Google Posts are basically an easy way for you to publish content directly to your brand’s Google Knowledge Panel. The Knowledge Panel is the box that appears to the right of the search field when someone seeks information about your business, like this:
If someone Googles your brand, this content will show up as part of your general business listing.
For anyone investing time and resources into a content marketing strategy, taking advantage of Google’s posting feature might seem like a no-brainer— it boosts your chances of getting your content in front of more eyes.
But if you’re already stretched thin, should you even bother posting directly to Google?
Is it right for your brand?
This post will take a look at how to use Google Posts so you can figure out how to use them efficiently and integrate them into your brand strategy. It will also provide some tips and tricks for reaping the benefits of Google Posts as part of your marketing strategy along with some Google post examples to get you started.
What are Google Posts and how do they work?
What exactly is the purpose of Google Posts? How can they help your brand meet your goals? With Google Posts, you can increase visibility and engagement with relatively minimal time and effort. These small snippets are a great opportunity to inspire readers to take action before they click over to your actual website.
Google initially rolled out the feature during the 2016 US election as a way for candidates to easily post their viewpoints directly into search engine results. These were dubbed “candidate cards.” Since then, Google has expanded the feature for businesses, but not every business can take advantage of it.
For example, you’ll need a verified Google My Business account and, at this point, hotels cannot make Google Posts.
The rest of you can now create several different types of posts, giving marketers greater control over what their audience sees in the Knowledge Panels for their brands. You can use Google Posts to highlight a broad range of content including:
- Product promotions
- Newsletter sign-ups
- General announcements
- Coupons and discount codes
It’s important for marketers to keep in mind that these posts are relatively short and temporary. They disappear after just seven days and your audience will only see the first 100 characters of your headline.
Event posts, however, won’t vanish until the date of the event passes.
Although they disappear from your Knowledge Panel, readers have a choice to click a link and view your previous posts:
Image Source: Google
On the plus side, this means you can incorporate the benefits of Google Posts into your marketing strategy without getting too weighed down developing new copy.
On the other hand, it might start to feel tedious coming up with fresh, albeit short, snippets all the time. This is especially true considering that you can’t schedule Google Posts–at least not yet.
What are the disadvantages and benefits of Google Posts?
Like many Google features, (so-long, Google Plus) it’s hard to say if Google Posts will simply vanish one day. Nonetheless, marketers who have the time might as well take advantage of Google Posts while they’re here, right?
Here are the general disadvantages and benefits of Google Posts so you can decide if they’re worth your time and energy.
Pro: Great for local brands to engage their audiences
Yes, these are global figures, but people are using searches like “near me” to find local listings.
The truth is, if marketers aren’t taking full advantage of Google My Business and their Knowledge Panel, then brands are missing out on a full range of ROI and traffic. Google Posts gives marketers more control over what readers see when they Google a listing.
Different people respond better to different types of content.
If you can get more actionable content in front of your audience before they even click your link, you might as well go for it, right?
Pro: They don’t require a huge investment.
It’s hard to argue against something that doesn’t cost anything.
That’s right: Google Posts is completely free.
As a marketer, your biggest investment time-wise will likely come from setting up your brand’s Google My Business accounts and getting verified.
But let’s be honest: you need to do that anyway to maximize your presence in local search results. So, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by starting there.
After all, search results deliver a better ROI than other marketing channels like Facebook.
Pro: Google Posts are shareable.
You might not think that readers would feel compelled to share a tiny 300-character post with their friends, but if you write actionable content with a great offer, they might do just that. This gives you a great opportunity to test out different strategies and see if anything sticks.
Either way, Google gives readers the option to share posts which translate into more possibilities for your content to reach more people – and that’s always a good thing.
Image Source: Google
Con: You can’t merge results with Google Analytics.
Google Posts allows you to track views and minimal clicks through the Google My Business Dashboard, but it surprisingly does not integrate with Google’s own analytics tracker. We hope this is an update they’ll make in the future.
Con: Keeping up with posting can become tedious.
With social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, your posts are fairly permanent unless you delete them. With Google Posts, they only stick around for seven days before vanishing into the internet void. To top it off, you can’t schedule posts: not through Google or third-party platforms. This means you must post in real-time, which benefits readers looking for relevant information, but can be a hassle for marketers.
Con: Google Posts don’t seem to affect your general rankings.
The jury is out on whether Google Posts affect your general search rankings. If they do improve rankings, the difference is probably pretty negligible.
On the other hand, Google loves websites that engage with its platform and publish content on a regular basis, so using the post feature could help you make the most of your overall SEO strategy.
How to benefit from Google Posts
Understanding how to use Google Posts is key to leveraging ROI. This feature is very different than social media posting, so it requires a little bit of background information to make the most out of your content.
Focus on high-quality images
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, you’ll need square images: 750 px by 750 px is perfect. Make sure the images are center-focused (kind of like Instagram) or you could end up with a bunch of material cut out. If you’re using Google Posts to promote products, now might be the time to invest in high-quality graphics to capture attention.
Incorporate Google Posts into your general social media strategy
Since you’ll be posting in real-time without the option to schedule, you’ll need to figure out a way to smoothly incorporate posting into your overall social media strategy. Consider putting out a few posts as you sit down to schedule your posts on other platforms. Set a date to post each week so you always have fresh content to engage with.
With a 100-character title and 300-character body, you need to put a strong emphasis on relatable and actionable copy.
Now isn’t the time to pump out a bunch of keywords and industry jargon: your content needs to provide immediate value to your audience.
Be straightforward with your CTA with phrases like “Download now”, “Claim deal”, or “Sign up”. Give your audience a sweet deal along with a savory picture – that’s really all you need.
This Google Post from Just Mind in Austin quickly demonstrates value and encourages action:
Image Source: Google
Use UTM Codes to Track Results
Since you can’t integrate Google Posts with Google Analytics, you’ll need another method to track results and determine your general ROI.
Don’t worry, this is easy to do because Google Posts allows you to insert custom links into your posts.
By using these codes, Google Analytics can figure out where your readers came from and what they did when they got to your website.
From there, you can figure out if your Google Post campaigns are working and A/B test different types of content.
This is how UTM insights show up in your Google Analytics:
Image Source: Pinterest
Google Post examples to get started
These Google Post examples from local businesses got it right.
This Detroit bakery highlights their upcoming Coffee Chat events:
Image Source: Google
This Google Post from New York’s Junzi Kitchen has a high-quality image and actionable language to encourage readers to order now.
Image Source: Google
What are Google Posts and are they worth the time?
This feature certainly isn’t the end all, be all solution to driving traffic to your brands’ websites. They are, however, easy to integrate with your general content marketing strategy.
Billions of people use Google every day to connect with local businesses so it’s important for marketers to make the most of their Knowledge Panel.
Understanding how to use Google Posts is key. If you can get more content in front of your audience before they even decide to click your link, why not take advantage of that?