It’s been rumoured for a little while, but today we’ve received a flurry of emails from our favourite search engine asking us to sign up for their new feature, Google Posts.
With the overwhelmingly poor response to Google+ over the past few years, this seems to be Google’s newest effort in developing its place in the world of social media. Google has struggled in recent years to gain a stronghold in this space, with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn domination. Even Yahoo’s Tumblr has ‘outranked’ Google’s own blog platform, Blogger.
How useful is Google’s Posts likely to be?
Posts – an unofficial title for the new feature – will offer business to give brief, Twitter-style updates which will be displayed alongside search results for their business. It will give businesses a chance to provide custom, up-to-date content pieces and, almost certainly, it will give search users a richer experience.
It’s likely Google learned a lot from Google+, so this new feature will certainly have taken a lot of those lessons into consideration. What’s important to note here is that this is not a new social media platform, it’s an additional tool in the Google My Business toolbox.
What it will provide is a new method of engagement for customers, away from a business’ site. Click through rate is an important search metric and those interested in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will be well versed in the importance of having rich, relevant and compelling results in search. Posts will erode the barrier between the Google search results and your website by providing compelling, media-based content alongside the results. For most business, the key will be to share interesting and eye-catching graphics and post that represent the positioning of your brand.
How Do I Use Google Posts?
Emails have been sent out today to Google My Business customers, inviting them to start using the new feature. Don’t worry if you’re not signed up to Google My Business, though, you can sign up to take advantage of Posts at any time by signing up here (business.google.com) (if you haven’t done it already, it’s free and it’ll help boost your SEO value!).
Once you’re signed up, go into your business details on Google My Business and click ‘Posts’ on the left hand side – you’ll be able to create and manage your updates here. Why not search for ‘Umbrella Marketing Team’ and take a look at our updates?
What Sort of Content Do I Post?
For eCommerce businesses, the answer’s pretty straightforward – promote your products with punchy descriptions and compelling calls-to-action. You can add buttons to the post and link directly to individual products or categories.
For other businesses, share your products and services, communicate the spirit of your brand and encourage people to visit your website, download your content or contact you. Keep it branded and on message and bear in mind that the content and style is similar to the sort of things you would see on Twitter and other social media.
Umbrella Marketing Team’s Thoughts
We think it looks great: it’s simple and potentially highly effective, but how widely its used by businesses and the impact it has on search conversion remains to be seen. What’s clear is that Posts can be used to stimulate the conversation around your brand and create a real ‘buzz,’ which is great news, but given this is a business-only tool, it’s possible that Posts may develop into a ‘freemium’ service with some enhanced functionality eventually requiring users to pay for the promotion (this is essentially how Google makes its money).
We’re giving Posts a try as a business to see what benefits (if any) it bring to us. We’ll be particularly interested to see how it impacts on our website visits and engagement with content – definitely something we’d recommend you check your own website analytics for, too.