In the marketing world, localization is the biggest trend that no one is talking about. In terms of marketing, localization is the process of optimizing your marketing efforts to help drive sales and awareness around specific business locations. One big reason localization isn’t being talked about is the lack of consumer and marketer awareness.
While consumers are not changing the way they search, their results are becoming increasingly localized. Platforms have made this change due to the rise in search activity happening on mobile and the understanding that local results are likely most relevant to mobile searches.
With localization becoming so prevalent in today’s digital world, SOCi’s State of the Market: 2019 Annual Review and 2020 Forecast dives into top localized marketing trends and growth areas. The report utilizes SOCi’s proprietary data to highlight the importance of localization for multi-location businesses. In this blog, we’ll give you the high-level takeaways from our latest State of the Market Report. First, we’ll take a look at which platforms you should be on to optimize localized marketing.
Platforms that Perform Best for Localization
The average digital user spends two hours and 23 minutes on social media platforms every day, leaving great opportunity for your multi-location business to promote its brand. With so many different platforms in the market, how do you know which ones your business should be utilizing? Based on data included in our State of the Market Report, Facebook is the top social network based on the number of local business pages connected in our platform.
As shown in the graphs above, Google My Business (GMB) is the second most used social platform for multi-location businesses, with Yelp coming in third. As a multi-location marketer, you must invest and optimize your local presence across the top three platforms – Facebook, GMB, and Yelp. By having a localized presence across top platforms, there is the added benefit of ensuring your locations are properly represented across top Map and navigation searches.
Once your multi-location business is active on the top platforms, you can then focus on optimizing your presence. For instance, if you notice a certain type of post resonates well on Facebook, you can try utilizing it on GMB too. It’s important to remember that while Facebook, Yelp, and GMB are all needed for a strong localized marketing strategy, other platforms may be relevant to your multi-location business’s industry as well. Be aware of where YOUR consumers are spending their time online, and make adjustments to your presence as needed.
The Importance of Local Search and Local Social
Over the past year, we’ve seen the lines blur between local search and local social platforms. Platforms like GMB and Yelp that were previously considered search platforms are now morphing into social tools as well. GMB now allows you to create posts for you to interact with your consumers, and both GMB and Yelp include user-generated features such as Q&A.
On the social side, Facebook is morphing into a search tool. We have seen an increase in ratings and reviews on Facebook as well as the optimization of local Facebook search results. Facebook also announced the inclusion of search ads, furthering its search features.
As the lines continue to blur between search and social platforms, reconsider your business’s localized marketing strategy. Is local search incorporated at all? Ensure you are utilizing all platform capabilities on the top three platforms to fully engage your audience. With the combination of local search and local social, your brand can grow at a much faster rate than the competition. In fact, our 2019 LSM Benchmark report found that the top 10 brands in localized marketing grew their sales three times faster than their competitors.
The Influence of Reputation and Reviews
Throughout 2019, local ratings and reviews have been the most impactful element in determining a business’s local search ranking or visibility on key search terms. Below are the top local search ranking factors. Six out of the eight ranking factors are related to ratings and reviews.
With ratings and reviews playing such an instrumental part in local search ranking factors, it’s important for your multi-location business to monitor and manage them. When you respond to reviews, both positive and negative, it shows your consumers that you value their feedback. While responding to all reviews is ideal, your multi-location business must ensure it’s responding to critical reviews first. Forty percent of consumers expect businesses to respond to critical reviews within 24 hours.
Keeping an eye on your business’s star-ratings are just as important as responding to reviews. Only 53 percent of people would consider going to a business with less than 4 stars, emphasizing the need to keep a high star-rating for your multi-location business.
The management of your multi-location business’s local reputation is a critical component of your business’s localized digital brand presence. What is your multi-location business currently doing to maintain your online reputation? For a more in-depth look at the importance of ratings and reviews and how your business can leverage them, check out our webinar on the topic.
How You Can Improve Your Localized Marketing Strategy
It’s clear that localization is a key component to make your business stand out from the competition. The start of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate your current localized marketing strategy and look for opportunities to improve. The three major areas that are critical for localization are local search, localized social, and reputation and reviews.
For a more in-depth look at localization and tactics on how to implement findings into your own marketing strategy, download our full State of the Market report!