Facebook Emerges as Key Tool for Reputation Management
It may surprise you to find out that the two platforms largely responsible for setting the reputations of national businesses and multi-location brands today are Facebook and Google. Combined, these two platforms receive a higher volume of reviews than any other sites typically responsible for reputation management, including Yelp, TripAdvisor, and industry-specific sites like OpenTable and Apartments.com.
For franchise businesses, specifically, Facebook is critical. The platform has rolled out a significant number of enhancements to help companies manage all facets of their digital reputation. And in the last year, nothing has been quite so impactful to franchise businesses as the rollout of Locations – the company’s local pages feature, which enables a multi-location business to link, and manage, individual franchise pages to the corporate brand page.
In order to leverage the network as a true reputation management tool, franchise brands must get accustomed to the three features outlined below, which can be used to enhance the online reputation of every location and control public perception of your overall brand.
Reason 1. Local Pages Make it Easier to Manage Brand in Multiple Markets
Facebook allows users to “check in” to specific business locations and leave reviews (now called Recommendations) for that location, but the user can only perform these actions if the location has a local page. When a user tries to perform either of these actions for a business without a local page, Facebook will automatically create the local page for that business. The user who checked in or left the Recommendation then becomes the page admin. This is where problems arise.
Left unclaimed, local pages can accumulate rogue content such as an incorrect logos, inaccurate business information (hours, address, phone number), and unverified posts from rogue page admins.
Claiming local pages is the first step to cleaning up an online reputation. Once claimed, these local pages become valuable tools for managing a business’ online reputation.
Local pages represent the individual business locations but perform best with corporate oversight. A collaborative effort between corporate and the local page admin is the best way to ensure it has the correct logo, business information, consistent brand messaging and photos.
A study by the Local Search Association revealed that 55% of consumers used social media to find local business information within the previous month. Businesses with accurate, up-to-date local pages will earn more foot traffic than those that have inaccurate information.
Reason 2. Recommendations Replace Reviews and Rise in Popularity
In late 2018, Facebook changed the reviews feature to a consumer feedback tool called Recommendations. This simplified feature asks users to respond yes or no when asked, “Would you recommend this business?”
After a user answers yes or no, they are prompted to add photos, tags, and additional feedback. This additional feedback must be at least 25 characters long, a rule that — according to Facebook — “should help ensure authenticity and relevance.” The feedback, tags, photos, and recommendation (or “no” response) then populate on the business’ Facebook page.
According to Facebook, two out of three users visit a local business page at least once a week and one in three use Facebook to look for recommendations of local businesses.
Business owners must enable Recommendations before customers can begin using the tool. Once a customer posts a recommendation, the page admin can respond to it. Businesses can leverage this feature, responding to all Recommendations and sharing positive Recommendations on local pages.
Reason 3. Localized Organic Posts Provide Opportunities to Leverage Your Reputation
Through organic posts on local pages, Facebook gives every local business the opportunity to leverage user-generated localized content. Seventy-two percent of brand engagement happens on these local pages as opposed to brand pages, and sharing localized content on these pages gives your business the best chance to earn engagement. Examples of localized content include re-posting photos taken by customers, highlighting a particular employee who earned a positive review from a customer, or sharing a review and thanking the customer by tagging them in a post.
Leveraging local user-generated content, such as positive customer feedback, in your organic feed allows businesses to show off their engaged, loyal customer base. In fact, user-generated posts shared to social channels receive 28% more engagement than standard brand posts.
On Facebook, social media and reputation management go hand in hand. To have a well-rounded strategy, businesses must leverage local pages and Recommendations while adding user-generated content to organic posts.
Multi-location businesses have the unique challenge of managing local pages in a way that both empowers local teams and maintains corporate oversight. By using Facebook’s tool to combine a local presence with corporate resources, franchise businesses can ensure each local business has the best possible online reputation on Facebook.
Mac Mischke is a content marketing specialist at SOCi.