Is Google My Business a tool animal shelters and rescue organizations should explore? Absolutely, says Lindsay Layendecker, Senior Manager of Education and Outreach at the Jacksonville Humane Society.
Google My Business is a free service that allows businesses, as well as nonprofits, to create customized information, posts, events, hours, and other features to accompany their listing when it appears in a user’s Google search results. And unlike Google’s floundering social media service, Google+, Google search is definitely not going anywhere — making it well worth a look by animal organizations looking to increase traffic to their adoption listings and fundraisers, as well as increase public awareness of their work.
Layendecker first became interested in alternatives to Facebook and other traditional social media channels after reading a Maddie’s Fund® blog post about how changes at Facebook are affecting animal organizations.
“The post said that websites and email lists are going to become more important due to changing Facebook algorithms, so I wanted to find a way to drive traffic to specific pages on our website,” she said. “Google Analytics told me that about half of the people who visit our website do so through an organic search, so I wanted to utilize that business posting as much as possible, since it had worked so well for major announcements.”
The shelter had first used Google My Business during Hurricane Irma, and the engagement it earned made Layendecker eager to see what else it could do. “We’ve been experimenting with posting a few days a week to see how it goes,” she said. “The post appears on our Google listing, so if someone Googles ‘Jacksonville Humane Society,’ the post shows up. And it will stay until you change it, unlike other social media that gets hidden after a few hours. The longer we leave a post, the more it is seen. So my plan is to use it for events, donations and adoptions.”
Layendecker shared some screenshots to give other animal organizations a sense of what to expect. This is the admin site of the shelter’s Google My Business page:
This is how it looks on the admin side when you want to evaluate engagement:
And this is how the search result looks to the public:
Ready to get started or just want to explore? Learn more about Google Business here!