Localized social marketing (LSM) uses specially crafted social content to engage audiences at the local level. LSM is the biggest untapped marketing opportunity for multi-location marketers.

Connecting with your local audiences through the deployment of a localized marketing strategy can differentiate your multi-location business from competitors. If your multi-location business isn’t currently using LSM, it’s time to start. Check out the 10 steps you need to take to win at LSM. 

1. Claim local social pages

The first step toward winning LSM is making sure your multi-location business claims all of its local social pages. 

According to data found in our 2019 LSM Benchmark Report, local search is the first thing consumers do to find or uncover more information about a business, which is why local social pages are so important. In fact, 91 percent of consumers use search to find business information locally. 

If your business is not claiming its local social pages, others will. When a user goes to search for a page or “check-in” and there isn’t a page already created, Facebook will automatically create a page to bridge the user experience.

Local social pages created by Facebook or others can cause a big problem for your business. If someone else has control of your business’s local pages, they can post rogue content, and it keeps you from being in control of your digital presence. These pages can also provide misinformation about the location of your business or the operating hours.

To see if your business has unclaimed pages, search your business name along with industry keywords on relevant platforms. If you find an unofficial page for your business, you can request to claim the page. If there are not already local pages created for your business, you or someone on your marketing team must create those pages.

Need to be convinced further on the power of local social pages? Consider this statistic:

  • 3 out of 4 brand engagements are happening on local pages vs. national pages on platforms like Facebook and Google My Business

2. Update local listings

Ensure all local business information is up to date –  a crucial step toward increasing brand visibility and improving both online presence and reputation. A local business listing is an online profile that contains your business name, address, phone number, and other relevant information.

Local listings are present on a number of platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, Google My Business (GMB), and Yelp. Although it’s time-consuming and tedious to go through all of your business’s listings to ensure the information is correct, it’s worth the effort. Consistent and accurate listing information plays a major role in improving brand reputation, increasing brand visibility, improving online presence, and boosting local SEO. 

To help save your business time and streamline the process of updating local listings, consider SOCi’s new local listing management solution. SOCi Listings empowers multi-location marketers to manage their 100s or 1000s of business listings, at scale, and effectively optimize online presence and local search rankings. Learn more about SOCi Listings here.

3. Create a localized content strategy

Developing a localized content strategy for your multi-location business is key. Ideally, locations are creating localized content that speaks to their local consumers. However, to better scale efforts, create a localized content strategy at the corporate level that can be used as a guideline for your locations to follow. For instance, if you are promoting an event that is happening across all locations, you can draft general sample text to use, but require the individual locations to update the specific details of the local event. 

Need ideas for localized content? Consider these options: 

  1. Reach customers early with Google Posts
  2. Partner with a local organization 
  3. Highlight local team members 
  4. Repurpose localized content for national campaigns 
  5. Utilize the power of local events and promotions 

Get more information on each of these localized content options here. Localized content is an area where many multi-location businesses are missing opportunities. It’s a great time to get started and stand out from the crowd!

4. Empower local businesses

For a multi-location business to be successful, it is important for the local businesses to feel empowered. At the corporate level, there are multiple ways to ensure your individual locations are ready to localize their marketing strategy. You could host an online social media training and follow-up with a written guide on how to best respond to Yelp and GMB reviews. Figure out the best ways to communicate with your local locations, and adjust your training as needed.

Make sure that local businesses have the tools needed to succeed in LSM. If your local businesses are equipped to handle LSM effectively, it will benefit the entire brand. On the other hand, without training, some local businesses may not be aware of best practices, which can then hurt the brand.

5. Create branded content

For LSM to be successful, branded content is a must. Although localization is best practice, to ensure there is an online presence, branded content can supplement a localized strategy to maintain brand consistency. Multi-location businesses should create branded content that can be used across various locations. A content library is a great option for storing and sharing assets across business locations. 

The image above highlights an example of a content library stored in SOCi’s platform. If some local users aren’t posting content frequently, the gaps can be filled with branded content from the content library. 

6. Monitor local digital presence 

Monitoring your multi-location business’s local digital presence should be an ongoing process. There may be some local businesses that say they will keep a strong digital presence, but forget to post or don’t respond to reviews. Monitoring will confirm that local users have an active presence online.

If your multi-location business is monitoring LSM frequently, you will ensure all local users are abiding by the brand guidelines as well. Monitoring doesn’t have to be overwhelming and shouldn’t be seen as micromanagement. It’s a good way to ensure that everything is running smoothly across locations.

7. Manage customer care

While managing customer care should fall primarily on the local businesses, there are some tactics that can be managed at a corporate level. As a general rule, if you see that there are negative reviews about one of your business locations going unnoticed, you should manage them from a corporate level. You can also help locations that are struggling to respond to reviews by creating a brand approved list of responses and other best practices, such as review response time expectations, that can work for common reviews or feedback. 

Additionally, you may find specific locations leaving responses that are too emotional or harsh, so corporate can set up an approval workflow to look through review responses before they are published. 

SOCi’s platform allows you to monitor reviews and also store brand approved responses to the reviews. The image above shows an analysis of the sentiment surrounding a multi-location business’s reviews. It also highlights how your business can respond directly to the reviews through the platform. Making sure that your multi-location business is staying on top of customer care is key in winning LSM.

8. Expand digital efforts with localized ads

With the digital landscape growing and changing rapidly, it’s challenging to make your multi-location business stand out amongst competitors and be the solution the consumer chooses. Localized social ads are a great solution to this dilemma. Localized social ads empower you to reach your target audience more efficiently and cut through the noise. Localization allows businesses to adjust the creative and messaging to resonate more clearly with the local audiences surrounding each location. With localized content, potential customers will be more likely to connect with the message and engage.

If your multi-location business is already utilizing localized social ads, kudos! If not, it may be time to consider how localized ads can benefit your multi-location business. The image above highlights SOCi’s ability to streamline localized advertising. SOCi Ad PLUS can enable you to create localized custom ads across 100s or 1,000s of locations with just a few clicks.

9. Track performance and success

Ensure that your LSM efforts are worthwhile by tracking performance and success. Are there any specific goals you’re aiming to meet? Are there certain metrics you’re interested in tracking? This can be different for every multi-location business.

While some may measure success by having a specific rating or number of followers on social media, others may be more focused on response time to reviews and comments. Ultimately, the goal of any business is to increase sales. So, determining success metrics is key. Once you have determined whether or not your efforts have been successful, it’s time to think about what optimizations can be made to make your LSM strategy even more successful in the future. 

10. Choose a tool to scale digital efforts

Now that you’re equipped with the tips needed to win in LSM, you may be wondering where to get started. Unless your multi-location business has a large digital team with the capacity to manage an effective LSM strategy, it may be time to consider a tool to streamline and scale your digital efforts.

When choosing a tool, consider factors like usability, management capabilities, and efficiency. In addition, keep in mind the areas where your business may need assistance – think localized social media content, digital advertising, and reputation management. 

Above is an example of SOCi’s platform, which highlights how you can manage your LSM efforts all in one spot. The tool gives you the ability to see an overview of your three critical areas of LSM – presence, care, and growth.

Start winning your LSM Strategy 

A strong LSM strategy can set your brand apart from competitors. If you already have an LSM strategy in place, nice work! Make sure that you are following best practices mentioned above so that your efforts are worthwhile. There is always room for improvement when it comes to marketing. 

If you don’t already have a plan, what are you waiting for? Don’t waste any more time, and get started now! The sooner your multi-location business has an LSM strategy, the sooner you’ll notice the benefits that come along with it.

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