By now, enterprise 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. But following the lead of savvy marketers, it’s time they go further and create unique localized strategies specifically for social media. Social users prefer localized content for its relevance, and therefore social sites deem it more relevant than other content; but there’s more than one way to get local on social networks.
Here’s a look at a few of the most successful strategies:
Build social pages for each location; link them to the local website.
I’ve talked about the strategies for using Facebook to maximize local exposure. Ideally, this includes building out pages for each of a brand’s locations that link back to each location’s local website, but this can be just as, if not more, important for other top social media sites, such as Google+ Local.
Unfortunately, several factors can 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.
Hyper-target posts to reach a local audience
Utilizing geo-targeting tools to push localized content to their social networks, including Facebook’s own post targeting tool, can significantly increase the engagement and exposure of brand posts.
Brands like Starbucks (which had more than 34 million fans at the end of July) have fans all over the world. These fans speak different languages and relate to different subjects; a single message won’t be nearly as meaningful as many messages hyper-targeted to geographic, demographic and psychographic audience segments.
If used correctly, geo-targeting can boost engagement levels which can have meaningful results. For example, on Facebook there’s a direct correlation between engagement and 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.
For enterprise 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.
Combine the two for a best-of-both-worlds approach.
If an enterprise 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 geo-targeting to further segment the messages it sends out by 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.
Don’t forget about Twitter’s more than 500 million users.
On Twitter, brands can utilize geo-targeting 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 “Brrrr. Cold weather is here to stay!” and the tweet is sent from near a Starbucks location, for example, Starbucks could respond with “Warm up with a chai tea latte!” or a promotional offer as a way to drive foot traffic to nearby locations.
It’s time to advertise.
Finally, brands should consider utilizing local social advertising to drive relevant leads to their physical locations or direct them to a local webpage in hopes of an online conversion.
Both Twitter and Facebook provide deep targeting capabilities including location, interests and a wide variety of other factors. By utilizing these targeting capabilities to serve localized ad content to relevant zip codes or regions for each location, enterprise multi-location brands can efficiently drive traffic and leads to location websites.
Brands without locations can still leverage social local advertising to great effect. Instead of driving people to physical locations, brands can leverage locale to boost the relevance of the ad’s product, offer or copy and significantly boost performance. There’s probably not a great market for snowshoes in Las Vegas, right?
Creating and maintaining pages for each location on top social media sites — particularly Facebook and Google+ — 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.
Tara Thomas is the Vice President of Sales, North America, for SIM Partners (www.simpartners.com). SIM Partners’ technology empowers major brands to maximize digital marketing results at a local level. Contact Tara at firstname.lastname@example.org.