As a multi-location marketer, things are changing at a rapid pace due to the current pandemic. It seems as though both local search and social platforms are making changes weekly, if not daily, to keep up with the changes we have to make as a society, and more specifically as consumers. SOCi is here to bring you the latest industry news as it relates to localized marketing in our blog series.
This week, we’ve seen changes in platforms like Google My Business (GMB), Yelp, and Facebook that you won’t want to miss! Make sure you’re staying on top of the latest trends so that your multi-location business can survive COVID-19 and come out more reliable than ever.
Google My Business (GMB) Adds Support Links
Throughout COVID-19, GMB has consistently made platform updates that align with the user behavior changes everyone has made in this digital-first world. With social distancing at an all-time high, businesses have to get creative with ways to engage with consumers and keep their business afloat. This is where support links come in.
With support links, multi-location businesses will be able to add a donation link or gift card link to their GMB profile. As we all know, many businesses are experiencing a decline in sales amid COVID-19 or a lack of foot traffic, which is why support links can help. So far, GMB has partnered with GoFundMe and PayPal to collect donations, and have a variety of partners for the gift card option.
If your multi-location business is not struggling during this time, you can still collect donations for other causes. There is an area in the support link section where you can explain where your money will be going. For instance, if you want to raise funds for frontline workers or a local business that you know is struggling, you can explain that along with the donation link.
Now is a better time than ever to test out support links. This feature is pretty new, and your business could be one of the few among your competitors that are trying it out. Many consumers are looking for ways to support businesses during this time, and support links provide them with an easy opportunity to help their favorite places.
Yelp Fast Tracks New Feature Product Development
As it looks like social distancing will continue to play some role in our society for the foreseeable future, Yelp is looking for ways to support the new normal. Yelp is adding a new category to its platform called “virtual service offerings.” This feature will cater to certain activities your business is currently hosting virtually. For instance, if your multi-location business is a hair salon and is providing tutorials on how to make your hair coloring last, you can add this to your virtual service offerings.
Yelp found that businesses were already adding this information into their profiles, and so they decided to create a particular area where this information could be stored. These listings will also be available in search results, which will help both businesses and consumers alike. If you own a local gym and have added at-home workouts into your virtual service offerings, they will appear when a consumer searches on Yelp for local workout classes.
If your multi-location business is not already using Yelp’s new virtual service offering, it’s time to start. This new feature can add visibility to your business online, and let consumers know that you are there for them during this difficult time. If your business is providing consumers with virtual offerings during this time, they will be more likely to remember your business when they are looking to make a purchase.
Facebook Continues to Support Local Businesses
Facebook has made some recent changes to continue to help support businesses that are struggling through COVID-19. Facebook is introducing a feature that will allow consumers to find businesses and services that are nearby them.
Using a “Business Nearby” feature, Facebook users will be able to get the latest information on local stores, message them, places orders, or buy products. The feature highlights posts from local businesses so that users can gain insight into what the business is offering. The purpose of this feature is to increase virtual foot traffic to your business. There is nothing that your multi-location business needs to do differently for this update but should continue to ensure that you are posting regularly on Facebook to get featured.
Facebook also made another smaller change to its platform that will be beneficial to multi-location businesses. Facebook updated the Business Inbox in Messenger, allowing page managers to switch between their personal accounts and the business account easily. In theory, this update will enable businesses to respond more efficiently to questions that they are receiving in the Business Inbox in Messenger. Right now, many multi-location businesses are receiving a higher volume of questions in their inbox due to COVID-19. This new update will help you save time communicating with consumers and use your resources on other areas that require attention during this time.
As you can see, there are many local search and social platforms that continue to make changes to help support businesses during this difficult time. As a multi-location marketer, we know that it can be challenging to navigate your localized marketing strategy. That’s where we can help! If you want more information on how SOCi can help your business consolidate and strengthen your localized marketing efforts, amid COVID-19, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.