By now, large multi-location brands hopefully understand the importance of a local digital marketing strategy to ensure their many locations can easily be found online and help generate local leads.
Savvy marketers go further to create unique localized strategies specifically for social media. Social networks prefer localized content and deem it more relevant than other content, but there's more than one way to get local on social networks.
Hint: brands don't have to have hundreds of location pages, but this sure helps the brands that do.
1. Build Social Pages for Each Location; Link Them to the Local Website
In past articles, I've talked about the importance of a local social strategy for large multi-location brands and the benefits of building out that strategy. Ideally, this includes building out pages for each of a brand's locations that link back to each location's local website on some of the top social media sites, such as Twitter and particularly Facebook given the advent of Facebook Nearby and Graph Search.
Unfortunately, several pain points often keep brands from implementing this strategy, including time constraints, lack of resources, scalability challenges, and concerns about compliance and brand messaging control. Utilizing a technology platform to automate many of these tasks can ease the burden, but even if a brand isn't ready to make that investment, it should still localize its social content.
2. Post Targeting: Get the Right Message to the Right People
Brands can utilize geotargeting tools to push localized content to their social networks. Facebook's own post targeting tool, when used correctly, can significantly increase the engagement and exposure of brand posts.
Many large brands boast Facebook pages with thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of fans. Starbucks had more than 34 million at the end of July. With fans all over the world who speak different languages and relate to different subjects, a single message can't be as impactful as many messages hyper-targeted to geographic, demographic and psychographic audience segments.
With Facebook Targeting, brands can customize and localize the message to the desired audience, increasing the likelihood of exposure and engagement by making the message more relevant. On Facebook, as engagement climbs, so does exposure; each engagement creates a story that has the potential to reach the News Feeds of that user's friends.
The more engagement a post receives, the more likely Facebook will include it in the coveted news feed. Facebook approximates that just 15-20 percent of a page's fan base will see a single post from that page in their news feed, increasing the importance of localizing content to boost engagement and increase the odds of reaching more fans.
Facebook enables marketers to target posts by:
- Relationship Status
- Educational Status
- Interested In (men/women)
- Location (Country/Region or State/City)
For multi-location brands without pages for each location or brands that lack physical locations, post targeting provides a simple but effective way to put the right messages in the right geographic areas.
3. Further Segment Local Audiences With Post Targeting
If a multi-location brand has already created pages for each of its locations and set up the “Locations” relationship on Facebook, it can still benefit from using this strategy to further target the messages it sends out by segmenting according to age, gender, relationship status, etc.
Many social CRM tools have now incorporated these targeting capabilities into their platforms, allowing users to set targeting for posts while maintaining the ability to distribute a message to multiple Facebook accounts from a single interface.
4. Geotarget Twitter influencers residing near important locations
On Twitter, brands can utilize geotargeting tools to follow influential users who live in areas near one of the brand's locations. This can help to build a local follower base of potential customers in areas they service.
Brands can also use social listening tools to monitor for tweets near their physical locations that contain specific keywords, a great way to identify opportunities to provide timely, local content. If someone tweets they are sleepy and the tweet is sent from near a Starbucks location, for example, Starbucks could respond with “Wake yourself up with a grande latte!” or a promotional offer.
5. Embrace SoLo Advertising
Another tactic to take advantage of is local social advertising, which can drive relevant leads to physical locations or leverage local messages to drive online engagement or conversion.
Both Twitter and Facebook enable advertisers to target users based on location, interests and a wide variety of other factors. Multi-location brands can use these targeting capabilities to serve localized ad content to relevant ZIP codes or regions for each location, driving traffic and leads to location websites.
Brands without locations can still leverage SoLo advertising to great effect. Instead of driving people to physical locations, brands can leverage local to boost the relevance of the ad's product, offer, or copy and significantly boost performance. You don't sell too many snow skis in Miami, right?
Creating and maintaining pages for each location on top social media sites – particularly Facebook – delivers the best, most proven results, including SEO and local search gains. The right technology can make this effectively scalable for brands, but brands in any situation can leverage some of these tips to localize their social content, increase relevance, boost engagement and hopefully generate more leads and/or foot traffic.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!