Over the past year, one of the biggest trends we’ve seen across digital marketing is an increased focus in localization across top search and social platforms. In terms of marketing, localization is the process of optimizing your marketing efforts to help drive awareness, engagement, and ultimately sales around specific business locations.

As we move into 2020, search and social platforms are two areas where localization is most present. If your multi-location business is looking for a way to stand out among the competition, look no further. Localization is key.

Localization – The Biggest Trend No One is Talking About

Localization is often overlooked when discussing top marketing trends, yet it is an essential strategy to deploy to ensure your multi-location business and your local locations can be found where consumers are searching. 

One big reason localization isn’t being talked about is a general lack of consumer and marketer awareness. Today, consumers are continuing to search for business information on top search and social platforms. Like before, they are able to get the information they are looking for within a few clicks, and they are on their way. 

While, in most cases, consumers are not changing their search behaviors, the platforms are drastically changing the results that consumers see. More times than not – these search queries result in localized results. Consumers are still going to a search engine to conduct a search, and look for business information, but oftentimes the top results are localized and appear before any organic website results. Because local pages are giving consumers the content they need to convert, they’re not leaving and clicking to other sites. As a result, local listings, or one box listings, on Google have become a necessary component for any marketer’s digital marketing strategy. 

In addition to search engines changing the way consumers see results, search and social platforms are also changing to include features that were not previously available, blurring the lines between the two. 

Google and Yelp: From Search to Social

Platforms that were previously considered “search” tools are now morphing into social tools – Google My Business (GMB) and Yelp are examples of this trend. Both of these platforms are showing more characteristics of a traditional social platform and are being used as such. GMB now allows you to create posts, and interact with consumers through user-generated features, such as Q&A. Yelp features a Q&A section for consumers as well. 

Google has also added another social feature to its platform – giving users the ability to follow a GMB profile on Google Maps. Once a user follows a GMB profile, they will then receive updates about the business in the “For you” tab in Maps.  

To have an active presence where consumers are searching on search and social, your multi-location business must have local listings on GMB, Facebook, and Yelp. SOCi Listings is a great tool to help manage these local listings. It empowers multi-location marketers to manage their business listings at scale and effectively optimize online presence and local search rankings.

With SOCi Listings, you can: 

  • Update and sync listings
  • Suppress and delete duplicate listings
  • Track and analyze listings metrics (impressions, clicks, photos, search queries)
  • Approve or reject profile suggestions

Now that we’ve seen how search platforms are incorporating social features, let’s take a look at the changes social platforms are making. 

Facebook: From Social to Search 

On the social side, Facebook is continuing to enhance its offerings to encourage consumers to use the platform as a search tool. We have seen an increase in ratings and reviews (or recommendations) on Facebook over the past year, optimization of local Facebook search results, and the platform has even announced the inclusion of search ads for all advertisers. These search ads will appear in a user’s newsfeed and Facebook Marketplace search results. 

If your multi-location business is already advertising on Facebook, search ads can be incorporated easily. To have your ads appear in search results, you can either select “automatic placement” or “Facebook Search Results” in Ads Manager. 

With Facebook constantly changing, it’s important to stay on top of the latest search features that are being added to ensure your local pages are optimized. 

What Does This Mean For Your Multi-Location Business? 

Now that the lines are blurred between search and social, what does this mean for your multi-location business? First and foremost, you need to ensure you have claimed all of your local search and social pages.

After claiming local search and social pages, it’s important for your business to ensure that all of the information on those pages is up to date, which includes business hours, local address, and contact information. Your business should also stay active on search and social pages through responding to consumer reviews or questions and posting both corporate and local content. 

Having a localized search and social presence will ensure that your business can be found where your target audience is already actively spending time online. To attract consumers and ultimately drive sales, it’s clear that local search and social is a must!

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