6 Reasons Local Social Media Matters for Multi-Location Brands
Social media has completely changed the game for multi-location businesses. Today’s customers now demand personal and meaningful connections with brands at a level that nationwide TV, radio, or print campaigns simply can’t touch. Instead, they turn to social media to connect with businesses in their area – in fact, social use grew among 54% of consumers in the past year, and 34% said they expect their social use will only grow in the next three years.
To keep up, multi-location brands need to cultivate a local social media presence. This means having an active, consistently updated page for each location, and location-specific content that speaks to that particular audience.
A few local social media sites do this particularly well, allowing for truly localized profiles and engagement. Some of them also offer local targeting through paid advertising, empowering businesses to grow audiences on multiple levels.
The top local social media platforms for this purpose include:
Google My Business (GMB) - specifically Google Posts
So, why should you invest valuable marketing time on these platforms? Here are six of the most compelling reasons.
1. Social Signals Influence Search Rank
Local social media content is great for search engine optimization (SEO). It boosts your authority in your space on multiple levels.
First, search engine crawlers (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) see your page as a “mention” of your business. When those mentions match your website, search engines see your site as more authoritative. Second, when you link to your website from social media, those mentions count as backlinks. When those backlinks connect to content that covers the same topics as your website does, it creates a sense of consistency that search engines love.
Ready for some hard evidence? Here’s a side-by-side comparison for one of our clients, where one set of the company’s locations posted content to their local Facebook pages and the rest didn’t. Check out the difference in rank improvements for the hyper-competitive keyword “pizza.”
This particular client used Facebook, but Google loves content too. When you leverage Google posts on Google My Business, you provide the platform with more text to crawl and more information about your business, while also upping your relevance with keyword-rich material. This can help your ranking and help a business appear more relevant to the searcher. In fact, Google will often display a snippet from a Google post to justify why it is displaying this result over others.
2. Local Content Shows Your Relevance
When customers go online to vet your business, they want to see you as locally relevant and connected to the community. Local social media communicates this message like nothing else can, with localized multimedia content and meaningful interactions with real customers.
Local social is also a potent tool for boosting consumer confidence in your brand. Frequently posted local success stories and issues relevant to the local community perform much better than generalized content. They can help your business appear more relevant as a resource, particularly when high-intent local customers are comparing your business against a competitor.
SCORE worked with agency partner Hiper and technology partner MomentFeed, to create 12 localized posts per month for each chapter, to ensure that even small chapters, with limited marketing resources have current, localized content on their pages at all times. SCORE also encourages each local chapter to layer on their own unique content specific to their market.
3. Local Connections Engage Customers
Business interactions on social media once frowned upon, are now becoming the norm, but there’s still a “right” way to do it. People still want to think of social media as a way to connect, not to be sold to.
This can be a difficult line for large multi-location brands to straddle, but it is possible. The key is to tap into each location’s unique local brand experience and its impact with area customers.
Engagement should always focus on offering value. If there’s a local community event or outreach effort that people are buzzing about on social media, your brand can participate in the conversation – but only if you have a local page and can join in authentically.
There are three key actions here:
Creating engaging content that resonates with local audiences
Following other established local pages and participating in relevant public conversations
Empowering local store operators / managers to post relevant local content to their store’s social pages
Brands can leverage a centralized platform like MomentFeed to provide local operators or franchisees with customizable social post templates and brand-approved content they can use as starting points, along with an approval loop that can help ensure corporate oversight and brand consistency.
4. Local Social Helps Amplify National Campaigns
When customized to each audience, localized social media marketing can help your national messages reach more people.
Facebook posts reach about 5.2% of your followers and have an engagement rate of about 0.25%. This might not seem like a lot, but if you have 1,000 locations with an average of 2,000 followers each, that adds up to 2 million followers across all of your locations.
With those numbers, a single post localized across all locations can reach 104,000 people and engage 5,000 with a like, share, comment, or click. Now that’s amplification!
5. Google Posts Allow You to Share Timely Offers & Events
Local social media, especially Google Posts, can help multi-location businesses get timely information and offers to local audiences. It’s a free tool that can drive hundreds of thousands – and even millions – of impressions. You create the post in Google My Business and audiences see it when they search for your brand.
Google Posts were once closed to multi-location businesses, but Google opened them again during COVID-19 to help companies distribute important updates – and experts say Google Posts aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. Many of our clients leveraged this resource during the pandemic to tell their customers about new curbside or online options, and they continue to use them as a free way to advertise new or on-going specials. In fact, Google posts that include location-specific offers can be particularly effective for conquesting deal-conscious consumers from your competitors.
6. Organic Paves the Way for Paid
When you need to guarantee views and engagement from new audiences, nothing beats paid social posts. Localized paid social media is proven to help companies increase their profits and grow earnings, and it’s much easier to implement when you already have an organic social infrastructure. In other words, you can use your organic social program to measure which posts are performing best, then boost those posts to paid. This gives you a much better chance of achieving more views and higher engagement rates.
Meanwhile, MomentFeed has helped the Midwest-based pizza chain, Toppers, successfully leverage paid local social posts. By using our platform to let franchise owners easily customize campaigns and audiences, Toppers created paid campaigns tailored to its distinct local communities.
Because Toppers had already been posting local social media, it could easily boost the adoption of the paid campaign option. With this technique alone, Toppers increased its marketing return on investment (ROI) 25 times over when compared to traditional ad spend including print, radio, and billboard.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Local Social
For today’s multi-location brands, meaningful relationships with local audiences are a must, and local social media is one of the most effective pathways toward this goal.
Local social media marketing allows a regional or national brand to create and easily distribute localized content, engaging customers with locally relevant messages. This makes it easier to customize nationwide campaigns and maximize their reach – plus get a powerful boost to your SEO.
As a local social media manager, MomentFeed can help your business effectively leverage local social media platforms. You’ll be able to create geo-targeted content and ads at scale, easily customizing and managing each post on a centralized, accessible platform. Before you know it, your multi-location brand will build the kind of customer relationships that you thought were only possible at the mom-and-pop-shop level.
Start connecting with local audiences like you’re in the same room.