What Leaders in Education Are Doing to Win Localized Marketing
Education is what forms the leaders of the future. When COVID-19 hit the United States in March, schools and businesses were closed, and this prompted many companies to start working remotely, causing major shifts in how parents cared for their children. Parents pulled their kids from childcare centers and local governments began issuing strict guidelines that providers would have to meet. Consider these facts:
- Over 60 percent of child care centers nationwide were closed during the pandemic
- Eighty-six percent of childcare providers are serving fewer children now than they were before the pandemic, while 70 percent are incurring “substantial” new operating costs
- Nearly 20 percent of working parents had to leave work or reduce their work hours due to a lack in childcare
Education is big business. As the world changes and technology continues developing, it becomes increasingly important to stay informed on how consumers are making their buying decisions in the education sector. SOCi’s newly released Top Education Brands in Localized Marketing Report audits the top 25 education brands and analyzes their performance in localized marketing. Findings from the report will establish a target list of best practices for multi-location education brands to follow and help understand where these brands should focus their efforts.
Introducing the Top Education Brands in Localized Marketing
As mentioned above, the Top Education Brands in Localized Marketing report looks at the digital presence of top education brands. The report breaks down the analysis into two different categories, local search and local social. With localized marketing, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Education brands need a presence in both local search and local social to cover all stages in the digital consumer journey to help businesses convert more leads and ultimately win more sales.
Localized social starts at the top of the purchase funnel, and is geared towards your target audience that is currently in the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey. Localized social should be leveraged to create brand awareness. Connecting with your target audience at the local level is also an essential tactic for both influence and new product or brand discovery.
On the other hand, localized search is for potential consumers that are further down the consideration stage, or already in the decision stage. Search is the first place consumers turn when they have a defined need, for example when a consumer searches for “learning center near me”. A strong local search presence will help your education brand appear in relevant searches for prospective consumers with a defined need. Before we dive into what tactics your multi-location education brands can leverage to become a leader in localized marketing, let’s take a look at what the education brands studied were doing well in local search and social, and where there’s room for improvement.
Breaking Down Localized Social
Facebook and Google My Business (GMB) were the two platforms studied in relation to local social efforts. When it comes to localized social marketing, multi-location education brands have a strong location presence. This means that consumers will be able to easily search for your local business and find accurate business information. In fact, on average, education brands have 99 percent of local social pages claimed, and out of the claimed local social pages, 95 percent of them have updated and accurate business information.
Education brands are also succeeding when it comes to posting frequency on local social pages. On average, businesses are posting 13 times per month on Facebook, which breaks down to about three times per week. When it comes to GMB, businesses are posting less frequently, but are still posting about two new posts per month. If your multi-location business is in the education industry and not meeting these standards, it’s time to reconsider.
Education brands studied in this report need to put more emphasis on high-valued engagements on posts, which include comments and shares. The average local social page received 1.43 high valued engagements per post. Despite all of the posting that education brands are doing, less than 2 percent of their local followers are engaging with comments or shares. Education brands should also put more focus on localized content. Localized content performs 67 percent better than corporate or non-localized content. If your brand isn’t leveraging localized content, you’re missing out.
A Look Into Localized Search
Education brands tend to perform a little better in search than social. When it comes to localized search, many education brands understand the importance of appearing in the Google 3-Pack. On average, education brands appear in the Google 3-Pack in 1 out of every 4 relevant searches. Education brands also have a healthy reputation across the top local search sites which include Facebook, GMB, and Yelp. The average education brand has an average star rating of 4.6 on GMB and 4.16 on Yelp. Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so a strong online reputation is a must.
When it comes to areas of opportunity, education brands can increase local search visibility by claiming and completing more local business listings and profile pages across top search platforms. Currently, 90 percent of local listings are claimed on GMB and there is 90 percent profile completeness. These numbers seem strong, but when you look at Yelp, only 36 percent of listings are claimed, and of those claimed, an average of 71 percent have a complete profile. Inaccurate listing information can confuse your consumers, and prevent them from making a purchase with your business.
Education brands can also make better use of their local landing pages. On average, over 30 percent of locations did not have a local landing page tied to their profile page. For more information about the importance of local pages, check out our blog on the topic.
How Education Brands Can Dominate Their Industry
Now that you understand where education brands stand when it comes to localized search and social, you can start strengthening your business’s localized marketing efforts to meet or exceed the industry standards. Looking at local social, there are a few main takeaways.
- Localized social should be leveraged to drive new brand discovery. This can be done through an emphasis on localized social content.
- If local social content isn’t receiving the high-valued engagement it deserves, consider boosting the post to increase its visibility.
- Businesses should also focus on growing reviews on local social channels.
Managing local social efforts across 100s or 1,000s of business locations can be tricky, but SOCi is here to help. SOCi’s Social Solution enables multi-location businesses to manage and deploy localized content at scale while maintaining brand consistency at both the enterprise and local levels. This social tool was built specifically for multi-location businesses and will elevate your digital presence for customers everywhere they are. While SOCi’s Social Solution is great to help you crush your local social goals, what about local search?
After recapping the report, there are a few main takeaways your business should follow to improve its local search efforts as well.
- Education companies should focus more on core SEO tactics that will drive brand visibility – like business listings management, local profile completion, and the creation of local landing pages
- Brands should aim to drive more new reviews and gain better diversity of reviews across business locations – on both search and social platforms.
- To save time and effort, businesses should also consolidate social, search, and review management into one centralized platform.
SOCi also realizes the difficulty of managing reviews across business locations, and has a tool to help in that area as well. SOCi’s streamlined reputation management solution, along with SOCi Listings can help. Through SOCi’s Reviews solution, users can view every action taken on reviews, and monitor every activity on social media. Now, your local, regional, and corporate teams will always know which reviews and social engagements are addressed, and which ones still require attention to ensure the prompt responses consumers expect. By leveraging this tool, your business can boost its online reputation and ultimately gain more reviews. Similarly, SOCi Listings allows your business to sync, update, and manage your business listings to maintain accurate and consistent listings across 35+ direct integrations to leading directories including GMB, Facebook, Apple Maps, Foursquare, Waze, and Yelp.
The report highlights the importance of a strong localized marketing strategy for education brands, and SOCi is here to make it happen. For more information, request a demo today!