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As COVID-19 continues to take center stage across the nation, local search and social platforms are continuing to make changes and adjustments to solve for this new digital-first, and digital-only world. As a multi-location marketer, it’s crucial to stay on top of these changes and ensure your multi-location business is doing everything possible to maintain a robust localized presence during this time. At SOCi, we’re here to help! We’ll break down all of the latest updates and explain how they can impact your localized marketing efforts. 

Tracking numbers on GMB Listings

While tracking numbers on Google My Business (GMB) have been around for years, things have changed. A tracking number allows your business to track calls and attribute them to specific campaigns. For instance, if you have a variety of ad campaigns live at once, and you want to know which campaigns are generating the most calls, tracking numbers can help. 

While tracking numbers on GMB were previously advised against because you wanted name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistency on all of your profiles to not be penalized by Google, that has changed. Google has updated its algorithm, and now there is nothing wrong with using a tracking number for your GMB accounts. Adding in a tracking number for GMB will allow your multi-location business to boost its local SEO and increase call volume. It’s still important to note that while a tracking number can add value to your GMB profile, you must also list your business’s local phone number under the “additional phone number” option. 

With many businesses limiting their hours during this time of social distancing, it provides an opportunity to spend time improving your local search and social pages. If you don’t already have tracking numbers on your GMB listings, now is the time to do so!

Facebook Messenger Makes Changes to Its Desktop Version

Recently, Facebook made changes to its Messenger app for desktops. This new app allows users to engage in group chats and videos from their desktop. The timing of this coincides with social distancing when people are turning to virtual options to spend time with friends and family. Facebook provided this new update so that users could connect easily during these tough times. 

While this update is beneficial during quarantine, it can also be helpful for multi-location businesses both now and in the future. For instance, companies can use the updated version of Messenger to communicate with a group of customers all in one spot utilizing the platform where users are already spending an increased amount of time. If your business is trying to collect testimonials or to plan a co-marketing webinar with other clients, this app could be useful. It can also be used for talking to your employees. Rather than sending out a mass email and it getting lost in a flooded inbox, a Facebook message would stand out. 

If your business is experiencing some downtime due to restricted hours or a temporary closure, now is the time to be exploring new opportunities on search and social platforms. This new update gives you the chance to easily communicate with employees and consumers or customers both over video and through messaging – for free. It’s an update worth exploring.

Instagram Adds Live Donation Feature for Businesses

Instagram is another platform that has continued to make changes amid COVID-19. Most recently, Instagram has added a live donation feature on its platform for businesses to utilize. This new update allows select businesses to use their own stories and interactive story stickers to drive financial results for the business. Some of these include interactive stickers for users to buy a gift card from an Instagram story, order takeout or delivery from the Instagram account, or participate in a fundraiser. 

With so many businesses being forced to close their doors during this pandemic, Instagram created this as an opportunity to help businesses continue to generate revenue. While gift cards and takeout orders are pretty self-explanatory, the fundraising option is a little more complicated. If your business has created a fundraiser on Facebook, you will have the opportunity to link it to Instagram through a personal “support” sticker that you can share on your story. 

There are a variety of ways your multi-location business can use this information. For instance, if your business is struggling with sales during this time, adding a gift card option or a delivery or take out sticker could bring more visibility to your multi-location business. On the other hand, if your business is not struggling as much during this time, you could use it as an opportunity to support other local businesses in the area. If your company donates to a fundraiser or buys a gift card from another local business, you could re-share their story or create an original Instagram Story explaining how your business is supporting other local businesses through this tough time. In times like these, everyone needs a little help, and if your consumers see that you are helping other businesses right now, they may be more likely to come and support you when they are looking to do business in your community. 

As we mentioned previously, it can be challenging to stay on top of all of the latest industry trends with things changing at a daily pace. SOCi is here to keep your multi-location business informed and help ensure you’re keeping your localized marketing strategy strong during these tough times! For more information on how SOCi can help support your multi-location business, email us at [email protected]

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