The Ultimate Local Social Media Guide for Multi-location Businesses
With 4.65 billion active social media users worldwide, social media channels from Facebook to YouTube to TikTok remain some of the most influential digital marketing tools to reach a local audience. And when it comes to local businesses, local social media is not only a key tool for driving both online and offline traffic, it is also one of the primary vehicles to build a loyal local following.
In the past several years, businesses have experimented with social media and have found ways to connect their brands to real-life moments and events, creating an authentic, real connection with their customers. Today, it is one of the key touchpoints in the hybrid journey that customers experience in their purchase decisions. It is crucial for businesses operating in multiple locations to create a local social media presence for visibility and revenue.
Many argue that you can build brand awareness with national TV, radio, and print campaigns. And while there is some place for broad-reaching media campaigns in your media mix, today’s consumers prefer a two-way-media environment, where they can interact and experience the brand for themselves. Local social media is the perfect platform for national brands to create more authentic connections their customers crave.
What is Local Social Media?
Local social media marketing involves strategies directed at informing and engaging your local audience. When it comes to local social, not all channels are created equal. Channels like Facebook, Instagram, Google Posts, and Nextdoor have embraced local, allowing multi-location businesses to create multiple local pages with content unique to each business location. Other channels like Twitter, Snapchat, and even TikTok are certainly worth experimenting with, but generally, when it comes to a multi-location business Facebook, Instagram, Google Posts, etc are going to be better for your corporate social team.
A local social presence also improves a community’s trust in a business and helps foster customer loyalty. Local social media content can be:
- User-generated (customer reviews and posts, tagged posts by customers, comments),
- Business-generated (posts, event promotions, listing local specials, etc.)
- Combine both, where a business promotes user-generated content on their corporate or local social media channels.
Improve your local social content using Uberall-recommended templates
Why is Local Social Media Important?
Local social media is important for every business today. Customers may actively look for reviews on social media or stumble upon information about a business they decide to buy from. It is of particular significance if you are a franchise working towards building a local following. Here are some of the top reasons your business should have a local social media strategy.
Local Social Signals Influence Search Rank
Local social media content is great for search engine optimization (SEO). It boosts your authority in your space on multiple levels.
Search engines, including Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., see your social media channels as "mentions of your business." When those mentions match your website, search engines see your site as more authoritative. When you link to your website from social media, those mentions count as backlinks. When those backlinks connect to content that covers the same topics your website does, it creates a sense of consistency that search engines love.
Ready for some hard evidence? Here's a side-by-side comparison from one of our case studies, where one set of the company's locations created social media posts for its local Facebook pages, and the rest didn't. Check out the difference in rank improvements for the hyper-competitive keyword "pizza."
This particular client used Facebook, but Google loves content too. When you leverage Google posts on Google Business Profile, you provide the platform with more text to crawl and more information about your business, while also upping your relevance with keyword-rich material. This can help your ranking and help your business appear more relevant to the searcher. Google will often display a snippet from a Google post to justify why it is displaying this result over others.
Local Content Shows Your Relevance
When customers perform a local search to find out more about your business, they want to see you as relevant and connected to the community. Local social media communicates this message like nothing else can, with localized multimedia content and meaningful interactions with real customers.
Local social media marketing is also a great tool for boosting consumer confidence in your brand. Frequently posted local success stories and issues relevant to the local community perform better than generalized content. They can help your business appear more suitable as a resource, particularly when high-intent potential customers compare your business against a competitor.
SCORE Mentors, a non-profit organization focused on matching business mentors with small business owners, worked with agency partner, Hiper and technology partner, Uberall, to create a social media campaign including 12 localized posts per month for each chapter. With this approach, they are able to ensure that even small locations with limited marketing resources have current, localized content on their pages at all times. SCORE also encourages each local chapter to layer on their own unique content specific to their market.
Did you explore our library of free local social media post templates? Download now
A Localized Social Strategy is More Accepted by Consumers
Business interactions on social media that were once frowned upon are now the norm, but there's still a "right" way to approach interactions. People still want to think of social media as a way to connect, not to be buried in advertising and self-promotion.
It can be difficult for large multi-location brands to straddle, but it is possible. The key is to build a content strategy that taps into each location's unique local brand experience and its impact on the community it serves.
Engagement should always focus on offering value. If there's a local community event or outreach effort that people are buzzing about on social media platforms, your brand can participate in the conversation – but only if you have a local page and can join in authentically.
There are three key actions here:
- Create engaging content that resonates with local audiences
- Follow other established local pages and participate in relevant public conversations
- Empower local store operators/managers to post relevant local content to their store's social pages
Brands can leverage a centralized platform like Uberall to provide local operators or franchisees with customizable social post templates and brand-approved content they can use as a starting point, along with an approval loop that can help ensure corporate oversight and brand consistency.
Local Social Helps Amplify National Campaigns
Localized social media marketing can help your national messages reach more people when customized to each audience.
Facebook posts reach about 5.2% of your followers and have an engagement rate of about 0.25%. This might not seem like much, but 1,000 locations with an average of 2,000 followers each mean 2 million followers across your locations.
With those numbers, a single post or Facebook ad localized across all locations can reach 104,000 people and engage 5,000 with a like, share, comment, or click. Now that's amplification!
Google Posts Allow You to Share Timely Offers & Events
Establishing a local social media presence, especially using tools like Google Posts, can help multi-location businesses get timely information and offers to local audiences. It's a free tool that can drive hundreds of thousands – and even millions – of impressions. You create the post in Google Business Profile, and audiences see it when they search for your brand.
Google Posts were once closed to multi-location businesses, but Google opened them during COVID-19 to help companies distribute important updates – and experts say Google Posts aren't likely to go away anytime soon. Many of our clients leveraged this resource to tell their customers about new curbside or online options during the pandemic. They continue to use posts as a free way to advertise new or ongoing specials. Google posts that include location-specific offers can be particularly effective for attracting deal-conscious consumers from your competitors.
Organic Paves the Way for Paid
Nothing beats paid social posts when you need to guarantee views and engagement from new audiences. Local social media marketing using sponsored posts is proven to help companies increase their profits and grow earnings. It's easier to implement when you already have an organic social infrastructure. In other words, you can use your organic social program to measure which posts are performing best, then boost those posts to be paid. This gives you a much better chance of achieving more views and higher engagement rates.
Meanwhile, Uberall has helped US-based pizza chain, Toppers Pizza, successfully leverage paid local social posts. By using our platform to let franchise owners easily customize campaigns and audiences, Toppers created paid campaigns tailored to its distinct local communities.
Because Toppers had already been posting organically on local social media, it could easily boost the adoption of the paid campaign option. With this technique alone, Toppers increased its marketing return on investment (ROI) 25 times when compared to traditional ad spending, including print, radio, and billboards.
Want to get fun ideas for local social posts? Use these templates
The Most Effective Post Types for Local Social Media
You can use a variety of business-generated and user-generated content to build trust with local customers across your locations. Here are some local social content types to consider using regularly to keep that local buzz going!
Offer posts: Keep your local audience in the loop by sharing weekly, daily, or seasonal offers by promoting them on your social media channels. Posting regularly about discounts and special pricing lets your audience know what's going on in your store and helps drive foot traffic.
You can highlight if an offer is for a limited period (for example, only certain days of the week), available to a certain section of the community (for example, special discounts to celebrate Women's Day), or is for celebrating a special day (for example, pizza deals on Super Bowl Day!)
Such timely deals and discounts help drive a lot of foot traffic and cover your business targets on a weekly or monthly basis.
California Pizza Kitchen regularly posts deals on its Facebook page. This particular post offered diners a take-and-bake pizza for $8 when they purchased a sit-down meal, drawing business into local restaurants.
Product posts: Make maximum use of your local social media pages to showcase products to your customers. Display new products or inform people about a restock of popular items. Product posts are perfect to give your followers a reason to get to your store.
While planning your strategy, you can choose to make product posts your weekly feature just to keep your local audience in the know of what they can expect at your store. However, you must make sure your images are appealing and stand out in a busy social feed.
Here’s an example from Pinch a Penny Pool Patio Spa’s West Monroe Facebook page post announcing a fresh shipment of pool-side furniture available at their West Monroe store.
Seasonal campaigns: Many communities build up a sense of camaraderie by celebrating together during holidays and other seasonal events. Tap into such festive vibes by posting about your own seasonal campaign and drum up excitement among local patrons.
Target recently began an ad campaign with video tutorials for summer meals. The video offers a 15-minute healthy meal made with seasonal staples like mini peppers. It also mentioned several store-branded items viewers could buy to make the meal.
Polls: Polls are a great way to keep your fingers on the pulse of the community. You can ask business-relevant questions like "what's your go-to coffee order?" to get a feel for what the members of the community prefer or a simple engaging pop culture question like ‘Which type of coffee is Joey’s favorite?’ (hope you remember Friends!). You could even tie your polls into holidays like “What’s your favorite Labor Day cookout staple?”
Costa Coffee, a UK-based Coffee chain, regularly posts polls on Twitter, to gauge the awareness of consumers on the various frappe flavors. These polls make it fun for people to engage with the brand as well as offer a ton of relevant information on people’s preferences.
Contests and Giveaways: People love it when something is offered free! Might we add, that they also enjoy the thrill of competition? Contests and giveaways are not only engaging; they are a great way to inspire user-generated content. Have your local customers participate in contests and have them tag your business in photos and comments to drive engagements. It’s a complete win-win because they get a chance to win free or discounted merch, and get more eyes on your social feeds.
Here’s an example from a McDonald’s in Sri Lanka. The contest helps boost this location’s social media presence because followers have to like the post and tag three friends. As more people enter the contest, it can potentially triple the number of people looking at the ad and learning about this McDonald’s location.
Social Causes: Another strategy for improving credibility and building trust with the local community is by supporting the same social causes they do. Posting about social causes and issues should be woven into your local social media strategy. These posts show that you care about the community. Whether you're expanding your hours so seniors can shop before other customers or starting a challenge to help displaced workers find employment, you are showing a commitment to bettering the community - an act that will build people’s trust in your business.
In 2020, food influencer Mythical Kitchen started the #LeftoversChallenge to help displaced restaurant workers impacted by the pandemic. The challenge inspired people to order more takeout than they could eat themselves and make something new with the leftovers. The challenge encouraged people to help keep local restaurants afloat during stay-at-home orders.
Google Posts:Google Posts are similar to your traditional social media content, but they don't offer two-way communication.
Since people are using Google to research your business, a great Google Post can help you stand out. Keep your post succinct, and include relevant information for local searchers. Use action-oriented language to motivate viewers, like “stop into our location for a great deal.” Add high-resolution images of your location.
In 2021, this Core Power Yoga branch in Atlanta used Google Posts to share that it was open and hiring for new teachers. Keep locals informed with this resource.
For today's multi-location brands, meaningful relationships with local audiences are a must, and local social media is one of the most effective ways toward this goal.
Local social media marketing is key for businesses to create and efficiently distribute localized content, engage in real-time customer service, and attract customers with locally relevant messages. This makes it easier to customize nationwide campaigns and maximize their reach – plus get a powerful boost to your SEO.
As a local social media manager par excellence, Uberall can help your business effectively leverage local social media platforms to drive foot traffic to your business. You'll be able to create and distribute geo-targeted content at scale, easily customizing and managing each post on a centralized, accessible platform. Before you know it, your multi-location brand will build the kind of customer relationships that you thought were only possible at the mom-and-pop-shop level. Want to know more? Reach out to our team using this page or keep digging into the world of local social your own way using our library of free post templates.
Want to take your local social game to the next level? Get in touch with our experts