As we all know, Q2 2020 looked a lot different than usual for most multi-location businesses. Throughout the quarter, we began to see a realistic view of the impacts that COVID-19 had on the nation. In our most recent report, we took a look at the state of multi-location marketing in Q2 and analyzed how it varied compared to Q1 when COVID-19 was starting to spread throughout the U.S. Throughout this blog we’ll dive into the most important findings of the report, and explain how you can use this data to further improve your localized marketing efforts into Q3 and beyond. 

 

Consumers are Craving a Local Connection 

 

As expected, after months of having to stay at home and avoid social interactions, consumers are craving a local connection now more than ever. There was also quite a bit of confusion in the first few months of the pandemic, and consumers needed localized content to understand what the rules and restrictions were at their local stores. For instance, did the hours of operation at their local grocery store change, or were their requirements on masks and other social distancing guidelines? This is the type of information consumers were looking for, which makes it no surprise that Facebook remained the top social platform in Q2 2020 with more than twice the locations from multi-location brands connected and actively managing their localized content and posts compared to Google My Business. 

 

 

It is important to note, however, that while Facebook remained the top social platform, the volume of content was down when compared to Q1. This is to be expected though, as many multi-location businesses went into survival mode when the pandemic hit, and didn’t have as much time or as many resources to focus on social media and ratings and reviews, which we’ll cover later in this blog. 

Why Localized Content Is Essential For Your Marketing Efforts 

 

One of the most significant findings in our Q3 2020 State of Multi-Location Marketing report confirmed that localized content outperforms content that is not localized. Data from a leading multi-location brand’s content found that localized posts receive 12x more engagement than non-localized posts. These numbers are huge! If your multi-location business is looking to increase visibility around your social channels, localization is vital. 

Facebook further emphasized the importance of localized content by launching a new “Business Nearby” feature in June 2020. This new feature allows users to find important businesses and services nearby them more quickly. The platform is actually basing the ranking of this feature on localized content that a store page has. Therefore, if your Facebook location pages are up-to-date and have strong localized content, you will be more likely to appear in relevant “Business Nearby” searches. 

This emphasis on localized content will not subside even after COVID-19, which makes it essential for multi-location marketers to continue to incorporate localized content into your social media efforts to keep up with the competition. Consumers have made it clear that localization is important to them, so it’s your responsibility to provide it to them. 

Facebook’s Share of Reviews Increased Amid GMB Restrictions 

As mentioned previously, many multi-location businesses were not as focused on their localized marketing efforts in Q2 as they were trying to keep up with all of the changes resulting from the pandemic. With that being said, we did see the number of ratings and reviews take a dip across all platforms as compared to previous quarters. Part of this dip can also be attributed to GMB adding restrictions to their ratings and reviews in the early stages of COVID-19. During the height of the pandemic, Google removed consumers’ ability to leave reviews and the businesses’ ability to respond, causing consumers to flock to Facebook.

 

For brands looking to capitalize on this shift in ratings and reviews, you should start investing more of your review strategy towards Facebook. Because of Google’s restriction on reviews, we also saw a decrease in review response rates. Many businesses couldn’t respond to reviews immediately on GMB, leading to an average review response time of 6.4 days across platforms, compared to 3.6 days in Q1. 

Moving into Q3 2020 and Beyond 

As you can see, the pandemic brought on many challenges for multi-location businesses over the past quarter, and the data found in our report reflects those challenges. On the bright side, this leaves quite a bit of room for improvement and growth in Q3 and beyond. As we start to settle into this new normal, multi-location businesses can refocus their efforts on localized marketing, and invest more in their localized content. 

 

 

If your business needs help getting started with localized marketing or looking to improve your localized marketing efforts to stand out in Q3, SOCi can help! SOCi is central command for multi-location marketers and the all-in-one platform for your localized marketing needs. From ratings and reviews to local listings, chatbots, social media, and more, we have you covered! What are you waiting for? Request a demo today!

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