Marketers don’t just need data; they need relevant data and complementary analysis. That’s what SOCi has provided in the latest State of the Market Report — now featuring verticalized data regarding localized social marketing (LSM). The industries capitalizing on LSM are concentrated in two key areas; real estate/property management companies and franchise brands that cover a wide variety of service-related industries.
Marketers in both industries can learn about LSM from SOCi’s latest research report: State of the Market: How Localized Social Marketing Impacts Multi-Location Businesses.
In this report, SOCi data analysts examine the latest data trends from SOCi’s social media and reputation management platform, which is specifically designed to enable localized social marketing. This phrase appears throughout the report, so let’s define it before we move on.
Localized Social Marketing:
Marketing efforts that focus on building a local presence for a multi-location business, leveraging locally-driven communication channels to reach the specific local communities it serves. These efforts may include social media marketing, review sites, social advertising, and other two-way engagement channels.
Why does LSM matter? Facebook recently revealed that two out of three consumers visit a Local Business Page at least once per week. LSM also includes local ratings and reviews, which are now an explicit local search ranking factor. It’s clear that localized social marketing is now a necessary marketing tactic for multi-location businesses, which is why SOCi data analysts have compiled a report outlining the state of LSM in Q2 2019.
Examining LSM across two different industries
The latest State of the Market report is different from previous versions in that it features industry-specific data for two different verticals; multi-location brands/franchises and real estate/property management. In both verticals, one corporate brand is spread across 10s, 100s or 1000s of social media and reputation pages for individual locations.
Both verticals are highly dependent on local ratings and reviews, which act as in-market differentiators for individual locations. Additionally, both verticals must manage local pages for each business location as well as a corporate brand page.
According to a research report created by SOCi and the Local Search Association (LSA), those local pages experience 72 percent of all brand engagement on Facebook. This is a sure sign that local consumers expect local content and local review response, and knowing this, brands can no longer expect to engage consumers through “top-down” brand marketing from the corporate level. Instead, brands must leverage the power of LSM.
Multi-location businesses are prioritizing ratings and reviews
Reputation management is no longer just a tool for customer care. Ratings and reviews are a top-ranking factor for SEO, and are featured prominently on local listing pages such as Google My Business. Companies must still respond to reviews in order to provide customer care, but every reputation management strategy should also include a plan to earn more reviews, monitor competitor reviews, and repurpose reviews for social content.
According to the latest State of the Market report, the overall volume of reviews is skyrocketing. However, review volume is just one piece of the localized reputation management puzzle. The report also reveals the data behind two other reputation management metrics; response time and star-rating.
Review response still shows room for improvement
While response time is improving across every platform and vertical, multi-location marketers still aren’t meeting consumer expectations for review response time. According to another research report created by SOCi, 40 percent of consumers expect businesses to respond within 24-hours. Download the latest State of the Market now to see how far marketers have to go before meeting that consumer standard.
Stay up to date on social media trends and the latest SOCi news. Sign up today.
Star-ratings remain high across the board
Not only are marketers earning more reviews, but they’re responding to these reviews more quickly while still maintaining a star-rating that is well above the minimum requirement consumers expect. According to SOCi research, 52 percent of consumers expect a business to have at least 4 stars. Download the latest State of the Market report to see how multi-location businesses compare to the star-rating that consumers expect, and which platforms consumers use to post these ratings.
Marketers aren’t making the most of LSM platforms
When marketers look for platforms on which to leverage all areas of LSM, they need to look no further than Google My Business (GMB). GMB allows multi-location businesses to manage local reviews, seek local engagement, and post localized content for each business location. In Q2, GMB once again received the highest volume of new ratings and reviews, however, marketers still aren’t using it GMB to its full potential. Most marketers only use it for ratings and reviews, and are failing to respond to questions on Google Q&A or create content for Google Posts. GMB is a useful social tool, and we expect that future State of the Market reports reveal that marketers are using the platform to fully engage consumers.
High-value engagements are on the rise
Localized content is often more relevant to consumers than the generic content on corporate brand pages. As a result, Facebook users are more likely to provide high-value engagements such as comments and shares. The latest State of the Market shows that marketers are earning more high-value engagements, which are the only types of engagement that can help increase organic reach on Facebook. If marketers expect to have any kind of sizeable organic reach, they must continue to prioritize high-value engagements over likes, reactions, and retweets.
As the Q2 State of the Market report shows, marketers are embracing localized social marketing by prioritizing local reputation management and social media content. The report also shows how these Q2 data trends relate to the recent LSM Benchmark Report created by SOCi and the Local Search Association — a research project that revealed the connection between LSM and revenue. According to the LSM Benchmark Report, the top brands excelling in LSM are experiencing revenue growth at 3x the rate of their peers.
LSM acts as a key differentiator for each of your business locations, but it’s a tactic that requires marketers to be up-to-date on the latest trends and tools in social media and reputation management.