Posts, which quickly became known as Google Posts in digital communities, are a Google My Business feature launched a little earlier this year. They provide a way for small businesses to promote events, special offers or anything else they want to shout about, via their free Google My Business listing.
What are Google Posts?
You may have seen them already. They’re most easily visible when you carry out brand searches on mobile devices. On desktop you need to click on the business name on the extended local pack page to see them (as below).
The purpose of this blog post is to highlight this feature, explain how you can create posts of your own and why you should move this up your list of priorities.
This may well be the first in a new series of posts about underused Google My Business features, but more on that later.
Why is it a good idea to publish Posts?
- They’re incredibly prominent, both on mobile and desktop devices
- They won’t cost you a penny to create, assuming you have access to the words and pictures
- They can drive traffic to your website
- They’re designed to be shared
- They exist in a space where searchers are looking to make a decision and are therefore potentially very impactful
- You can measure successes, and failures, really easily
How do I publish a Post?
The beauty is that it’s so straightforward.
Login to your Google My Business listing – if you don’t have one, read our digest of their guidelines to ensure your business is eligible and that you create the right listing, and then claim yours. Look for Posts on the left hand side of the dashboard, which at the time of writing had a large blue flag alongside it (as above).
Once you’ve decided what it is you want to shout about, you need to prepare your image. Of course this should entice and attract clicks. The jury’s out over the best size for these, I’ve tried 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios for mine with equal success.
You’ve got up to 300 words to say what you want to say and you can add a link to content on your website. Apparently you can add animated gifs now as well as images.
What’s the catch?
There isn’t one as such, except that Google will remove your Post after a week, unless it’s promoting an event which hasn’t happened within that timeframe. So you’re going to have to make this a regular part of your weekly schedule if you want to keep promoting your business in this space.
Why aren’t businesses using it?
Well some are, but an awful lot aren’t. At the time of writing not one restaurant in my hometown of Haywards Heath, independent or chain, was using this facility to promote their offerings.
It might be that businesses don’t think the effort to create Posts is rewarded, but all I’d say is try it for yourself. You’ll be able to measure the success of any Posts you create through the awesome Insights provided via your Google My Business dashboard.
Plus there’s the first to market benefits. Your Posts are really going to stand out if hardly anyone else is at the party. The party started in in earnest in July 2017 by the way, so where is everyone??
Which businesses should be using Posts?
Any that have events or promotions to promote! If your business is writing blog posts for example, this is another way to promote them. I’ve updated a post I published previously about promoting your content to reflect this.
Add ‘creating Google Posts’ to your regular promotional schedule or to do list. Set yourself reminders because as mentioned, previously published Posts will disappear and you don’t want to leave this valuable real estate vacant. Google will send you an email reminding you, a bit like the one above.
In addition I’d recommend you track your Google My Business Insights regularly to asses which Posts performed better than others. You may decide there’s an optimum number to publish – you can have up to 10 in your carousel, but we like having just one or two and changing them regularly.
And that’s about it. Go forth and Post. If you really haven’t got the time you could talk to us about your business and we’ll devise and publish some Posts for you.
Main image by sasint