A micro-guide for multi-location marketers
From your hours and location to reviews and offerings, one of the first impressions your customers will have with you is on one of your local Google Business Profiles.
While it goes without saying that keeping your listings up-to-date and staying on top of customer reviews is critical for all of your profiles , businesses that go the extra mile and create a personalised local experience for each one will reap rewards.
So if you're a digital marketer managing the online presence for a multi-location business or an industry expert managing one location on behalf of your clients, one of the best ways to tackle this one is also the most underrated and underused of Google's many free tools: Posts.
Let's dive in. . .
If you're already posting regularly on location-based social platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, you may be wondering, why Google Posts and why now?
In a nutshell, Posts may follow a similar structure to the paid or organic content on your social media pages - however, they don't encourage two-way engagement or help increase followers.
Think of Posts as a free conversion booster tool - a place where your customers and prospects stop, pause, look around and decide whether to head to your website, your nearest location or call or message you.
And. . . because more than 50% of shoppers surveyed say they use Google to discover or find a new brand, posts are also an easy way to differentiate you from a competitor because they can help you:
Krystal Taing, Senior Manager, Solutions Engineering Americas at Lookup and Google My Business Gold Product Expert , recommends keeping the following in mind when creating Posts:
“Focus on driving action. There is so much going on within a Google Knowledge Panel for local businesses. Using a clean and eye-catching post that encourages users to take action will really help to stand out in a hyper competitive market. Don't overcomplicate the message - instead focus on simple messaging and develop an ongoing post calendar and cadence. "
Let's break this down further with 10 actionable ways to create posts that get noticed.
1. Keep the 5Ws in Mind with Offers
Stuck for ideas or don't know where to start? Before you craft the content for an offer, start by answering the following:
By covering off as many of these as you can, cutting down the text will be easier and you'll be sure to hit all the most important points.
2. Add Photos or Videos
If a picture is worth a thousand words, quality photos and short videos send a clear message instantly.
Posts that are supported by visually appealing content will naturally be more intriguing and higher-converting than text alone will.
Consider adding a range of high-resolution photos that give your prospects and customers a complete view of your brand: such as promotions, menus, services and staff.
The golden rule with images on Google Posts is that they look and feel authentic and current.
It may be tempting to add an interior or exterior photo of another location, but this is a big don’t.
Your customers won’t be impressed if they turn up to a location that doesn’t match their online impression of you.
Skip the stock images and heavy filters and shoot for a professional photographer to lend a hand where possible.
Here are some ideas to spur some inspiration:
Keep these specs handy for future reference:
3. Write for Action
Clear and concise content is a powerful tool for boosting engagement.
For the most impact, stick to one theme and guide your prospective customer along a seamless journey with instructions on what to do, where to go and when to do it.
The 5Ws as mentioned in item 1 will help you ensure the critical points are covered.
Craft posts by theme that can be easily spread across multiple Business profiles about:
Stuck for ideas? Here are some trigger questions to answer to brainstorm idea:
Text Examples (Maximum 300 characters)
4. Keep the Title Short ‘n Sweet
With only 58 characters up for grabs, your headline should pack a punch in five words or less.
Keep the 5Ws top of mind here again, along with these copywriting tips:
Also, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Many headlines follow tried and tested copywriting formulas. Here are some to help activate your writing powers.
5. Be Consistent
You added a post — yay! Now what?
Because search doesn’t sleep, it’s not a set it and forget it approach. It takes time to build momentum, so start small. For example, plan for one new post per week across a number of locations and then measure.
If you’re an Lookup customer using Engage, you can schedule your Posts across multiple locations for a specific time range. See ‘How to Create Posts for Multiple Locations’ at the end of this article for more information.
6. Say it With Emojis
When used wisely, emojis can invoke curiosity, emphasise an idea and make your content pop.
In a recent Moz article, local SEO expert Joy Hawkins, looked at 1,000 GMB Posts and found that posts with emojis outperformed posts that don’t.
Here’s an example of emoji’s done right by our customer Pets Place:
7. Use CTAs
While visibility is good, customer engagement is even better — so you can turn your visibility into clicks, calls, directions and conversations with customers.
Supply opportunities for customers to convert online with a CTA for each post.
CTAs increase your conversions and strengthen your digital presence.
Conversion links such as click-for-directions, click-to-call, website links, reservations/appointments, and online inventory links are just some of the direct engagement opportunities you can create for your brand to improve your scores.
8. Plug a Local Event
Consumers want to work with local businesses, and the pandemic has given small-and-medium sized businesses an advantage like they’ve never had before. But remember, local business doesn’t mean just a few locations.
Greg Sterling, Lookup's VP of Market Insights, notes that brands, such as Walmart, Home Depot, Target and Best Buy, also qualify as local businesses because their stores are present in specific communities and they sell predominantly offline (or used to).
So if you are a ‘local’ business, consider engaging with local customers by creating posts about how your business is participating in any special events throughout the year. This may create a sense of integration between your business location and the surrounding community.
9. Empower Your Local and Regional Managers to Post
Local store managers will give a local flavour to posts. When you work directly with the people who are on the ground with local consumers, you are able to give a more personalised interaction.
Takeaway: Empower motivated “ambassadors” on the local level who are willing to learn how to manage Posts – the store owner or operator can delegate ownership of the topics to an employee, which is also an incentivised development pathway for motivation.
10. Post at Scale, Too
To keep momentum going on Google Posts, it requires time and headcount.
If you’re looking to boost your engagement to build and connect with your online community across multiple locations, simply scheduling posts with broad messages will not be enough.
Look for a platform that allows you and other team members to post local content that is human-centric and engaging — as well as includes templates so that brand consistency remains intact across all your locations.
If you’re not using the Lookup platform or a platform that can automatically update your posts across multiple locations, you’ll need to update each listing manually. Follow the instructions in this Google Help Page.
If you're an Lookup customer or partner, using Engage you can easily create posts for multiple locations.