Until recently, when customers searched for your business on Google search and maps, they'd only see a basic listing. Now, with the new Google My Business Posts feature, you can share relevant and timely information—like events, specials and new products—that can attract customers to your business.
“In addition to editing hours, posting photos and responding to reviews, business owners can now share relevant details that might be exciting to potential customers," says Angelina Darrisaw, founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach who leads Google My Business workshops. “This new function offers a great way to give customers valuable insights into your business."
Google My Business Posts offer business owners a great opportunity to get their messages in front of new and existing customers, believes John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, a digital marketing agency.
“Business owners have come to understand that search is becoming an increasingly important part of a customer's journey," says Lincoln. "When people search for products and services and [home] in on a company they like, they can now see Google posts with recent marketing messages."
Updates are in real time and business owners can start posting right now, adds Bradley Shaw, owner of SEO Expert Bradley Shaw, a digital marketing and online consulting company. “Posts can be created on-the-go using the Google My Business Android and iOS apps or via a website."
Benefits of Google My Business
Google My Business Posts can bridge a gap between search and social, believes Steve Hammer, president of digital marketing agency RankHammer.
“Social is great once you've acquired customers, but search is very often the place people get started," Hammer says. "Google Posts is ideal for customers just discovering a business or those looking for the latest information. It features the business owner's voice, which adds richness to results and can be a compelling user benefit. It also increases the odds of repeat searches."
—Nick Leffler, owner, Exprance
The posts let you share time-sensitive information in a timely manner, adds Darrisaw. “Timing is a key If you're having an event or changing hours for a special occasion. Posts are a great way to inform your customers about the updates right when they have the intent to visit your business."
The feature can also help businesses reach local customers. “Now, instead of a generic business profile, posts drive customers to unique calls to action, such as visiting your place of business or attending a special event," Nick Leffler, owner of Exprance, a digital marketing company. "Every post can also have an image, which helps draw attention to it."
Google My Business Posts can be useful to companies with seasonal offers, believes Matthew Ganzak, who provides online marketing training to entrepreneurs through his company Scale Up Academy.
“You can set up a post that links to a holiday promotion," he says. “Before, if you had a promotion you wanted to run and get into the search engines, you'd have to spend money on Google Adwords."
In order to take advantage of Google My Business Posts, you must be a verified business on Google My Business.
Google My Business Posts are also geared toward businesses with a local presence. The companies that stand to gain from posting are brick-and-mortar businesses with a retail or restaurant presence, or businesses that serve specific local areas. The feature may not be as useful if your business is primarily online and serves a wide audience.
Currently, the photo-cropping feature on Google My Business Posts doesn't seem to be consistent, adds Hammer.
“The minimum recommended size is 720 x 720 pixels, but I've had the bottom of images get cut off, and I've also had problems with extra, undesirable space on the sides of pictures," he says. "At this point, I'd suggest just using square images with a bit of extra space around them."
Effectively Using Google My Business Posts
To use the Google My Business Posts function, look for the new posts tab on the left-hand side of your Google business account. Then click and create posts using images and succinct 100 to 300 word descriptions.
The following tips can help improve your posts' results:
- Use attention-grabbing images. Consider posting high-quality, relevant photos instead of stock photos and blurry images. “Keep in mind that in many cases, the photo is your first impression," says Hammer.
- Post a clear call to action: Be transparent about what you want customers to do. Spell out if you want them to come in, call, use a coupon code or check out a new product. “Keep it simple and only ask customers to take one action," suggests Leffler. “Don't tell people too much in each post, because that will just frustrate and confuse them."
- Keep the offers fresh and up to date. “This is a not a set it once and never return," says Ganzak. “Be mindful of your active promotions. Have someone logging in regularly to check that offers are up to date."
- Avoid excessive abbreviation. Use expressions like "buy one, get one free" rather than "BOGO," suggests Hammer.
- Realize this isn't SEO. You're not trying to rank in searches—you're offering customers added benefits and more information about your company. “Putting in a bunch of keywords isn't going to help you get noticed. It will just read like junk and turn off potential customers," says Hammer.
- Refrain from using the function like Twitter. Avoid using the function as the main line of communication between you and your clients. There are better tools for that.
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