How to harness the power of Facebook Local Pages to drive in-store sales
Facebook's 1.74 billion monthly active mobile users aren't just "liking" photos of their friends and family; they're using it to discover where to eat, shop and travel. Contributor Tom Kuhr explains the importance of knowing how to use Local Pages to your advantage.
Your brand might be doing an excellent job of maintaining your main Facebook Page, but you may have overlooked the deeper, more personal interactions happening on your Local Facebook Pages. Due to the rising use of mobile phones, Local Pages have five times more reach than national Facebook pages and eight times more impressions.
Today, there are more than 60 million active Business Pages on Facebook, and 78 percent of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. With the right tools, you can drive more sales by directing users to your in-store locations.
Maximize the benefits of Facebook
Local Pages are the future. Not only do they impact customer acquisition and retention within Facebook, but they also play a major part in search engine rankings by providing strong engagement and rating signals.
In order to maximize this benefit and increase your presence on Facebook you must:
- claim all your pages and integrate those created by non-affiliated users.
- clean existing pages by ensuring the information is accurate and up to date.
- manage customer feedback, including inquiries, comments and reviews.
- post regularly on each of your Pages to engage with fans.
Multi-location brands with dozens, hundreds or thousands of locations have the daunting task of monitoring and responding to reviews, as well as consistently posting updates to each local page. Think about updating just the business hours for 100 separate stores in advance of a holiday weekend — this is no trivial task!
Our recommendation is to select a marketing partner with the know-how, best practices and direct access to Facebook’s API, giving you the ability to simultaneously claim, verify and manage all of your pages at once.
Once you’ve established who will lead this initiative, you should direct your attention to how you can leverage Facebook’s Local Pages more effectively than your competitors. There are four main components to this:
Maintain consistent and accurate Local Pages
Time and again, when a customer tries to check in or leave a review and can’t find your official listing, they’ll create their own page. This is called a “Rogue Page” and is duplicative of your official store page. These pages can damage brand loyalty by falsely representing the brand through unofficial interactions.
There is, however, a huge silver lining. You can turn Rogue Pages to your advantage.
These duplicate pages, which include valuable engagements such as likes, check-ins, reviews and other assets, can be merged with your official Local Pages. This consolidates earned engagement right into your claimed and branded profile, resulting in an instant boost in reach and engagement.
Recency: Activating your Local Pages
Recency is about keeping Local Pages active by consistently engaging with customers and showcasing their contributions. You can increase your reach on Facebook and improve how your pages look to potential customers. The results are powerful and measurable.
For instance, Robek’s (disclosure: client), a fresh juice and smoothie franchise, was able to increase organic impressions by 250 percent through leveraging their Facebook Local Pages.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve brand mentions, social sharing and keeping your Local Pages active is by posting your customer’s original content. This authentic user-generated content (UGC) is a testimonial for your store — whether it’s a photo, quote or comment, people love to see what others think and not necessarily what your brand says.
The power of UGC lies in the fact that it’s free, engaging and sincere, making it one of the most helpful tools for mobile consumers when determining what to purchase.
Build a community of loyal customers by monitoring reviews
There is no greater validation of your brand than customer reviews. No matter what your product or service is, reviews have a major impact on customers.
While bad reviews go along with the territory, the way they’re handled truly makes all the difference in the public’s perception. You need to actively respond to highly positive (5 stars) and negative (1 star) reviews both on your brand’s main Facebook page and especially on each Local Page.
For instance, giving a dissatisfied customer the opportunity to talk directly to a store manager cannot only resolve that particular issue, but it also showcases the brand’s serious commitment to customer service. The vast majority of unhappy customers will return to your business if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.
When you’re proactive about solving customer complaints and thank those customers who do leave a glowing review, you build credibility, trust and brand loyalty.
Now is the time to engage with Facebook Local Pages
You will see notable, measurable and consistent improvements in your business when you employ the strategies listed above. Accuracy and consistency of listing information on your Local Pages, as well as active posting and reacting to customer engagement, inspires consumer confidence.
Actively engaging on these pages is critical to your brand’s competitiveness. You’ll see the results with in-store sales, higher search engine rankings and more loyal customers. If your brand isn’t giving enough consideration to Local Pages, now is the time.