Social media is now the second biggest customer acquisition source behind personal referrals, and multi-location brands are rushing to implement social strategies that help further drive revenue.
Social media can connect national multi-location brands with millions of consumers, but it’s not the masses that matter. The local consumers around each business location are the ones you need to engage with and reach. Only local consumers walk into each business location, make in-store purchases, and engage with the business as part of the local social community. And how do you influence these buying behaviors of local consumers? Localized social marketing (LSM) – a massive opportunity for multi-location businesses.
No other social strategy gives marketers the power to leverage the national brand while also appealing to local consumers. Localized social marketing makes a real difference in terms of revenue as well; the top brands in LSM are growing 3x faster than their peers.
Customers want localized social content, and social platforms are releasing new features that empower businesses to localize marketing efforts. In this blog post, we’ll cover the features and tactics multi-location businesses can use to leverage localized social marketing, including hyper-local audience targeting, Local Business Pages, and local reviews.
How can businesses drive more local engagement?
High-value engagements — such as comments, shares, and direct messages — help improve organic reach over time. Low-value engagements — such as likes, reactions, and retweets — look good on paper, but don’t actually improve organic reach. In a content analysis, social experts have found that social pages receiving low-value engagements will not organically reach more than 1 percent of followers, but pages that receive high-value engagements can see organic reach as high as 10 percent of followers.
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Marketers can drive high-value engagements by posting localized content, which is more relevant to consumers. Here are a few examples:
- Events at individual business locations
- Location-specific promotions and special offers
- Partnerships with local organizations (charities, sports teams, community festivals)
- Highlighting local team members
- Repurposing positive reviews as content on social media
The most engaging posts draw comments, tags, and shares as customers seek to share the post with their own friends and followers. Local consumers can tag their friends to invite them to a local event at a local business location, or share a store-specific coupon on their own social media page. Partnering with local organizations gives businesses the chance to engage an entirely new audience on social; the people who follow the partner organization.
Where is localized social marketing happening?
Localized social marketing is growing in popularity – both marketers and the major social and reputation management platforms are making strategic changes that incorporate a localized focus. These industries rely heavily on each business’ local presence, and local ratings and reviews — primarily on Facebook and Google My Business — and act as key in-market differentiators.
Facebook is the dominant platform for localized social marketing because it provides both local pages for individual business locations and a brand page for the corporate entity.
Instagram is following its parent company’s lead in localized social marketing by testing new in-app local business profile pages. While this feature isn’t yet available to all users, it is similar to Facebook’s local pages feature and will presumably pull local business information from Facebook. Marketers can prepare for Instagram’s new feature by updating and Facebook local pages with accurate business information.
Google has also invested in localized features within the Google Knowledge Panel, including differentiating between local and brand knowledge panels, Google Posts, and Google Q&A. Marketers must update Knowledge Panels with accurate information, as many consumers never click beyond the Knowledge Panel on the search results page. According to Moz, 36.8 percent of consumers consider the information contained in the Knowledge Panel sufficient to answer their questions when searching, which means they’re not even landing on your site. Google recently indicated that 46 percent of all searches have a local intent, and the company’s investment in localized features is a reflection of this consumer trend.
Why does localized social marketing matter?
Localized social marketing (LSM) affects consumer perception, purchase decisions, and even SEO. It allows local businesses to remain relevant in a digital era, while competing with online retail giants. LSM is an all-encompassing marketing strategy that includes reputation management as well as both organic and paid social media content.
Localized Facebook ads should be a part of any multi-location marketing strategy. Thirty percent of marketers say that Facebook delivers the best ROI among advertising platforms, and there are social tools available to empower multi-location businesses with key features like dynamic text and images. Marketers can create one branded ad template for all businesses locations, and each ad will dynamically insert location-specific text such as addresses, cities and phone numbers.
Another area to focus on is local reviews. Local reviews not only affect SEO ranking, but are also the single biggest influence on consumer purchase decisions. In fact, 52 percent of consumers saying they’ve passed up a business because it didn’t have “enough stars.”
Beyond review platforms, consumers also turn to social media to engage with the businesses nearest them. Facebook’s Local Pages earn twice as many impressions as corporate Brand Pages and nearly 72 percent of all user engagement on Facebook.
Facebook’s 2018 algorithm update signaled a steep decline in organic reach, but brands can’t simply stop posting, or they risk showing the public an empty, barren social presence. Ninety-one percent of consumers use search to find business information locally, and local social pages often show in those search results.
Localized social marketing helps brands create that strong presence by prioritizing engaging content and following trends in consumer preferences and new social media features. Creating a social strategy that’s aligned with these localized trends can help multi-location brands build a strong localized presence and foster customer loyalty in every community the business serves.