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Local search and social platforms are continuing to make changes to their platforms, and our industry news blog is here to break it down for you. As a multi-location marketer, it’s always important to stay on top of the latest trends and understand how they can fit into your localized marketing strategy, and we’re here to help! From Yelp to Facebook and Instagram, there’s a lot to cover this week. 

Yelp expanding COVID-19 banner 

As mentioned in a previous industry news blog, Yelp created a COVID-19 banner that businesses could display across their profiles, highlighting that business hours and in-store options may differ due to COVID-19. Recently, Yelp has added to this feature, creating a full COVID-19 section that can be displayed on each location’s profiles as seen below in the example from Anytime Fitness. 

In this box, businesses will be able to highlight whether or not they are enforcing social distancing, capacity restrictions, whether or not they require a mask, and any employee requirements they currently have in place. This new feature was added to provide consumers with more information on the precautions businesses are taking amid the pandemic. Rather than having consumers actively seek out this information from local businesses, businesses can be proactive. The information in the COVID-19 section will have a time-stamp so consumers can know how up-to-date the information is. 

If your multi-location business is currently utilizing Yelp for your business locations, this feature is something to consider. Consumers will value the information provided, and it could make the difference between whether or not they feel comfortable visiting your business during these times. 

Facebook tests email marketing 

Facebook recently announced that they would be testing email marketing among select businesses. This is another step that Facebook is taking to position itself as an all-encompassing marketing platform rather than solely a social media platform. Facebook wants to be the leading force for businesses to reach new and existing customers, and email marketing is another way for companies to do so. 

As of right now, the email marketing feature only allows for emails to be sent to lists that advertisers provide. In other words, businesses must have the email address of the consumers they are looking to market to. Lookalike audiences are not an option at this time. Like other marketing tools, your business would be able to compose the email on Facebook and select the audience that you want to send the email to. After the email delivers, you will then be able to track the email performance. While this new tool is currently in beta and a small group of businesses is testing it, it’s essential to be aware. Stay tuned for more updates about this feature shortly. 

Yelp updating its waitlist feature 

Yelp also updated its waitlist feature. While many businesses and consumers are looking for ways to avoid crowds for dining, this feature can come in handy. Rather than having a long line at the host stand and a bunch of people lingering in the waiting area, this new feature allows businesses to add people to the waitlist while maintaining social distancing measures. 

The recent updates now allow restaurants to print and showcase a QR code that customers can use at the restaurant to add themselves to the waitlist in a contactless way. Through the feature, hosts will then be able to adjust the wait times and can also get updates when they are beginning to reach capacity. This new innovative feature is again something your multi-location business should consider to stay proactive with social distancing measures and make your consumers feel secure. 

Instagram allows Instagram Lives to be uploaded to IGTV

Instagram also added a new feature that will allow users to save their Instagram Live videos to Instagram TV (IGTV). Previously, Instagram Lives would delete after 24 hours and couldn’t be re-used. This new feature allows you to store your Instagram Lives and highlight them at different times. You may be asking yourself, how would this benefit my multi-location business? If you are doing a Q&A on Instagram Live about what your multi-location business is currently doing to keep consumers safe amid COVID-19, you can now save this to your IGTV and promote it later. Rather than having to go back and re-do the Q&A often so that your audience can see it, you can now have it saved and refer back to it when needed. 

If your multi-location business hasn’t previously tested Instagram Live, it’s time to start! Instagram Live is a great way to engage with your target audience and make them feel connected to your business, especially during this time of social distancing. If you do start doing Instagram Lives every once in a while, make sure you save them to your IGTV! 

Now that you have all of the latest industry news, it’s time to start re-working your localized marketing strategy. We all know that resources are strained due to the current pandemic, so it’s crucial to use platform updates that will help your business be more efficient in its marketing efforts. If you need additional help developing a robust localized marketing strategy, SOCi is here for your multi-location business. Email us today at [email protected] to get started.

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