Maps Connect, it’s a way for small business owners to list their locations in Apple’s standard navigation system.
Apple Maps has long allowed iOS users to locate points of interest and get directions to them from their devices. With Apple Maps Connect, business owners can now make sure that their business is listed and correctly identified within the system. Listings typically include the business’s name, phone number and address, but Maps Connect also lets business owners enhance their listings by linking to their website, Facebook page, Yelp page and Twitter account.
To create or update a listing, business owners can sign into the Maps Connect portal with their Apple ID and password. If you have an Apple product, like an iPhone or iPad, your Apple ID is the email address connected to your account. (If you don’t have an Apple ID, the Maps Connect homepage can also redirect you to the proper place to get one.) Once you log in, Maps Connect allows you to add your business by locating its existing listing in Apple’s database or by creating an entirely new profile if a listing does not already exist. Maps Connect also allows you to sign up for indoor positioning if your business is located within another building, such as a mall or an office building.
According to the Maps Connect help site, listings and edits are usually published in the Maps database within one week. Apple currently uses an automated phone call to verify that a physical business does exist at the address claimed by the user. Once you complete your business’s profile, you’ll receive an automated phone call at your business with a verification code that you’ll need to enter online.
At this time, Maps Connect does not serve home-based businesses, businesses without a physical address or businesses located outside of the United States. For most small businesses, though, Maps Connect is a valuable opportunity to reach consumers in the community on the devices and platforms they already use. To get started, visit www.mapsconnect.apple.com.
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