How Dispensaries Can Use the Google Maps ‘Follow’ Button

Google Maps 'Follow' Button

Google has done it again! Don’t worry. It’s a good thing this time. The latest from Google is that they launched a Google Maps ‘Follow’ Button to business listings.

Sounds ok, right? It gets better. When your customers (or users considering a visit to your dispensary) choose to “follow” your cannabis dispensary, they’ll get automatic updates from your dispensary right from their “For You” tab. So, of course, you’re thinking, “How can I use this new feature to get more customers through my door?” Well, we’re here to show you how!

Google maps 'follow' button icon

Why Should Cannabis Dispensaries Care About Google Maps ‘Follow’ Button?

The easiest answer is, “because Google created it.” And as our search masters, anything they do warrants our attention. In all seriousness, this truly is potentially a huge revenue-generating feature. Here’s why.

Google Maps is an essential channel for local marketing vis-a-vis Google My Business (GMB). Google adding a “Follow” button — a popular and ubiquitous feature across peer-to-peer social media channels — provides cannabis dispensary marketers another way to engage customers. Engagement is powerful because it’s proactive, not passive. Engagement allows you to more effectively develop one-to-one relationships with your customers (or potential customers).

Once a user decides to “follow” your dispensary, Google will automatically deliver updates from you directly to their “For You” tab. The “For You” tab is a strategically-located place where users can see recommendations curated according to their preferences.

Until now, your customers had to make the effort to actually browse your dispensary’s GMB posts on your Google Maps listing or Knowledge Panel. Few users actually took the time to do this. Now they don’t have to do anything. They can see every post from businesses they follow in a single location rather than having to visit multiple locations.

“And for those of you who want to be in the know about all the new places opening around town, you’ll start seeing profiles for places before they even open on Google Maps for Android and mobile search,” writes Paul Cole, product manager for Google Maps. “Just look for the opening date in orange.”

Will the New Google Maps ‘Follow’ Button Radically Transform GMB Posts?

Revolutionize? Radically transform? Maybe, maybe not. But the addition of the ‘Follow’ button will be a huge asset for cannabis marketers.

Key Points: Pros

  • Google’s new Google Maps-integrated ‘Follow’ button provides a new engagement opportunity for cannabis marketers by allowing cannabis businesses to share updates and news via their Google My Business posts.
  • The new feature not only renews focus on the importance of GMB, but its introduction also boosts the value of GMB posts.

Key Points: Cons

  • To fully exploit this new feature will require your marketing team to make sure they don’t neglect GMB posts. This may require more effort, but it will be well worth it for those savvy marketers who commit to it.
  • ‘Follow’ button is currently only available in Google Maps for Android. iOS should be available soon, but Google hasn’t announced when yet.

Google also announced that new businesses, which includes new dispensary locations, can list their business profile on Google Maps up to three months prior to the launch date.

While this feature will not (by itself) transform your business, it’s no doubt an awesome new opportunity for savvy cannabis marketers to get an edge on their less-savvy competition. Google Maps’ “For You” tab itself is fairly new (announced in May, released in June 2018) and has become quickly popular. Early adopters who invest in the feature now stand to benefit exponentially more than those who wait.