On October 8th, The Keyword (Google’s Official Blog) announced that Google+ is shutting down. Building up to end of Google Plus, Google recently revealed a security breach they discovered back in March 2018 contributed to the decision to phase out Google+.
Ben Smith, Vice President of Engineering over at Google had this to say about the internal review of the Google Plus security breach they kept hidden for months:
“The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.”
Google Plus Shuts Down August 2019
He also glosses over how Google+ just wasn’t performing to user or maker expectations in the announcement. He said all the right words, but the underlying message seemed clear: Google+ is trailing far, far behind other leading social media networks and Google isn’t willing to through more money at it.
Maybe we should have seen this coming when Google separated Google My Business dependencies on Google+ accounts for Google My Business account set up and descriptions? We’ll never know, but here are the facts: Google+ is phasing down and will be gone August 2019.
And good riddance because there is a more effective way to promote your business with Google – for free and with less work. It’s called Google Posts, and you need to take a closer look at how you can leverage this Google My Business tool.
Advantages of Using Google Posts
Google Posts is a micro-blogging Google My Business dashboard feature which displays your short-form on your Knowledge Panel and business listings on search engine results. If you were using Google+, you shared content (yours and others) with the hopes that someone would see it and find their way back to your website.
Reach Your Target Market with Google Posts
Google Posts are a better way to bring targeted search engine users from Google (where the majority of buyers’ journeys start) directly to your website. A year into this feature and still very few local businesses are leveraging this FREE Google My Business feature to promote their businesses. That means that adding Google Posts to your marketing mix gives you a fast and free advantage over your local competition.
You no longer need to put time into building a following or joining groups on Google+ because with Google Posts you will reach a greater audience of customers interested in your brand who do not follow you on social media. Posts offer instant publication of your marketing and reputation messaging with little effort – at no cost.
Improve Your Online Reputation with Google Posts
Managing your online reputation is now easier with reputation management software, but some of your online reputation is made up of what other people are saying about your business online. Even though you can respond to Google Reviews, you have little control over what customers write. And you can monitor online review sites and social media mentions, but you can’t change what’s been posted.
Google Posts help you create your ideal online reputation by giving you a free tool to promote your business with content and messaging you control. Reach customers with the information they need right now to persuade them to pick your business.
Do you have a sale coming up? Have an event coming up? A promotion code for military members? Half-priced breakfast on Mondays? Senior discounts? Price match? Use only organic ingredients? Google Posts give you the opportunity to persuade customers as they find your Google My Business listing while researching the best place to make their next purchase.
Using Google Post to Promote Your Business
Google Posts were introduced as a way to share fresh content with people who found your business through Google Search. This free Google My Business feature lets you create posts with content you want displayed to customers when they find your business on Google.
Google Posts are meant to be used to show search user what is going on with your business right now. Each post you create is removed from search results after seven days, or after the event date, you specify if you are posting an event. That might sound like a restriction, but it’s actually a benefit that ensures that only the latest and greatest information of your choice is displayed with your business listings.
Quick List of Google Posts Specs & Best Practices
Character Limits: Only the first 80-100 characters will show in the Post so make those characters count and preview the Post to make sure your sentence isn’t cut off.
Headlines: Write headlines that make the reader want to click through. Think of it as an ad to inspire action.
Call to Action: Tell the viewer what to do next. “Free Download” or “Learn How to” or “Order Now” are clear CAT’s that minimize the decisions the audience needs to make.
Image Size: The best image size is 750 x 750. Anything smaller than 250 x 250 won’t be accepted. Preview the post to make sure the image appears as intended.
Post Often: Share daily specials and current promotions to keep customers up-to-date on your offers.
Multiple Post: If you have more than one post, the newest one will display first and older post show in a carousel format. Users can scroll through up to 10 posts, but only the first two can be fully seen without scrolling.
No More Google+… What do I do now?
Here is what you need to do next: Set a schedule to posts the latest updates on your business. Currently, there is no way to schedule posts in advance, but Google My Business will send you an email to remind you that your current posts are expiring.
The most important thing to remember is to think about the intent of the customer when drafting your posts. Think about what they are searching Google for and what you can post to persuade them to click through to your website.