Can Google My Business Posts Help Franchises?
As you may have heard, Google has released posting capabilities though Google My Business.
You may be thinking this sounds like another attempt by Google to make themselves a social media giant in the never-ending battle with Facebook, right? Shouldn’t they have just stopped after Google+ was deemed a failed experiment? Maybe, maybe not. But this latest development actually is different. Here’s why.
Google Plus and Google My Business Posts
Google has taken steps to simplify the search results, and make them more relevant, including less PPC ads, knowledge graph results, quick answers results, and less map listings (snack pack).
Some of these changes have limited opportunities for retail locations to increase their local presence in search results. Google My Business Posts swings the pendulum back in the other direction. It allows a business owner to directly control what search users will see for their business during a search.
I tested the new functionality by publishing a post for my local church. The functionality for posting is really quite simple with the exception of centering images and getting images that meet the proper format guideline (JPF or PNG files that are at least 250 pixels tall and wide). It makes it somewhat challenging to get images to display well in both the full mobile view and the desktop search results view. Desktop cuts the images weird, but mobile is much more intuitively presented:
Since knowledge graph results typically show for brand searches instead of discovery type searches (e.g. if I had searched “church Broomfield” the results on the right would not appear) this is more of a brand-awareness and brand-control play rather than a play for increased ranking on discovery terms that might help bring new customers.
It is, however, a rather unique opportunity to take up more space on the search results page, grab the attention of the searcher, convert a CTA conversion, and bring awareness to an offer or event. Posts publish instantly, which provides an immediacy factor that has not been available in Google organic search results in the past.
Google My Business Posts and Franchise Systems
Employing Posts on Google My Business as a strategy is a no-brainer for SMBs, and currently the posting capabilities are only available for individual business locations.
Although the feature is available in bulk, Google My Business accounts posting cannot be done in bulk and needs location-level content to be created and posted for each Google My Business profile.
This is not ideal for a franchise system with a centralized marketing strategy. Bulk-posting capabilities in the Google My Business API are not yet available, but once they are, watch out! Let the fun begin multi-location retailers; and look for integration into the LOCALACT local marketing platform.
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