It’s the Year of Localized Social Marketing — Here’s Why

Localized social marketing uses specifically crafted social content to engage audiences at the local level. It’s a social media strategy that focuses on building a local presence for a business by leveraging locally-driven communication channels to reach the specific local communities it serves (rather than a broad/national approach). Localized social marketing is the biggest untapped marketing opportunity for national franchise brands, and social media platforms are rolling out new tools to help multi-location businesses capture their most engaged audience, widen their brand reach and unleash the power of brand authenticity.

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Facebook, Google, and Instagram Innovate to Help Multi-Location Marketers

Facebook gives businesses the ability to create one Business Page for their national brand and separate Pages for each of their individual locations. Any localized content strategy starts with claiming local franchise Pages on Facebook. Research shows that Facebook leads the pack on consumer engagement with local content, driving 26 times the activity seen on the other networks combined. Facebook Recommendations is another locally-focused feature that allows consumers to rate individual business locations.

Google has the Knowledge Panel — the box on the right side of search results that shows information about specific businesses. National franchise brands can expect to see one branded Knowledge Panel for the national brand and individual local Knowledge Panels for each franchise location.

Instagram is the latest platform to offer localized marketing features; the photo-sharing platform finally introduced in-app local business profile pages that provide the same kind of business information that you find on Google Knowledge Panels. Similarly to Facebook, you’ll have the ability to create separate local business profiles for each individual location.

Go Where The Engagement Is Happening

Social media platforms are recognizing the high engagement levels of localized social content and responding with new localized features. The latest data — pulled from social media and reputation management platforms — shows unique insight into the power of localized social marketing to drive customer engagement.

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According to a research report, 72% of brand engagement happens on local Facebook Pages as opposed to national brand Pages. Combine this with the report that 73% of potential franchisees use local social Pages as a premier source of decision making when considering new franchise opportunities, and you can start to see why localized social marketing is so vital to brand visibility.

Setting Local Up For Social Success

Every national franchise brand should have a social media strategy, but not all strategies lead to effective localized content. There are three common management models that multi-location businesses use to manage social media; centralized, decentralized and hybrid.

If you’re using a centralized model, it means that all social media is managed at the corporate level. Franchise owners don’t have to worry about creating their own content, but they also don’t benefit from custom localized content.

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A decentralized model requires that each franchiser create their own social media content. This helps the company as a whole create custom localized content at each location, but it’s difficult to maintain a consistent brand across locations without corporate oversight.

A hybrid model requires cooperation between the corporate level and the franchise level. Corporate social media managers provide franchisees with branded content, and franchisees supplement that branded content with a localized spin. This model does require a technology tool that can facilitate approval and content sharing, but the end result is worth it.

The right model can help franchisers and franchisees take control of the factors that affect local brand visibility such as social content, mentions of the brand in social conversations, and reviews for individual franchise locations.

As a marketer for a national franchised brand, you can be the powerhouse that drives brand awareness, customer loyalty and new sales. Localized social marketing can be your go-to tool for engaging local consumers, giving you the ability to revamp your nationwide franchise marketing plan around the relationship between your individual locations and the neighborhoods they serve.

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