Did you know that your Google Business Profile has a social media post feature? Posts can help optimize Business Profiles if used strategically. While business posts look and feel like other social media platforms’ content, don’t be deceived. Their nature, purpose, and behavior are vastly different from other social posts.
What (and where) are Google Business Profile posts?
Posts are located in the business’ Google Business Profile. Here’s how a user comes across them:
1.) In a Google search for “tires,” the map section presents tire service shops.
2.) The user clicks on the “Tires Plus” option, and then the screen expands (the blue arrow and box depicts the “Google Business Profile” for Tires Plus):
3.) To see a post in this profile, the user must scroll to the bottom of the profile. The user will then see the post section of the profile, which will look like the example below
Note: there’s one post and then a button to see the history of posts:
In the Tires Plus case, they haven’t posted in the last week, so the profile has a post section, but NO posts are currently visible:
If the user clicks through to see previous posts, they’ll get a limited scrolling history which looks like this:
Bottom line: The post section has a value, and it’s not to keep in touch. It’s to add conversion information to the profile when consumers dig deep to learn about a business.
How are Business Profile posts different from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter?
Reviewing the difference between the posts featured in Google Business Profiles and those found in the traditional social media models will aid in examining the difference between the two.
- No Followers – Business Profiles are not “followed” by anyone. Therefore, there’s no user feed to populate posts. Posts are viewed only through several clicks and scrolls deep in your business profile.
- Compare that to the Facebook model, for example, where a user likes your page, allowing posts from your profile to populate the customer’s feed, ensuring that posts are seen.
- No Repetition – Because Business Profile posts are only seen during a search query, viewers receive no repetition of content. It’s only viewed during an exploration of a Business Profile after a search query session.
- No History – As seen above, Business posts appear on the profile for a short period, and then they are relegated to a “previous updates” wasteland. The only people finding the post history are those digging deep. At any rate, only 1-3 posts appear at a time. If nothing has been posted in the last week, your profile might not display an “updates” section.
- Top of the Funnel vs. Middle of the Funnel – Most social media strategies aim to stay in front of consumers and build relationships over time. These strategies assume that consumers know a business and continue to put content in front of them over time to increase the know, like, and trust factors. That’s a MOFU or middle of funnel strategy. Google posts are a top-of-funnel strategy because they are only seen by searchers actively querying and investigating the search query results. Essentially, new prospects are stumbling upon a Business Profile when they interact with a post for the first time.
- New Prospect Audience – New prospects have wildly different messaging needs than audiences with some relationship with a business. There are only so many variations of the right first message for a prospect that just discovered a company. New eyes are trying to discern if offerings meet their needs, if the price is right, if a business is special, if other people satisfactorily preceded them, etc.
- Actively Engaged reader – The consumers reading Google Business Profile posts are actively investigating a business. They are not passive readers glancing through a Facebook feed. They are on the hunt trying to “go, buy, or know” right now, and they are comparing convenience, price, specialty, and social proof to make a decision. Here is the place to differentiate a business’ offerings and close the deal. Sell vs. engage.
Static vs. Changing – There are only so many strong messages that tip the balance in your favor. Find eight of the strongest, most compelling, convincing messages and stay with them. Variety is not the strategy in Google Business Profile posts. In the days of the consumer “Yellow Pages,” AAA Plumbing would keep a static ad that described the best features and a call to action.
- 24-hour emergency service
- Family-owned & operated
- 50 years in business
- Best rating with BBB
- Your first service call is FREE
Business Profile posts should provide a little more flexibility than a Yellow Pages ad, but the point is that when finding a solid message, stay with it and convert active prospects.
Does posting help your profile?
A solid posting strategy for your Google Business Profile increases the profile’s local authority in several ways:
– Regular posting demonstrates activity and updates to the profile, which boosts the profile’s relevancy in the search engine’s formula and
– The post’s content (such as an offer or highlighting a little-known service) creates a conversion point that lures the prospect deeper into the sales funnel. Posts mainly feature two types of consumer content: prospect conversion and customer updates.
Prospect conversion – the main focus of a profile post is to promote special offers to move a prospect closer to a buying behavior (just like an ad). Since the Google Business Profile appears after a search query, the content posted to a profile is considered top of the funnel marketing activity (seen by new prospects).
Compare that to traditional social media like Facebook, which is viewed as a nurture strategy lower in the marketing funnel, and you’ll find that the content strategy is quite different.
Once an ad/offer post converts, please don’t change it. Try testing new variations, but keeping the post the same will allow new prospects to see specific information in a certain order. Unlike Facebook posts, where the content varies widely and is presented in no particular order, Google business posts cycle through a small number of conversion-focused messages.
Additionally, the profile automatically removes the posts after seven days. There’s no scrolling history of what was posted previously, meaning a business can confidently re-post their best content over and over for all the fresh prospects coming through your funnel.
Customer Updates – occasionally, established consumers will search a business on Google, so use the post space to provide essential updates like changes in holiday hours or upcoming events. The pandemic is an excellent example of the need to broadcast changes in business operations, and businesses from all industries used the profile posts to communicate new programs like curbside pickup options, etc.
The best starter strategy for posting is to optimize and re-use approximately 8-12 posts, not counting any seasonal or special events that a business may want to promote. Experts agree that there is no penalty for reusing content, that well-structured offers rarely need refreshing, and profiles attract new prospects every day who require the same messaging- not new, not fancy. After all, business cards or signage isn’t created new every day.
Display in the Three Pack – If written content in posts matches a search query used by someone using Google, there’s a chance that those keywords will be pulled into the search result and presented to the user. This placement is called a ‘justification,’ and there are various types.
This is what a post justification would look like:
But shouldn’t I be concerned with fresh content?
Fresh content is way more important at the bottom of the funnel when nurturing a relationship and keeping customers informed between purchases. Fresh content is also important where subscribers and visitors can see the whole repository of a brand’s content and judge whether they have a lot or lack content. For example, a YouTube channel with three old videos doesn’t reflect well on educational efforts. However, at the top of the funnel, when a consumer sees an ad on the side of a bus, they don’t wonder if there are new brand messages underneath that one.
How often should I post to optimize my efforts?
Once per week is sufficient. Posting more often to a listing buries previous content and diminishes engagement potential on each post. If posting occurs less than once a week, posts will be moved off the profile, and the updates section will be empty, representing a missed opportunity.
(Some posts types stay pinned to the profile longer, but the general rule of thumb is once per
So, what eight posts should I consider for my strategy?
Best post types differ by industry, but once a winning conversion message is identified, stick with it. In general special offers, event information, and new product offerings work well.
A post will receive twice as many clicks when it has a title that is upper/lower case. Use emojis and photos with text. Original photography works better than stock photos.
Try these tactics:
- Posts about specials or discounts. For example, “call today and get a free side with every entree.”
- Posts containing a call-to-action. For example, include “Contact us today” in the image or post title.
- Posts containing a sense of urgency. For example, highlight same-day appointments for a dentist.
- Posts about a business’ most popular product or service.
- Posts about products and services that consumers wouldn’t necessarily know are provided. For example, “We offer financing.”
- Posts about upcoming events or opportunities. For example, “Don’t forget to reserve a spot for the Mardi Gras wine flight dinner.”
- Posts about updates like COVID protocols. For example, “Now, free curbside pickup.”
- Posts that differentiate a business. For example, “3rd year in a row, voted #1 Real Estate Company in the valley.”
Learn which posts work best for your business profile and stick with them. Test, refine, and repost 8-12 of your most successful and relevant posts.