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COVID-19 Google Posts: What You Need to Know

Google My Business is currently allowing multi-location brands to create mass Google posts about COVID-19 for all locations.

Over the last week, Google released a number of new features to help businesses keep customers up-to-date during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re here to help you understand the differences between these updates, so you can best implement the right features for your location listings.

Let’s start with the API update.

Google My Business API for Multi-Location Brands

For a limited time, the Google My Business API is allowing multi-location brands to create a mass Google Post about COVID-19 for all locations. Now brands can:

  • Share one, united message about COVID-19 across all location listings.
  • Push “publish” once. No more posting on each individual GMB location, which eliminates errors and off-brand messaging.
  • Post one Google Post about COVID-19 as an Event, Call to Action, or Offer. This API call is highly customizable, allowing you to post the update in the type of Google Post format you prefer

So how exactly can you implement one message across all of your GMB listings? This feature is available through the Google My Business API, which means you’re going to need some developer help. Developers with the right authentication and credentials may plug into this API. For the full Google My Business API tutorial, visit the Google guide called “Create Posts on Google.”

Have questions about implementing or simply need someone to do it for your multi-location brand? GPO can help!

“COVID-19 Update” Google Post Type

Google My Business also released a new “COVID-19 Update” Google Post type. According to Search Engine Journal, this text-based post displays at the top of a business’s profile on desktop and mobile.

There are a few differences between the COVID-19 Google Post type and the API for multi-location businesses:

  • The COVID-19 post type displays text only. You cannot include an image.
  • With the COVID-19 post type, you must manually post on business locations one at a time. You cannot distribute this post via the API.
  • The COVID-19 post type remains pinned at the top of the Google Post section, even if you publish more Google Posts.
  • The COVID-19 post is more prominently displayed on mobile search compared to the API post.
  • Both posts last for 14 days, like a normal Google Post. Google may extend this, depending on the status of the pandemic in the coming weeks.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of a mobile search result that displays a Google Post created by the API for multi-location brands (left) and the COVID-19 Google Post type (right).

Which post is right for your brand?

The answer for your brand truly comes down to the number of locations your business has and the resources available.

Enterprise, multi-location brands that have access to developer resources should consider posting once to all locations through the API. This is the fastest way to make sure your listings have the most relevant, updated information at any given time. Plus, you’re able to include an eye-catching image. The only downside is the location of the Google Post on mobile search — it displays lower on the mobile screen, requiring the user to scroll a little farther down their screen to see it. The placement of the post could change, considering the rapid pace of Google My Business development during COVID-19. We’ll keep you updated.

For smaller, multi-location brands without developer resources, taking the time to manually post a COVID-19 Update is well worth it. Clear communication with customers during this time is invaluable and can help drive business.

While Google has been diligently making custom accommodations for business listings, Facebook has been hard at work doing the same.

Facebook Pages’ Hours and Service Updates for COVID-19

On April 2, Facebook announced new features businesses may use to communicate changes in service due to COVID-19. Businesses may now select “Temporary Service Changes” within their Facebook Page Settings. They can mark their location as “Temporarily Closed” (a similar feature Google My Business enabled due to COVID-19) or they can select “Open With Service Changes,” and include the following options:

  • Online Services
  • Delivery
  • Pickup
  • Other Changes (such as special hours for higher-risk patrons, for example)

Facebook also encourages businesses to share and pin a post about operational changes on their Facebook Pages.

It’s an understatement to say that keeping business operating during this unprecedented time can be extremely challenging. And, with Google’s ability to adapt quickly to business needs, we at GPO are on standby to share the latest updates. We’re dedicated to helping you communicate with current and prospective customers as quickly and accurately as possible. Let us know how we can help.

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