Social media has become a significant part of the consumer journey, and is now the second biggest customer acquisition source, behind only referrals. In response to this trend, social platforms are empowering businesses with new features to engage customers and create brand ambassadors on a more personalized local level.

These new social features and functionalities include reviews, recommendations, social conversations, and local business Pages that fuel the marketing strategy known as localized social marketing.

SOCi utilizes proprietary data to compile a report detailing how consumers engage with businesses on a local level. That data comes to life in the latest State of the Market, created using SOCi platform data between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019.

The report helps marketers identify patterns, determine trends and share best practices in building a localized social marketing strategy. First, a quick primer on why localized marketing matters, who is using it and how to measure successful engagement at the local level.

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Why does localized social marketing matter?

The importance of localized social marketing cannot be overstated. Local reviews affect SEO, purchase decisions and allow local businesses to remain relevant in a digital era while competing with online and offline retail giants.   

As part of social media’s continued evolution, consumers are liking, sharing, and reviewing businesses in their community. Those local reviews matter; research shows that 52 percent of consumers have passed up a business because it didn’t have, “enough stars.”

New locally focused features —such as Facebook Local Pages — give consumers the ability to review and engage with the businesses nearest them. Multi-location marketers can create one Facebook Business Page for the overall brand and individual Local Pages for each business location. These Local Pages earn twice as many impressions as corporate Brand Pages and nearly 72 percent of all user engagement on Facebook.

Who is already using localized social marketing?

The State of the Market report reveals that localized social marketing is most popular with multi-location businesses in real estate, finance, home services and other service-related industries that rely heavily on local brand presence and reputation as key differentiators in-market.

Facebook is the dominant platform for localized social marketing, largely due to the fact that Facebook gives multi-location businesses the unique ability to create multiple Local Pages in addition to a corporate or Brand Page.

However, other networks are joining the localized movement. Google has invested in new local-focused features such as Google Posts and Google Q&A. Instagram is also testing localized marketing capabilities with new in-app local business profile pages — a feature that’s not yet available to all users. Across all platforms, marketers can localize content in order to drive engagement from local consumers.

What kind of local content drives engagement?

Not all engagements are created equal, and marketers must differentiate between high-value and low-value engagement. Facebook’s 2018 algorithm changes limited the reach of content that receives low-value engagement such as likes or reactions. Localized content, which is relevant to the audience around each business location, receives more high-value engagement such as comments, replies, and shares. Data from the State of the Market report shows that marketers are catching on; high-value engagement is up 30 percent quarter-over-quarter.  

The localized marketing movement is being fueled by consumer preferences and new social media features. Whether it’s through organic posts or paid social campaigns, businesses are getting consumers through the door by targeting them at the local level. By creating a social strategy that’s aligned with the trends in localized social marketing, multi-location businesses can build brand loyalty in every community the business serves.

Download the State of the Market now and see how your local social strategy compares to industry trends.

 


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