I wanted to share some recently introduced Google My Business features that a majority of local businesses are not yet using. They were discussed in details during the ‘office hours’ webinar hosted by Local Marketing Institute.
These new features can help you further promote your offers or content and encourage/enable new ways for users to interact with your business. So without further delay, let’s dig into these 3 new(er) features:
Google Posts are similar to Facebook posts, except that you need to log in to your Google My Business dashboard and then create a post in there.
The advantage is that your post will show up on the knowledge graph when people search for your business on the Google search engine.
In this post, you can promote blog posts, events, offers etc…
As you can see, a thumbnail of the image, dates, short description and a link to your website or landing page can all be included.
Keep In Mind:
- Posts will stay live for 7 days, after which they just get archived
- It will be shown on mobile (Android and IOS), Google maps, desktop and tablets
- Although there is no conclusive evidence, it appears that these posts can positively influence your business ranking on maps and organic search
Questions & Answers
This was a feature that was rolled out a couple of months ago. It allows users to ask a question which can be answered by anyone in the community and by the business owner.
To manage conversations, the owner needs to be logged into the associated Google account on an Android mobile phone or tablet. IOS devices do not have the ability to manage these conversations yet.
If you are signed in to that Google account on your Android phone/tablet, you will receive a push notification when someone asks a question or someone in the community responds to the question.
Just the way reviews show up, the name of the person who asks or answers the question will show up. If the user is a ‘Local Guide’, then that badge will show next to the person’s name. If the business owner responds to a question, it will show up as a response from the business.
Keep In Mind:
- Only Google maps on Android/tablet can be used to manage Q&A’s
- You have to be signed in to the respective Google account
- You get push notifications on mobile when people ask or answer questions
- Anyone can answer questions - answers will show up as answered by individuals name, individuals name (local guide), or the business owner
Business owners can login to the Google My Business dashboard and turn on messaging.
They can choose the phone number which will receive the messages if consumers choose to engage with the business in this way.
The option to message a business is, currently, only going to be visible to users who find the business listing via mobile web search. They will not see the option to message the business if they find the business on their desktops/laptops.
Interactions will be exactly the same as regular text messaging as the message from the user will reach the SMS app on the listed business phone number.
Keep In Mind:
- Use Allo (app by Google) if you want to separate personal texts from business texts. It will allow business texts to be directed to the Allo app.
- Enable if you can commit to reply within, at least, a day. Although, Facebook and Google want businesses to reply almost immediately - which is not always practical.
Note: If you are a dental clinic or a law firm, the Google My Business guidelines are slightly different than what they are for regular businesses. The features discussed above will still be applicable. But we had recently published a post to highlight some of these differences. Click here to read it.