How to Utilize Google Posts

LOCAL SEARCH & SOCIAL MEET WITH POSTS FROM GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

 

 

GOOGLE POSTS OVERVIEW

Introduction and Uses

Officially rolled out worldwide in June of this year, Google Posts are social media-like updates that appear in search results or in Maps when a business’s Knowledge Graph is displayed. Shared through the Google My Business interface, Posts enable local business owners and marketers to share updates for searchers to engage with and view.

With the intention of keeping searchers within its results pages or in the Maps interface, Google has introduced Posts as a way to engage users who are looking for more information about a local business. Rather than directing to a Facebook page or Twitter account, which can take mobile users into the social networks’ native applications, Google is enabling business managers to update searchers with information around the business, its products & services, current promotions, events, and sales in the same interface as where they can find directions, click to call, or view hours of operation.

It is important to note that Posts are separate from Google+, which remains operable but has been deprioritized by Google and Alphabet. Where G+ was intended to serve as a social network that relied on active users, Posts help businesses communicate with searchers directly in the results page.

Technical Specs for Google Posts

With a 7-day lifecycle, Posts are intended for sharing timely updates with information valuable to searchers. Posts must be between 100 and 300 words, though only the first 100 characters will display within the Knowledge Graph. Being cognizant of truncation and sharing the most important information within those first 100 characters is crucial to delivering a high-quality Post.

In addition to the required word count, updates can include an image for the Post preview. Google recommends a 750×750 px .jpg or .png file, with 250×250 px being the minimum dimensions for sharing. Video files may also be selected; however, animated GIFs are not currently supported.

Brand managers sharing Posts may also elect to add a call-to-action button. The Google My Business dashboard currently features four different CTA buttons that enable searchers to complete a task in just one tap. CTAs supported by Google Posts include:

  • Reserve
  • Sign Up
  • Learn More
  • Buy

A Google My Business profile can feature up to 10 individual Posts, automatically displaying in order of newest to oldest in a sliding carousel format. After a 7-day lifespan, Posts are no longer visible to searchers and are archived in the Google My Business account.

How to Share a Post Through Google My Business

To publish a Post, brand managers and marketers must navigate to their Google My Business account on desktop or through the mobile application. From here, they can follow these steps to publish an update:

Share Posts on Desktop

  • Sign in to Google My Business and click Manage Location
  • Click Create Post, or click Posts from the menu
  • The “Create Post” screen will appear where admins will see options to add photos, text, events, and a button to a Post
  • Click each field and enter the relevant information
  • Once a Post has been created, click Preview to see the update
  • After review, click Publish in the top right corner of the screen

Share Posts on Mobile

  • Open the Google My Business app
  • In the bottom-right corner of the screen, tap the Create icon, then tap the Posts icon
  • The “Create Post” screen will appear where admins will see options to add photos, text, events, and a button to a Post
  • Tap each field and enter the relevant information
  • Once a Post has been created, a preview will be displayed
  • After review, tap Publish in the top-right corner of the screen

Once a Post has been published, it can be edited or deleted through the desktop or mobile interfaces. The Post will be immediately viewable to searchers in the Knowledge Graph or in Maps until its 7-day lifespan ends or until a specified event date has passed.

 

RECOMMENDED USES FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES + BRANDS

Post Promotion and Frequency

Depending on the business and the content available for promotion, daily updates to Google Posts can help ensure searchers are exposed to up-to-date information, offers, or specials. At a minimum, a weekly Post will ensure that there is content to be viewed or engaged with when a user is exposed to the business in the Knowledge Graph or in Maps.

To better understand how and why a business might use Posts, imagine marketing for a food truck. Because food trucks often operate with varying hours and travel to different locations, many owners rely on a web-based event calendar or social media updates to communicate their location and hours of operation to customers. Google Posts offers a better way for both the food truck manager and patrons to connect on where and when the truck will be serving when those customers search for information on Google.

Aligning with Social Efforts

Like social media, Google Posts are all about humanizing a business and communicating with potential customers. The primary difference between Posts and social networks like Facebook and Twitter is that updates in the search results do not require the business to amass a following, and instead are impacted by search volume.

To align Posts with regular social media efforts, a content framework should be developed or adapted to the channel, and Posts should be incorporated into regular content planning. Copy and images developed for social media can be repurposed for viewing in the Knowledge Graph; however, unlike regular social content, Posts on Google should be oriented to fit the mindset of searchers actively looking for information.

In this sense, Posts may require additional context as the searcher is familiar enough with the brand to be actively looking for information, but may not regularly receive updates. Knowing that a user may be looking to fulfill a micromoment (“I want to go, do, know, or buy”) when viewing a Post, the updates shared, and the CTAs appended to them, should attempt to match the intent.

From a process perspective, Posts will require a concerted effort, as each location within a Google My Business account must be managed independently. For businesses with only one location, this is simply the addition of another channel to keep in mind when publishing content. For businesses with multiple locations, regularly sharing Posts specific to each could be a more cumbersome task. Actively updating social media accounts and sharing Posts, however, will ensure that consistent and engaging content reaches customers across channels.

Measuring Toward Goals

Google My Business enables Post publishers to view basic awareness and engagement metrics while Posts are active and after they have been archived within the system. The metrics provided include views (the number of times a Post has been seen) and engagement (the number of times a searcher has clicked on a Post’s CTA button).

To accurately compare efforts between Posts and social media content, views can be measured against social content impressions, while Post engagement can be compared to clicks and website actions taken from social content. Social media engagement, such as likes, comments, shares, replies, or retweets, cannot be likened to any Post metrics provided by Google My Business.

 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR LOCAL SEARCH & GOOGLE POSTS

Potential for Paid Promotion

While it is unlikely that Google will introduce paid features exclusively for Posts, there is potential for Posts to be integrated into other advertising products. At SMX Advanced this year, the company unveiled a new ad product promoting businesses in local 3-pack Map results. Paid placements featuring Posts could include promotions or messages to better entice searchers to click the paid listing.

Voice Search Opportunities

Although Google has not indicated whether Posts will be integrated into voice search results, there is the potential for businesses to share greater detail when searchers are using a voice-search enabled device. Devices powered by the Google Assistant are currently able to access and provide local business information as it appears in the Knowledge Graph, including hours of operation, address, and phone number.

It is also possible that devices powered by the Google Assistant, including those on the Android operating system and Google Home, could yield Post-specific results. For example, the query, “Ok Google, what is happening at Nina Hale?” could potentially return a voice search result sharing the agency’s most recent Post. On devices without a screen, the Google Assistant could then prompt the searcher to follow the CTA option provided to complete an action.

FINAL TAKEAWAYS FOR MARKETERS

The introduction of Posts is further evidence of Google’s commitment to providing relevant content that meets searcher needs and answers their questions. The search engine continues to develop solutions that match the intent of users while providing businesses and brands with tools to engage their customers. Posts enable local businesses to align their search and social efforts, which also provides searchers with the content that is most relevant to them as they are looking for information about the business.

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