Three Steps to Localized Social Marketing Success in 2019

National franchise brands currently have an untapped opportunity in localized social marketing. While national social pages get touted all the time for witty tweets and engaging content – just Google “Wendy’s Tweets” – local franchise pages actually have the largest impact on brand perception and customer engagement. 

According to recent research, 70 percent of engagement happens on Local Pages; unfortunately, standard social media marketing strategies often fail to address the complexities of managing and scaling efforts across hundreds or thousands of franchise locations.

How can franchisors solve these challenges? It begins with a local focus. 

Set a Social Strategy Rooted in Your Top Goals and Objectives

A smart localized social marketing strategy will fully leverage the power of each franchise as a national brand.First define the purpose of your localized social efforts, whether it’s increasing brand reach, creating brand consistency or boosting engagement. Then set measurable objectives by leveraging available data and/or by using marketing tools such as Google Analytics, and build on what is working.

Finally, communicate clear marketing guidelines and give franchisees the resources they need to succeed. Goals are only as good as your communication with your franchise partners. 

Claim, Set and Actively Manage Your Local Pages

Local Pages can hover out there like ghost towns, or take on a life of their own by gathering reviews, incorrect information, and followers. Failing to centralize ownership of local business pages is a common pitfall. It can’t be stressed enough: unofficial, duplicate, and unclaimed rogue listings and Local Pages hinder local search results and wreak havoc on a brand’s overall reputation. 

To avoid this stumbling block, franchisors must obtain access to all social properties across all platforms that represent the company. Contact franchise owners and social platforms to collect all related URLs. Claim, clean and manage local listings and every local business page to unify channel oversight. This is when your work really begins. At a minimum, you should post corporate brand content to these local pages and always keep key local information – hours, address, services, prices and menu – up to date. If you don’t, any information lapse can impact the brand experience and you risk giving control of your brand to your customers.  

Use Boosting to Scale Your Efforts

Social is the primary way to reach local audiences in a highly targeted fashion. Studies show that 50 percent of Gen Zers (18- to 19-year-olds) and 46 percent of Millennials (20- to 36-years-old) believe that social media is the most relevant form of advertising. National franchise marketers and individual franchisees spend a lot of time creating social content, but Facebook’s recent algorithm change means organic posts have less than 20 times the reach they once did. This is where boosting comes into play. 

At the end of the day, achieving localized social marketing success comes down to actively managing your social presence and engaging with your communities, especially when it comes to reviews. Four in five customers expect a response to their reviews, and 89 percent say they would be willing to change a review based on a business’ response. Responding shows consumers that you acknowledge their opinion, appreciate their time, and that you care. Any time you ignore a review, you’re wasting an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. Review sites and social media channels are hubs for conversations that your customers are having. Participating in those conversations allows you to steer the narrative around your business.

SOCi recently launched a playbook outlining the untapped marketing opportunities national franchise brands have when it comes to localized social marketing. The Franchise Playbook for Localized Social Marketing shares extensive guidance and recommendations for both franchisors and franchisees on developing and refining a comprehensive local strategy.