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Industry News: Google My Business and Facebook Lead the Pack in Industry Updates



We’re back with another industry news blog for you. As a multi-location marketer, it’s essential to stay aware of the latest industry news and understand how it could impact your localized marketing efforts. Localized marketing leaders consistently make adjustments and optimizations to their strategies based on the latest platform updates, and you should be doing the same. 



Throughout this blog, we’ll look at new updates from Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, and Yelp, and explain how they could impact your localized marketing efforts. As we head into the new year, now is the time to make sure you win in localized marketing to stay ahead of competitors. 



Google My Business Introduces New Messaging Options 



Google My Business has added multiple new ways for consumers to message businesses and different options for companies to respond. After you have activated messaging on your GMB profile, you will be able to respond to your messages on Google Maps from your business’s messages section under the “Update” tab. 



The new messaging options also include a message button for consumers to message your business from a Google Post directly. Similarly, if a consumer tries to call your business and your business is unavailable, the customer will be asked if they want to send a message instead. Your business can then respond to the messages through your Google My Business account, Google Maps, or Search. 



As a multi-location marketer, you understand the importance of a robust localized marketing strategy, including local GMB profiles. As Google adds new features to GMB, your multi-location business needs to stay on top of them to maximize every opportunity to engage with consumers. These new messaging options make it easier for your business to connect with consumers and respond to their messages promptly. 



Google Announces Rollout of Health and Safety Attributes for Hotels 



If you’re in the hotel industry, this update is for you! In a recent blog post, Google announced that its enhanced health and safety attributes for hotels had been fully rolled out. This new update coincides with expected holiday travel amid COVID-19 and allows hotels to update their GMB profiles to share which measures are in place to keep guests safe during their stay. 



For instance, Google added a filter where hotels can check whether or not they offer free cancellations. Hotels can also select specific health and safety attributes that their hotel is following. Have you enhanced your cleaning? Are masks required while walking around the hotel? Which amenities are open? These are things that you can address through this new feature. 



Whether you’re in the hotel industry or not, it’s always essential to keep your local listings updated with the most accurate information, especially during the current pandemic. For more information on the importance of updating your local listings, check out our blog on the topic. 



Facebook Introduces Drive Feature For the Holidays 



Facebook recently announced a new Drive feature right in time for the holidays. This new feature allows Facebook users to gather clothing, food, and other necessities for people struggling during the holiday season. The Drive, which is part of Facebook’s Community Hub, allows both businesses and individuals alike to rally local communities around a cause and provide them with a way to give back. 



If your multi-location business typically holds a food drive, collects jackets during the winter, or gives back in another way, this Drive feature is for you. To create your Drive, you can open the Community Hub, click “request offer help,” and select “create Drive.” You will then fill out a form with information about the Drive you want to start and include your goals. Once approved, the Drive will appear in your Newsfeed like any other post. As mentioned in our Q3 2020 State of Multi-Location Marketing Report, consumers crave a local connection more than ever before. This Drive feature allows your multi-location business to bring the community together for a bigger purpose and provides the local, authentic connection that everyone is craving. 



Facebook and Instagram Messenger Get a New Update 



As mentioned in a previous industry news blog, Facebook and Instagram recently merged Messenger, so it is now accessible on both platforms. Now that the two platforms support Messenger, Instagram and Facebook have released a Watch Together feature for Messenger. This new feature can be used to stream content while you’re in a video chat. To access this new feature, swipe up in your Messenger chat to access the options menu, and select Watch Together. You will then find a variety of movies, tv shows, and clips to select from. 



If your multi-location business is currently utilizing Messenger as a marketing tool, Watch Together might be worth exploring. While you might not use Watch Together for incoming messages, it could come in handy if your sales team uses Messenger and wants to share a demo and watch it with new prospects. There are ways to get creative with this new tool. Watch Together will also provide access to chat themes to personalize your conversations. Through these themes, you can adjust the background of your conversations and include animated message effects. These new additions can help your Messenger conversations stand out when speaking to prospective consumers.  



Yelp Releases New 2021 Trend Forecast 



We’ll keep this update short and sweet! Earlier this month, Yelp released a 2021 Trends Forecast. This in-depth report includes information provided by Yelp’s data science team, who used Yelp’s review data to find words and phrases that were rising the most significantly between 2019 and 2020, to help predict what Yelp users will be looking for and writing about in 2021.



As a multi-location business, we all know the importance of strong ratings and reviews strategy. Staying aware of the predicted trends for 2021 can help you understand what to expect and plan accordingly. While Yelp’s 2021 predictions are helpful for ratings and reviews, we have a recent blog that provides a comprehensive list of 2021 predictions for localized marketing. 



Now that you have the latest industry news and predicted trends for 2021, it’s time to start improving your localized marketing efforts. In many industries, the end of the year brings some downtime for reflecting on the past year. Use this time to brainstorm how you can win localized marketing in 2021. SOCi is here to help you achieve this. Not only do we provide you with the latest industry news, but we’re also the central command for multi-location marketers. For more information on how SOCi can take your localized marketing strategy to the next level, request a demo today!