When discussing local area marketing strategy, the question of whether brands should have Facebook pages for each location is something we get asked frequently.
And it's a question well worth asking as Facebook continues its dominance as the world’s most popular social media platform with over 2.7 billion monthly active users. Our answer, for the majority of multi-location brands, is an unequivocal YES. Here's why.
2020 is about being more local
COVID-19 has reinforced consumer's desire to support local businesses. Brands need to match this shift by engaging at a local level. Even prior to COVID-19 local social channels massively outperformed corporate pages, in the case of Facebook by 25 to 1.1
The reason is simple – relevance. The more locally relevant your content is, the more engaging it will be. Facebook is also a key source of information on local businesses, from reviews to office hours, so you need to be in the game. Plus these days, social channels are also a preferred way of reaching out to brands for a significant portion of consumers.
The 'buy local' movement is interesting for national franchise brands to ponder. Consumers may not know your stores are locally owned unless you tell them, and Facebook is the perfect place to do this.
Improve your SEO ranking
In order to gauge the relevance (and therefore ranking) of local businesses for specific search terms, Google scans far and wide across the web looking for 'citations'. Citations are ‘mentions’ of your businesses on webpages separate from your own, and having local content on a resource the size of Facebook helps a lot, especially when you add in public personal posts, recommendations and reviews.
Gain location specific insights
You can't monitor social media progress at a local or regional level if you only have a corporate page. This is an opportunity missed. Facebook Analytics is free and comprehensive with page views, page likes, reach, recommendations, engagements, responsiveness, followers, actions on your pages and basic demographics.
Individual posts will perform differently in different regions so with local pages you will be able to see which content resonates with which audience.
More precise local ad targeting
With individual local Facebook pages and a specialist app like Brand Amplifier you can target your ads within a certain radius of each location and even localise the content in an automated manner. This means you can show customers near each location that you're nearby and ready to help.
Brand Machine's Brand Amplifier app allows digital local area marketing to happen at scale across multiple local Facebook pages, Instagram and Google accounts.
Create your local pages before someone else does
Creating Facebook pages for all your locations ensures you'll maintain control of your brand in this key channel. It will discourage franchisees from creating their own page that may poorly represent your brand, and prevent angry customers from creating a location page to post a negative review (a frequent occurrence). Having official pages means Facebook will allow you to report rogue pages that are misrepresenting your brand to potential customers.
Facebook Location's store finder feature
It's beneficial to set up your local pages using Facebook's Locations tool. And when you do you'll get a nice map based store finder feature on your parent page, making it easier for potential customers to find the nearest location to them. Plus if you select the store visits objective for your ad campaign you can access store visits reporting that shows you the visits that happen within 1 day, 7 days, and 28 days after a person clicks or views your ad.
Something holding you back from going local?
While the benefit of having local social media pages is undeniable, many marketers have a view that the brand risk of local pages having poor content, or even no content, is too great, along with concerns about the difficulty of community management across multiple pages. Thankfully with specialised local social management apps like Brand Amplifier, this is no longer an issue.
So what are you waiting for? If you're serious about local area marketing, it's time to get going – and get local.