In recent years, Facebook has made changes to its algorithm to make it tougher for organic content from brands to appear in the News Feed. While Facebook is always fine-tuning its algorithm, the social media platform remains a critical tool for marketers to reach and communicate with customers and prospects.
Mining Gold in Local Engagement
Multi-location brands are missing a huge opportunity if they don’t explore customer interest in local content. Data from our most recent research report shows consumer engagement on Facebook Location Pages is 2.5x higher than on corporate brand Pages. They also generated two-thirds of brand content impressions on Facebook. This suggests that Facebook’s algorithm may be favoring local content over corporate since it is more relevant to in-market consumers. Makes sense right? Location Pages are a hub for social conversations and review generation around specific stores, restaurants, and retail outlets.
Social media has a powerful influence on consumer purchase behavior. LSA’s Local Media Tracking Study (2018) found that 39% of consumers who found a local business on social media went on to make a purchase. And of all the social media platforms available today, Facebook is the top influencer of purchase decisions1.
But there’s a catch – if brands don’t create their own Location Pages, Facebook does so automatically. That’s right! When a user goes to search for a specific location and there are no results, Facebook automatically creates a page to bridge that user experience. Rogue pages are a big problem. In their unclaimed and unmanaged state, they could house bad or misleading user-generated content and negative reviews that will show up on Facebook and in Google search results. It’s clearly time for multi-location brands to take control of their local Facebook presence.
Taking Back Control
It is critical for brands to actively manage location data and local conversations on Facebook. By proactively creating Pages that prevent others from filling the void, a brand can gain control over messaging and content being seen by local consumers, answer product questions, directly respond to reviews, and influence consumer behavior during that critical phases of the path to purchase.
Our report shows that consumers are more inclined to leave reviews on Facebook Location Pages than corporate Pages. But the importance of managing your brand and individual location reputation on Facebook reaches far beyond the platform itself. Because Facebook is also a major local search engine, Google appends information about your business to their own search results. Ratings (and possibly recommendations in the future) appear in the Google Knowledge Panel next to your critical business information, such as address, phone number, and website. Simply put, positive engagement on a Location Page can translate into more business – while negative reviews can have the opposite effect.
Room for Both
The mere existence of a Location Page doesn’t accomplish the goal of driving engagement. Ultimately, Facebook Location Pages are about making the brand more accessible to local consumers and creating a better customer service experience overall. Brand and Location Pages need to work together to achieve this. The Brand Page should operate as the “central voice” of the organization. Similar to a corporate website, Brand Pages can communicate messages that are relevant to all stores or locations. Location Pages can leverage this brand content and put a local spin on it, or create their own content. This serves to add relevance and authenticity to local the Local Page.
Teeing Up a Successful Local Strategy
For all of this to be successful, the right tools and training are key. While local staff have a unique understanding of the market, resources and specific marketing expertise is often limited. SOCi allows brands to create libraries of shareable content for local managers to leverage. The system also empowers local managers to create their own content while ensuring it remains on-brand with approval workflows. These features help set checks and balances so that local personnel can be successful.
There’s no perfect or fully automated formula to getting social media right. It involves a thoughtful blend of human judgment, creativity, and technology. A robust local strategy, mixed with the right policies, tools, and training can deliver a stronger customer experience and better results for brands.
Learn more about the importance of Local Facebook Pages and the data supporting these trends by downloading the full Guide to Facebook Marketing for Multi-Location Brands.
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