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Content Radar: Google Hopes for a #SmallThanks to Change the Local Search Game

Content RadarTrying to get back into the swing of things after the long Thanksgiving weekend isn’t easy, but we’re here to help. Read on to catch up on all the content marketing news you missed while you were shopping and eating.

Content Radar

Google’s #SmallThanks is the latest tool in continued effort to overtake Facebook

With as much attention as Google receives, it’s difficult to believe the company can do anything quietly, but Google’s new #SmallThanks feature is the company’s latest update that has it quietly on the verge of creating some distance between itself and Facebook when it comes to local search.

The #SmallThanks update, coupled with the still new “Google My Business” posts, has allowed Google to lay the groundwork to launch a counter-offensive on Facebook.

What is #SmallThanks?

The #SmallThanks update allows local business owners to take digital reviews and other content and repackage them as physical displays or social posts. According to Google, #SmallThanks allows you or businesses you work with to “turn your customers into advocates.” The tool won’t change a business all by itself, but it is a step in the right direction for Google to make itself a trusted business partner — and local businesses are noticing.

GoogleSmallThanks

“I think that’s a pretty cool idea, you know. I think it is nice having these things posted around your office, some social proof that you do a good job and your team is on point with taking care of folks,” Dr. Russell Kirk said on his Business of Dentistry podcast. “I think it is a pretty neat idea.”

What are Google My Business posts?

Google My Business Posts have widely been available for a few months, but still appear to be a mostly untapped source for local businesses. Any Google-verified local business can visit business.google.com, click on “Posts” and then create a “Google My Business” post.

GoogleSmallThanks

These posts are different from what one might see on Facebook because the posts come up in Google search results (and Google Maps) alongside the associated business. Google is attempting to keep these posts timely and relevant by removing posts after seven days. Local businesses may post images, videos, GIFS, and inline links to capture attention in search results.

Because more than 70 percent of searchers look at multiple business listings before making a decision about which business to use, Google My Business posts can help local businesses and others stand out — especially when the competition doesn’t use the feature.

“What I like about it is that it integrates seamlessly into the business information, so it almost looks like a paid advertisement,” marketing consultant Eddie Garrison said on a recent YouTube video. “But the really cool thing … is that this is 100 percent free for your brand to utilize.”

Is this really a Facebook page-killer for local businesses?

Probably not. However, that is not to say that these recent moves from Google will be ineffective. The wise content marketer will realize that in order for local search to be most effective, one will need to continue to both have a presence on Facebook as well as optimize for Google.

Content Radar

Facebook has rolled out 4k photos in Messenger. Though this may not have a major immediate impact on your marketing efforts, the improvement is simply another part of Facebook’s goal to make Messenger an important part of its current and future efforts by giving users and consumers the quality they desire. Given that users send 17 billion photos through Messenger each month, one can assume users and brands will appreciate this update.

Content Radar

Instagram users can now jump in on other users’ live videos by asking to join. The video host may choose to accept or deny the request to join the live video. Likewise, the host can remove the guest at any point. An icon that includes two smiley faces will appear at the bottom of the host’s screen when a request to join arrives.

Content Radar

A new study shows that Facebook users are visiting the site nearly six times per day or, in other words, 173 times per month. The study also reports that an average Facebook session is six minutes and 23 seconds. During a month, the average Facebook user spends more than 18 hours on the site. This is a significant chunk of time, but still well below the U.S. adult television viewership of 150 hours watching TV per month.

Content Radar

Twitter has made two minor adjustments that will allow users to save content to read later and see engagement in a new way. The first adjustment is called “Bookmarks” and it will allow Twitter users to come back to a tweet that they want to read later — which will be especially helpful for users who don’t have time to read linked-to articles or watch embedded videos. The second update changes how embedded tweets appear. Instead of listing retweets and replies, the embedded tweets will list a number, followed by “people are talking about this.”

 

Chad Buleen

About Chad

Chad Buleen is an award-winning journalist, the manager of social messaging for a large international nonprofit, a digital media enthusiast and father of four. Follow him on Twitter .

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