These days, customers are doing their due diligence before making a purchase or visiting a location. They’re spending time comparing products or businesses, reading reviews, and asking the opinions of friends. One of their go-to channels to consult? Social media.
Consumers are turning to social media to find whatever it is they’re looking for—preferably in the closest proximity to their location. In fact, 54% of social users conduct product research on social media.
So, what does this tell us? Potential customers are logging on, scrolling, and learning everything they can about a product or service before making a decision. Thanks to online reviews and tools like Facebook pages for businesses, customers have more information readily available to them than ever before.
Plus, with there being 3.725 billion active social media users as of 2019, it’s all the more important to have a solid social media strategy in place.
In this article, we’re sharing how you can create a winning multi-location social media strategy. But before we jump into it, let’s talk a bit more about why social media is so vital for multi-location businesses.
The impact of localized social media marketing for multi-location businesses
You’re probably swamped promoting your business and fine-tuning your marketing.
The last thing you want to think about is adding another big item on your to-do list.
But the impact social media can have on your business is one that can’t be ignored. According to a study from eMarketer, 15% of all US consumers use Facebook to shop. What’s more, a whopping 83% of Instagram users report discovering new products or services on the platform, and 80% use Instagram to decide whether or not to buy a product or service.
It’s clear that consumers are not only using social media to research and consult the opinions of those they trust regarding their experience with a business, but they’re also using these channels to find new businesses.
By being present on social media, you can build a community, engage with your fans, make it easier for new customers to find you, and increase the likelihood of them turning into lifetime customers.
So what does this look like in practice?
Benefit from recommendations
Think about your own personal social media channels. How many posts do you see like this:
People look to social media often for recommendations on just about anything. Specifically, with Facebook’s Recommendation feature, when people reply to a post, Facebook pulls information from the locations mentioned. Also, local businesses will be tagged automatically, which is visible to not only the original poster but to anyone who commented or happens to scroll by the post.
Being present on Facebook can have a significant impact on the discoverability of your business. It also allows your customers to sing your praises and share with others who might be interested.
Build your community
There’s no question that social media is the premier channel for cultivating a community (hence, “social” in “social media”). Your social media channels allow customers to share their love of your brand, find like-minded people, and sing your praises.
Posts like this one from the national grocery chain, Kroger, are a great example of the community they’ve built on Instagram. This post, in particular, reinforces to the community that Kroger fits into their everyday lives—even on National Pizza Day.
Share updates and promotions with a click
Want an easy way to reach a ton of people in a short amount of time? You guessed it—post it on social media. Avoid negative reviews by keeping your customers informed, especially during current events like the impact COVID-19 is having on your business or locations.
The viral nature of content these days can be a massive benefit to your business from a marketing perspective. It’s also a great way to communicate important details to customers. For example, maybe one of your locations is closed due to a power outage. How can you communicate that information to as many people as possible? Post it to social media.
Also, you can create demand and exclusivity by posting promotions or discounts to individual social channels. For example, you could have a BOGO offer that can be redeemed in-store, but only for customers who can show the clerk the tweet or Instagram post with the promotion details.
This is also a great way to encourage people to not only follow your brand on social media but to share your posts, too.
Create a winning multi-location social media strategy in 4 Steps
There’s no question that Google My Business (GMB) is a great place to start when building your online reputation. In fact, a report from Uberall found that businesses that increased their GMB star rating from 3.5 to 3.7 within a year saw a conversion growth rate of 120%.
But building your reputation through other channels is just as important. Channels like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and others are critical to creating your online reputation. Multi-location businesses can’t afford not to have a presence on various online channels According to Yelp, the platform has an average of 38 million monthly mobile users and had 2.6 million seated diners in Q3 of 2019. To top that, according to TripAdvisor, the platform has 460 million monthly average unique visitors and has roughly 830 million reviews and opinions.
Those numbers are hard to ignore.
So, where do you start? Let’s take a closer look.
#1: Identify your channels
Not every channel is going to be great for your business, and that’s OK. Some channels might be better for other industries or locations. It’s essential to experiment with each channel—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. to see what’s going to help you make an impact.
Facebook, however, is one to invest in, no matter your industry or business. With features like the “About,” “Community,” and “Reviews,” tabs, Facebook Pages are built specifically for businesses and supply you with the tools you need to get the most return for your marketing efforts.
#2: Build out your channels
When customers are searching for information about your business on social media, like when trying to locate your business, find your hours of operation, and other details, it’s important not to give them any reason to doubt you.
Completing your profile with a profile picture, header image, and correct handle or page name all play a role in how you’re perceived online. If customers are questioning the validity of your profile, or if it’s even the official account, you’ve got a problem.
In fact, when Hackensack Meridian, the largest non-profit hospital in New Jersey, began focusing on completing their business listings saw an increase in listing views by 243%, an increase in phone calls by 269%, and an increase in website visits by 206%.
Take the time to complete your profiles and keep them updated. This should be part of your account creation process when you start.
This Facebook profile from the coffee shop, Plymouth Coffee Bean, is an excellent example of a complete page.
- The page name is clear and spelled correctly
- The profile image and header image are the correct sizes
- The “Our Story” section is complete
They’ve added events they hosting at the shop so followers can attend or share them with others
They’ve added their address, phone number, website, and other contact information
Set aside some time to complete your profiles or go through and make sure the information on them is correct. It’s worth it!
#3: Set clear guidelines and expectations and hold each location accountable
It’s important to set expectations and standards for each social media channel you have (as well as other marketing channels as well). But it’s especially important when managing several locations’ social channels.
You want your brand to be uniform across the board, from how you respond to/engage with customers to your overall tone of voice and what you post. Everything should be consistent—that’s critical to establishing a brand that people recognize.
Have a centralized place, like a review management platform, where monitoring your location pages from one dashboard, is easy. A dashboard lets you view what’s happening with each location page and enables you to watch for consistency. It also makes it easier to manage your pages all at once.
#4: Measure your efforts
Just as you would with any other marketing effort, measuring your social channels’ growth is imperative to see what’s working and what’s not working. Social media channels have their own analytics tracking within the respective platforms, which makes it easy to see how you’re doing in a cinch.
If you’re looking for a more all-encompassing analytics tool, opt for something that allows you to sync your profiles in one dashboard. This will help you compare the performance of your channels faster and easier, as well as help you truly gauge your ROI.
Measuring your efforts helps drive your future strategy. If you aren’t sure how your social media channels are performing, it’ll be more challenging to make the best decisions for your marketing.
Social media is the key to connection
It’s essential to be where your customers are online. Providing them with several avenues to connect with you, learn about your business, or perhaps even discover your business is key to capitalizing on the power of localized search.
Want to learn more about how Let Us Respond can help you streamline your review management strategy? Contact us today, and a member of our team will help you find the right solution.