Four Ways to Drive Local Engagement

By Mariah Larson
  • 05.24.19
  • 5 Min Read

If you’re in charge of the marketing for multiple business locations, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunity to provide each location with a strong online presence and a unique voice that personalizes customers’ experience. For multi-location brands, 85% of consumer engagement takes place on pages that represent business locations, not brand pages, and on every social media platform. This can be an alarming statistic for brands, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve outlined four ways you can empower your local owners to take on marketing at the local level to drive engagement within their communities.

1. Local Listings

For a long time, a business could list its phone number or address in the Yellow Pages and be good to go. But with the increase of digital use, consumers turn to Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and more, making it a challenge to ensure all the listings are accurate and easily accessible. So, why do we need to “manage” this location information? Last year, 60% of searches came from a mobile device. In a world where consumers are turning to smart phones for their source of information, they are relying on the listed business information to be correct. If a business’ location details are incorrect or inconsistent, they risk getting overlooked by mobile-first consumers who are searching for immediacy and relevancy.

Before you’re able to take part in some of the exciting marketing opportunities available, you first have to claim all business listings and make sure each individual location’s information is accurate. Here are a few tactics to start the process:

  • Understand who your consumers are and where they are looking to find you.
  • Utilize Google My Business
    • Create Location Groups – groups of business listings that can be collectively managed by an organization or user group. Sorting your locations into groups makes it easier to keep organized and you have the ability to apply changes across multiple listings at once.
  • Initiate a claiming process:
    • Who will be auditing/claiming the listings?
    • What is the timeline to have this completed by?
    • What format should information be displayed (i.e. St. vs. Street, etc.)?
    • How many listings do you plan to audit/claim?
  • What is the process of responding to reviews/comments, and who will be responding?

2. Social

It takes a lot of time to create and build up a corporate brand, and effectively managing and continuing to maintain brand guidelines while speaking with a locally-authentic voice can be a challenge for a company with multiple locations. Below are a few guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to social media and maintenance between corporate and franchises:

  1. Consistency

For the purpose of consistency, it’s important to rely on corporate communication standards, as they typically have a marketing team behind them working on social strategy and implementation. They should be the ones to create and enforce consistent guidelines that all locations should follow. To keep the balance of corporate and franchises, it’s important to stay in frequent contact with local owners so they are in the loop about what will be posted on a corporate level and where they can post localized content to fill in the gaps.

  1. Coordination

It’s important to coordinate corporate and local franchise content, especially in terms of social, to keep things consistent while making authentic connections with a more engaged local audience. Having a community-centric social presence is helpful in boosting brand loyalty, which allows you to stand out from competitors and broadens reach as social referrals and recommendations within communities are gained. Providing each location the ability to respond to local reviews presents the opportunity to build a personal interaction and leverage local aspects of your brand.

  1. Focus on Importance of Community

Social posts should always be relevant to individual locations. For example, if a consumer was living in Sioux Falls, SD, and saw a corporate Facebook post for Hobby Lobby, the post might not draw as much attention as if it was a localized message referencing an event at the Sioux Falls Hobby Lobby location. Because consumers respond better to localized content from local merchants rather than corporate posts. In fact, Facebook posts from local businesses reach five times as many fans as corporate posts do.

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3. Local Emails

It shouldn’t be a surprise that an email strategy is now expected from customers. But what some brands don’t account for is an email strategy at a local level.

A great way to empower local store owners to take ownership of marketing in their community is to provide one or two custom email templates that can be tweaked and sent out to their local email list at any time. These templates should follow brand standards and should already include design blocks to choose from. Provide options for the hero image and prepopulated blocks that have images and content centered around general branding messaging. That way, the local owner can hop into the platform, add the details regarding their local messaging and send cohesive, branded content to their local list.

4. Asset Library

Giving a large number of local owners the ability to run marketing might seem a bit risky, especially if the efforts won’t go through your office first. So it’s up to you to ensure they have everything they need to produce materials that align with the company’s brand standards. One way to counteract the possibility of off-brand materials is to create an asset library, which can consist of photos, video clips, icons, logos and more.

Local store owners don’t always have the time or creative ability to produce marketing materials from scratch (think social assets, flyers, emails, etc.). Arm local owners with assets and resources so they can promote their store within their local communities without being tempted to use off-brand materials. Assets should include different versions of your brand’s logo to fit different design needs and social media, email and flyer templates stores can fill in with local offers or campaigns. Also, be sure to equip them with a brand standards guide so they can check their work before making any materials public.

Apply these four tips to empower your local owners to produce content at a local level, and you will see improved community engagement and overall brand presence. For more tips or help implementing your new strategy, reach out to L&S and we’ll be happy to assist.

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