Today we go over Google Messaging for your small business. It’s been around over a year, but we just began trying it out. Today we share what we like, don’t like & let you know if you should try it.

SIDE NOTE: Thanks to some checking by one of our Local SEO heroes Mike Blumenthal, there does not seem to be anything in Google Messaging terms & conditions preventing you from saving the phone numbers that message your SMB & uploading them to FB for a Custom Audience!

Episode 0325


Pros and Cons of Google Messaging for Business in 2019


Liz: [00:00:03] Hey there. Welcome back to Liz & Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. Twice a week we provide insight on Social Media, SEO, websites, email marketing and more. Today we are going to be chatting about Google’s new Google messaging feature.

Sandro: [00:00:17] Thanks Liz. Correct.

Liz: [00:00:19] Is it new?

Sandro: [00:00:19] No It’s happened a year ago.

Liz: [00:00:22] Today we’re going to be. . . Today we are going to be talking Google Messaging.


Google Response to Facebook Messenger for Business


Sandro: [00:00:27] That’s right. Thanks Liz. So one of the things we’ve been testing for our clients is Google messaging. We’ve talked about Google Messaging in the past when it debuted in the fall of 2017. So a little over a year ago. And basically what it is is Google trying to replicate the success of using Facebook messenger for small business.

Sandro: [00:00:45] So many businesses are using and have been using Facebook Messenger to communicate with current and potential customers. I know we use it to deal with reputation management, taking things that are public private. Also people want to ask questions. And actually we just booked the director of a film for a client, a movie theater who’s, we’re showing his film, via Facebook Messenger. 100 percent.

Sandro: [00:01:09] Anyways well take all that and do it via text messages. And that’s what Google messaging does. It’s people texting your business using random anonymous phone numbers that a customer cannot see but that you receive on your phone and can respond to on your phone. Google debuted this last year and at first we were a little wary of trying it. But we did activate it for several clients a month ago and it’s been a solid success so far.


How to Activate


Sandro: [00:01:35] Basically to activate it you have to be the owner or one of the owners of your Google My Business listing. And it seems, we’re learning, Liz & I were testing it. You also have to have the Google My Business app on your phone. Once you have those things down you’ll see a messaging option as one of the tabs in Google My Business, GMB. Go in there and you’ll see an option to turn it on. Once you do you can then set a welcome text that goes out immediately when someone messages you.

Sandro: [00:01:55] Ours says, “Thanks for texting ACME business. We’ll get back to you soon as we can!” And once that happens you’ll then have a messaging button on your Google Knowledge Panel or even as we’ve learned, in Google Maps when people google your business. They can tap that and they’ll be taken to their messaging app or their Google account through their Google account and they can then text you questions.

Sandro: [00:02:26] One of the things I love about this is I love texting more than Facebook messaging. So I’m pretty quick to respond to those. It’s easy to look up. We tested a few other things. You can not send photos currently through text to your customer. But you can send web links. So when people ask for a menu or a Showtime or a ticket link, you can text them, message them the link. Pretty easily. Google does judge you just like Facebook does and the response time. And all of ours are under 15 minutes and it’s public up there on our Google listing and that’s pretty cool.


Downsides of Google Messaging for Business


Sandro: [00:02:58] One of the downsides is you can only pick one phone number one account. So you have to pick somebody who’s always at the ready to do it. Also you cannot schedule off time. So you have to go in there manually turn it off and turn it on. I wish there was a way that you can do it during business hours because I woke up one morning and there was a 3:00a.m. text message for a client and I responded four hours later. But I wish we would have been able to turn it off during like midnight to 8a.m.

Liz: [00:03:27] Or set in a different autoresponder during certain times, like when people are sleeping.

Sandro: [00:03:36] You know one of the things as Liz & I were testing, she has Google products, you know, a Google phone.

Liz: [00:03:41] Yes I have the Pixel 2. Which I Love.


Different Options in iOS & Android?


Sandro: [00:03:45] Takes very nice photos. But one of the things she has the option to do also is type in common questions. And then it would automatically respond with those answers. I on my iOS & my mac laptop do not see those options at all. So that’s something I haven’t seen anywhere else or mentioned. So there seemed to be, seems to be rolling out that you can set in regular questions like “How much are tickets?” “Can I get a link to your menu?” And you can auto-respond with certain frequently asked questions and answers.

Sandro: [00:04:13] So I do love that. So I feel like Google is moving in the right direction but I think if they can set up times and auto response for several times and set up multiple team members, that would be great.


Use the Phone Numbers for Facebook Custom Audiences?


Sandro: [00:04:24] Two other things I really love that no one really mentions. You see the phone numbers of the people messaging you so you can, I havent’ looked at the terms and conditions but I wonder if you can keep those phone numbers.

Liz: [00:04:39] Really?!

Sandro: [00:04:39] Yes.

Liz: [00:04:40] I don’t, as you and I were testing them the one for Hersh PR I, I don’t see your phone number.


Messaging Via Google Maps Brings Up Name Not Phone


Sandro: [00:04:47] I answered via Google Maps and that’s my Google account.

Liz: [00:04:51] OK.

Sandro: [00:04:52] So it only showed my name from my Google account. But really.

Liz: [00:04:56] Oh yeah. You saw my phone number when I was texting some of your accounts. Yeah.

Sandro: [00:05:00] When Liz tested it I’m showing her phone number. I believe that’s your phone number. Right?

Liz: [00:05:04] Yes It is.

Sandro: [00:05:06] So you get to keep. I don’t know if you get to keep if you can use those phone numbers for marketing.

Liz: [00:05:10] I don’t know why you wouldn’t be able to. Yeah I mean set that aside. Upload it to Facebook and do some traditional targeting. Yeah.

Sandro: [00:05:19] Create audiences. So I’m going to have to look into that and I apologize I should answer that but you do get to keep those phone numbers and also the tests go on. So someone texted me something the business one day and five days later they asked a different question I could see the text thread and see that this person had already asked this question. They’re already a customer. They’re already, we’ve already responded to them before. We can answer maybe with more familiarity. So I do like that it does keep a thread going and it does, you do get those phone numbers that could potentially be used to market remarket to them.


Overall: Worth Trying Out


Sandro: [00:05:44] So I would urge you check out your Google My Business. Go to that messaging tab. Turn it on. And just try it. You can always turn it off and no one will be any wiser than you turned it off or tried it for a little while. But I don’t think it’s not too much of intrusion. We generally get like one message every other day so it’s like I said not too much of an intrusion. But well worth checking out and trying out for your small business.

Liz: [00:06:13] I love it. Yeah I’m going to play more around with this and I would love the option to have multiple users being able to respond because there may be questions on behalf of a client that my team can jump in and answer right away. And there’s other things that the client may know. And it could just be easier if they also have it on their phone. They could jump in and respond without having some back and forth internally you know via e-mail so you know. Good stuff.

Sandro: [00:06:39] Yes that’s one of the things I love about Facebook messenger you could assign private message to a certain team member.

Liz: [00:06:45] So yeah get out there and start playing around with this. Thank you for this information. That wraps up today’s episode. Thank you for joining us. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Send us your questions. We’d love to hear from you. We actually received a couple earlier this week we’re going to be addressing those in a December episode. So stay tuned and we will see you next time.