The Case for Businesses With Multiple Locations To Have Separate Place Pages On Facebook & Google Plus
In a recent discussion on whether Google+ allowed a brand page to be linked to individual location pages (for each of its physical locations) the question was posed as to why a business would risk losing control of its message by having multiple pages.
A company’s loss of control over its message or branding when utilizing multiple pages may increase as pages and managers are added, but unless it was being lax, that risk remains minimal. I often equate an individual’s or brand’s online activity to the real world. Under the premise that increase pages and managers add undue risk, why would a business want multiple physical locations? Each location adds an element of risk to the message. That risk is mitigated by protocols and policies.
I can monitor the activities of multiple locations across several states simply by being hands on and involved as well as by leveraging a host of monitoring or brand reputation software tools. In cases where I feel there is risk I can limit access to posting and changes to just myself or a handful of trusted colleagues. With respect to G+ each page gets a separate, unique login eliminating ‘cross contamination’ and hi-jacking. Random password changes require those that post to communicate with me prior to regaining access. That communication allows reinforcement of the mission and what is expected, allowed or off-limits. Having access to the page via a personal profile ensures a failsafe – not that it’s needed as I have the ability to assess the possibility of any threats based on regular interaction.
As to why I (or any) would want multiple pages:
Social Recommendation, Visibility and Personalization.
Social Recommendation: With sites like G+, Facebook and Yelp, individuals check in. They tell their friends where they are. They tag their friends. The very fact that someone is willing to check in is their seal of approval of that location, a de facto recommendation. If the location doesn’t show, they either won’t check in OR they’ll add the place on their own (which actually creates a ‘place’ that I don’t control).
Visibility: The effective frequency has traditionally been 7 – 8. Personally I feel in the age of information inundation that number is significantly higher. Multiple locations allowing those check-ins allows a business to leverage customer connections to increase visibility exponentially decreasing the time needed to be devoted by the marketing department to reach the optimal effective frequency.
Personalization. While the goal of social media is to help drive your audience, whether it’s to a website, blog, email sign up form, a retail store or anywhere else, as marketers we often miss HOW to accomplish it. Social media is designed to be social. If my business can build a relationship with you that’s more than just casual small talk, if my business resonates with you on a personal level, you’re more likely to buy, recommend and return in the future. My role as a social media manager is to make my business your friend; to be someone you want to invite to Sunday family dinner. To do that I need to get close to you (the customer). If I have multiple stores in multiple states, I cannot do that effectively from a single page.
I need to be able to connect with you based on your likes, interests, hobbies, the weather, etc. While everyone in a particular region won’t necessarily share all of the same feelings, it’s likely that there will be plenty of overlap. It’s likely that my customers in Texas will have fewer, if any, common points of interest with my customers in Washington. Separate pages allow me to connect with customers in specific markets on a more personal level. I can discuss local events, news, sports – what they care and are passionate about – those things that make the conversation personal.
While I can address local issue on a single brand page, only some of my posts will apply to a specific customers. When I know most of what a page posts doesn’t relate to me, I’m less interested and tend more likely to check back now and again, if at all. I may even hide or unfollow the business. As a marketer, a customer that feels that way will be difficult to reach and nearly impossible to connect on a personal level. As a father with 11 and 15-year-old sons I can tell you finding common activities and points of conversation isn’t easy. One will always ‘tune out’. While much of what we do is as a family, I structure time for each one individually. That time is structured to their needs, wants and desires. It creates a stronger bond between us. I use that same philosophy within my social media campaigns. (Remember my equation between the real and virtual worlds?)
Switching gears, there is a less emotional reason for multiple pages. Some things simply don’t work in some markets. That could be a product, a service, a marketing idea. I’m not too sure I would open a surfing school in the middle of Kansas or teach ice fishing in Texas. So why would I want to promote something nationally that only has limited appeal or only promote those items that have national appeal and limit my brand?
There will always be some risk in multiple locations. It does mean more work to stay on top of those risks and monitor them. The flip side allows for more exposure and personalization. It’s a risk I feel is necessary and will happily undertake.
I’d love to hear your thoughts are the use of multiple pages. Do you manage a business with more than one location? What has your strategy been? What have you found to work (and not work)?
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I am a successful small business owner with more than 20 years of marketing and sales experience. Using the same social media and traditional marketing techniques I leveraged to brand and drive revenue for my own businesses, I work with other small to medium-sized business owners to do the same. My methodology is based on my own practical experience leveraging inbound and outbound platforms with a revolutionary approach and philosophy. My methods have been applied successfully to retail, service and non-profit based organizations.