It’s imperative for multi-location brands to have a localized social marketing strategy. Why local? Most brand engagement happens on the local level. Through a research study that we conducted in association with Local Search Association (LSA), we found that 72 percent of brand engagement happens on local pages.
In the newly released Franchise Playbook for Localized Social Marketing, SOCi is revealing everything you need to know about creating a localized presence, and maintaining your business’ reputation at both a franchise and corporate level.
How do you manage a localized social strategy? While there is no one size fits all approach, there are some common management methods that will enable a company to find a winning local social fit.
Below, we break down the benefits and challenges of the centralized, decentralized and hybrid social media marketing management models.
Centralized Social Media Marketing Management Model
A centralized model has the corporate office managing all aspects of a company’s online presence, from social media to review sites and search engines. Typically, the focus is on the national brand, but occasionally companies will create a local marketing program that is managed by corporate.
Benefits of the centralized approach include brand consistency, centralized reporting, and measurement. With this model, quality control is no concern, since the brand is managing all social efforts. This model also has simple workflows, making it easy to implement.
This method prevents a robust local presence and content strategy at scale. One team cannot effectively manage the volume of local pages and localized content. And without understanding the specific demographics and needs of a location it is impossible to create the most tailored and impactful local content.
Additionally, the centralized model limits the franchisee’ voice and overall control of their own business. This model can even exacerbate certain control issues that are sometimes present in the franchisee/franchisor relationship.
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Decentralized Social Media Marketing Management Model
With a decentralized model, social marketing management responsibilities are taken from corporate and given to the individual franchisee. The bulk of social marketing management is left in local hands with minimal corporate oversight.
The primary benefit is the ability to create a truly local presence through localized content and conversations. Local managers and owners can post as they see fit, without a corporate process. Corporate franchise teams can also cut down on overhead and staff as most of this work will fall to the individual locations.
Without the supervision and oversight of the national brand, there is a greater possibility that local franchisees or their customers post rogue content that may reflect poorly on the brand as a whole. There will also be brand inconsistencies from location to location with varying activity levels on their accounts.
In regards to reputation management, franchisees may delay or completely ignore responding to customer care issues such as reviews or comments, decreasing the brand’s local and aggregate reputation scores. With the potential inconsistency of this program, there will be little to no data on the performance of this strategy and it will be difficult for corporate to measure success or optimize for further effectiveness.
Hybrid Social Media Marketing Management Model
In a hybrid model of localized social marketing management, the franchisor and franchisee work together to create the most effective online presence possible on the national and local levels. The franchisor manages the corporate social media presence, while franchisees oversee individual local pages and local content. With this aligned model, the national franchise brand provides a baseline amount of management for all locations. Local franchisees can opt into additional opportunities to further tailor the approach to fit the needs of their specific customers.
The hybrid strategy solves many of the challenges that centralized and decentralized models encounter, without sacrificing authenticity for consistency or vice versa. Overall, the hybrid approach boosts brand visibility, lead generation, conversion and repeat business systemwide.
The major challenge with a hybrid model lies in implementation. A truly efficient and effective hybrid strategy requires technology and a process to manage workflows, assets, and share results and performance. However, the overall benefits and gains far outweigh the initial upfront investment costs.
Now that you understand how to co-manage your local social marketing strategy at the franchisor and franchisee levels, it’s time to delve deeper into what a localized social strategy truly is, how to make it successful, and why it has untapped potential for national brands.