It seems that Google is not ready to leave the social media battleground yet. The company now wants you to think of Google Maps South Africa as more than just a business directory. However, it’s also a platform where you can engage and interact with customers. Google rolled out a feature last year that enables Android users to “Follow” businesses in the Google Maps app. This allows businesses to receive updates from places they like (which, evidently, is a way to fill the void left by Google Plus’s departure and replace the need to follow your business on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter).
Whether you’re currently running a sale, will be hosting an upcoming event, or launching a promotion, customers will see these updates in the “For You” tab – a section within Maps where Google shows personalised recommendations based on users’ preferences and favourite places.
Benefits of Google Maps South Africa
Customers previously had to search for or browse a business profile to read Google My Business (GMB) posts in the Knowledge Panel or Google Maps listing, but can now view all updates from followed businesses as one consolidated feed. This is how Google announced the functionality to Maps users:
Ever wandered by your favourite store just to find out you missed a great sale? Or maybe you’re always the last of your friends to find out about the new hot spots opening in town. With more than 150 million places on Google Maps and millions of people looking for places to go. We made two updates so, it’s even easier for you to keep up with the places you care about and find out about places coming soon.
If you’re a new business currently prepping for the launch, you can create a profile three months before the big day to help build awareness. The opening date will be highlighted in orange below the company name with the business profile featuring the address and websites. With this information also showing up in Google Search’s Knowledge Graph cards.
To take advantage of this feature, organisers must create a Business Profile in GMB, and post updates regularly so followers can stay in the know about what’s happening.
If you’ve used GMB posts in the past or intend to do so in the future, remember that just like Facebook or Instagram posts. You’ll want your content to stand out from the rest. This means making sure that your posts include engaging images and copy that is relevant to your followers.