3 Ways Local Content Drives Customer Connections

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2020 has brought serious challenges for multi-location marketers around the world. From a global pandemic and social justice issues to a polarizing election, the news cycle has never been busier. For brands, it means that the necessity to break through the noise to make a connection with consumers has never been more important. 

Social distancing is here for the long haul, but consumers are still craving social connection. Brands can fill in the gaps by maximizing their digital presence on the key search and social platforms, such as Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp, where consumers are spending increased time online. As we move into 2021, it’s essential for brands to consider what they can do to truly connect with consumers, and here are three tips to add to your strategy in the new year.

Proactively communicate with consumers

One of the easiest ways your multi-location business can forge a genuine connection is by proactively communicating with your consumers, so proper expectations can be set. Communication is critical – especially at the local level. If your multi-location business is going through any changes, whether they are caused by the pandemic or otherwise, it’s important to be communicative about those changes with your customers, so their in-store experiences are not negatively impacted. 

Some changes you must communicate include: 

  • Temporary closures or modifications to business hours, and how that impacts each location
  • Limited capacities in your stores, restaurants, or locations
  • Changes in service offerings, such as dine-in, take-out, or delivery options for restaurants, and no-cash transactions for stores 
  • Mask requirements for staff and patrons

It’s essential to communicate these changes so a consumer is aware ahead of arriving at your local location. When it comes to how to communicate with consumers, localized content is key. A recent report found that localized content outperforms non-localized content by 12X. 

Keep your local business listings up to date

Another great way to build a genuine connection with consumers is by keeping your local listings up to date to help lessen consumer confusion and build brand trust. While this may seem simple, updating local listings across hundreds or thousands of locations is a daunting task for most multi-location businesses. When communicating with your consumers, hours of operation, contact information, and service offerings are just some of the items you should update. 

Consider updating your local listings by:

  • Claiming all local listings across the major platforms (GMB, Facebook, and Yelp)
  • Providing accurate, up-to-date information on local pages across these top sites
  • Optimizing all local pages, and filling out profiles with keyword-rich details about your business
  • Creating authentic, localized content and posting to local pages 

Updated local listings can save consumers confusion, which will ultimately help forge a connection between brand and customer. By taking the time to update your listings, you will provide a more positive experience. In turn, this could lead to customers becoming brand advocates and recommending your brand through word of mouth or reviews.

Monitor and respond to local reviews

Reviews can build immediate trust with new customers. Data from a recent report found that reviews are the number-one factor consumers consider when making a purchase decision, and consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling that they can trust a business. 

When building out a ratings and reviews strategy, it’s essential to consider localization in both the monitoring and response. Eighty-nine percent of consumers read both the reviews and the businesses’ responses to reviews. 

By responding to reviews, your multi-location business will be able to:

  • Let the world know you care about every customer, not just the ones who complain
  • Increase the lifetime value of your customers
  • Protect your business reputation with trust and transparency
  • Improve your local SEO and become more visible to customers

With a busier news cycle than ever before, multi-location businesses must get creative in how they reach consumers. You can accomplish this by being attentive, authentic, and timely in your local communications and by posting localized content on your up-to-date local business pages across the top search and social sites. In addition to updating these local pages, it’s essential to monitor these accounts and respond promptly to questions, comments, and reviews. 

The actions that you take now will help ensure your business survives the crisis and creates stronger local connections than before.

Monica Ho is CMO at SOCi.