Why every multi-store brand needs a ‘localized social marketing’ strategy

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Most commerce happens offline. Beyond the roughly 90 percent of retail spending that occurs in stores, offline commerce includes trillions in services which represent the bulk of the U.S. GDP. In parallel, the majority of consumers use digital media (i.e., reviews, search, social) to interact with brands and other individuals, and those interactions influence those offline purchase decisions.

Localized social marketing. Yet when it comes to social media, many retailers and brands still have a “one-size-fits-all” approach. A new report from social media and reputation management platform SOCi (registration required) makes the case for a dual-track strategy that includes “Localized Social Marketing.”

The company defines this as “marketing efforts that focus on building a local presence for a business, leveraging locally-driven communication channels to reach the specific local communities it serves.” That includes social media marketing, review management, social advertising and other “two-way engagement channels.”

Focus on Facebook. The report focuses in particular on Facebook and Facebook local Pages. That’s partly because the network has more than 25 times the activity and engagement of other social media channels according to SOCi. It’s also number two by volume of reviews after Google. (Facebook is replacing reviews and star ratings with Facebook Recommendations.)

The report advocates a dual approach that utilizes both national and location Pages for multi-location brands. And Facebook data cited in the report shows this strategy is gaining traction, with the platform seeing 1,900 percent growth in location business Pages in the past six years.

Most brand engagement on location Pages. One of the report’s main findings, based on SOCi’s internal customer data, is that “more than 70 percent of brand engagement on social is happening on location Pages.” It says that Facebook location Pages have nearly 2x the impressions of Brand Pages and roughly three-fourths of the user engagement.

The company also identified the verticals doing the best job of Localized Social Marketing:

  1. Real Estate
  2. Agency (not defined)
  3. Retail
  4. Food & Beverage
  5. Medical
  6. Health, Fitness & Personal Care
  7. Hospitality
  8. Construction
  9. Business Services
  10. Finance

Beyond the above engagement metrics, reasons for brands to create and develop local Facebook Pages are:

  • If they don’t do it, consumers will.
  • Most reviews are going to happen on location Pages.
  • Local questions need local answers and local managers are in a better position to respond than corporate offices, in most cases.

Why you should care. Brand and location Pages play complementary roles. National pages help build or convey the brand’s image and can communicate the voice of the brand and corporate messages.

Location Pages are more relevant to local customers and can offer local knowledge with a more “authentic voice.” They can also offer local promotions and answer questions or complaints from local customers. And, as indicated, location Pages are better at capturing engagement, conversations and reviews.

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