Google has been announcing (and re-announcing) the decline and ultimate demise of the Google Plus platform for quite some time. With the disappearance of the platform looking like it will actually happen later this year, some business owners are focused on what to do next. Many were still using the partially-defunct social platform for marketing purposes.
Google My Business (GMB) has been around for quite some time as a toolbox for local business owners who want to control their business listings. While the disappearance of Google Plus will no longer allow for a controlled social feed, the GMB platform does now have a place for posts — and you definitely need to use them.
What is a Google My Business Post?
The post section on the Google My Business listing actually launched back in 2016. It was initially reserved for political candidates and then in early 2017 was released to all business owners in 2017.
GMB posts are different than social media posts. When a person does a Google search and sees a business listing in the sidebar, they are often presented with quite a bit of information. In addition to address and contact information, visitors see Google reviews, questions & answers, and then posts.
Posts usually show on the business listing for seven days and then disappear. Because of this, it’s important to update them regularly as the most recent post won’t show on the listing indefinitely.
Posts are made from within the Google My Business listing manager. You need to optimize your posts with an image, sized 720 pixels wide by 540 pixels tall. Each post can also be enhanced with a call-to-action button.
Take a look at a few Google listings and you will find that quite a number of businesses are still not utilizing this space. So what can you do to make sure yours stand out?
One of the biggest mistakes people make with GMB posts is a lack of frequency. The space for a post on your listing will remain blank if you don’t post at least once a week. You can post more than once per week. Google will show one post in full, a partial view of the second post, and then an arrow to scroll to any additional posts that are still visible (up to ten).
There is currently no way to schedule GMB posts in advance. To compensate, set someone up (who is associated with your business) to stay on top of them regularly.
Your posts need to be authentic and personable. No one wants to see just another advertisement. Give your visitors a sneak peek at what you’re doing and what you have to offer; an incentive to click through and visit your website or ask for more information. Create posts that are timely and relevant. This isn’t another social platform, so don’t just copy what you’re doing on Facebook and other sites.
Stay On Brand
Even though you don’t want to completely copy what you’re doing on your social platforms, your message needs to be consistent. This means staying on brand in terms of your general message, voice, and style. You can certainly tailor your copy and images to the audience you think is going to find you by conducting a Google search, but the overall message can’t stray so far from your brand that your website looks like a foreign object when they click through.
Leverage the Call-to-Action Button
Most platforms only offer call-to-action buttons on posts if you’re paying for an ad. GMB posts allow for several different options, making it easy for your readers to do exactly what you want them to do in one simple click. You can ask them to learn more, reserve, sign up, buy, or get an offer; then include the link to the landing page you’d like them to visit. Keep your posts simple and you’ll be amazed at how much response you can get. Your visitors will click without even thinking of going back out to the web to see what your competition is offering first.
Optimize Your Images
The image size we mentioned above is important. Google will cut off your images and crop them funny if they aren’t tailored properly to the platform. Take a little extra time to make sure your images are sized properly so they have the best visual impact. Make sure your images are centered so you don’t end up with important info chopped off if Google does make an adjustment.
Above all else, remember this: imagery should grab a user’s attention as soon as they land on your listing. Your image will make a huge difference whether or not someone will click your call-to-action button.
Simplify Your Text
All GMB posts are shortened on the main search page. You have to click the post itself to expand the text, and there isn’t always a prompt to do so. This means you need to make the biggest impact in your first 100 characters to ensure your visitors are intrigued enough to explore more. Don’t create text walls; they just won’t work.
Track Your Posts
Tracking your GMB posts is just as important as tracking any other ad campaign or traffic driver you’ve implemented. Your GMB dashboard will show you how many times your post has been viewed as well as how many times a potential customer has clicked your button. You can also use custom URLs to track which website actions were a result of a visitor that came from your GMB listing.
As a local business owner with a Google My Business listing, it’s important to take advantage of every tool you’re given to make your profile stand out. The more complete your profile, including posts, the more your listing will stand when compared to your competitors.
Although it isn’t yet obvious, the activity you get on your business listing may at some point even impact your overall website ranking, too. Either way, it’s a good idea to implement any free tool you can if it results in customer engagement and interaction!