Four Keys to Ensure Your Brand Has Local Authenticity Online

Brands must be perceived as reliable, respectful, and real to be considered authentic. Authenticity not only drives sales, but it also instills brand loyalty. In fact, 63% of consumers deliberately buy from authentic brands over ones they perceive as inauthentic.

Taking time to ensure that your brand is represented authoritatively and genuinely online helps build a solid connection with your audience. But how does your brand communicate that authenticity at a local level?

Here are four essential ways to build local authenticity through your localized social marketing efforts.

Be a “Human” Business

Corporations and brands can easily come across as robotic, making it difficult for consumers to identify with their content. Franchises can avoid this by showcasing the diverse personalities of employees through social channels.

Also, it is important to actively engage with your audience. A social media strategy cannot be a ‘set it and forget it’ approach. If you post a blog on your Facebook Page that receives comments, respond to foster conversation. And encourage user-generated content by sharing your fans’ content to show that you’re paying attention, and you’re valuing their engagement.

Create and Manage a Local Presence

Many don’t know that there are two types of Pages for your company on top digital platforms like Facebook and Google. While a national Brand Page is a great place to share branded blogs and content, it’s the individual Location Pages that drive engagement with local audiences (engagement on Local Pages is 2.5x higher than on Brand Pages).

If you don’t create or claim a Location Page, these platforms will automatically create one for you when a customer tags the location or checks in. When this happens, it is a missed opportunity—the customer who checks in or tags the location automatically becomes the page manager, not your brand. It is important to be proactive and claim and manage the page to better control a location’s narrative.

Create Localized Content

When you post content at a local level, strive for an authentic voice so your audience can engage with useful, appealing, accessible, and credible content.

As a franchisee or local business, the easiest way to start is by posting branded corporate content that is localized to you. From there, create content that shines a spotlight on your community involvement, local events, and specials.

There is a massive push behind “Buy Local,” so seize the momentum, and create a neighborhood feel for your location’s content. Achieve this by creating an employee of the month profile, highlight hometown team sponsorships, offer local in-season specials, and utilize local influencers to share your content to maximize reach.

Encourage and Manage Honest Reviews

While you can no longer solicit for reviews in mass, you can ask customers if they enjoyed their experience with your brand, and if so, ask if they would leave a review on Google, Facebook, Yelp or any other industry-appropriate review site.

If customers leave a negative review, respond promptly, apologize publicly, and work to amend the situation. 89% of consumers indicated a willingness to change a negative review, depending on the business’ response to their criticism, according to research we’ve done with LSA. Proper reputation management can lead to a negative review reversal.

For positive reviews, you should also respond quickly, thanking the reviewer for taking the time to share her feedback. Not only will this forge the bond with that particular customer, but it also impresses anyone else reading your business’ reviews.

Prompt response time is crucial—for both negative and positive reviews. Consumers are expecting a response to their online comments and reviews, and a growing portion expect to hear back within 24 hours.

Establishing a Local Page strategy and managing it closely, posting content, interacting with customers, and responding to reviews will go a long way in building brand loyalty. It is important not to rest on the laurels of a franchise’s national brand.

Going local isn’t just a trend. It’s an essential and effective marketing strategy.

As CMO of SOCi, Monica is responsible for developing and leading SOCi’s marketing and communications functions, as well as ensuring the company is uniquely positioned in the highly crowded social media and reputation management marketplace. Monica’s tenure in the industry includes nearly 20 years of digital marketing, advertising and research experience, including a solid foundation in sales, strategy and data analytics. Prior to SOCi, she served as Global CMO at GroundTruth (formerly xAd, Inc), where she helped grow the business from an early stage start-up to an award-winning global brand.

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