Location-Based Marketing on Facebook


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The explosion of smartphones has transformed the way retail brands and consumers interact with each other at the local store level. Consumers are using mobile devices to engage with locations by checking in, sharing photos, seeking deals, rating the retailer, writing reviews and tips, and discovering new places. Not surprisingly, Facebook has responded to smartphone adoption by launching features intended to help brands and consumers engage each other with localized content on the world's largest social network. This point of view discusses those changes. Our key take-away for retailer marketers: it's time for you to invest in a dedicated social media strategy at a local level.

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Location-Based Marketing on Facebook

  1. 1. ICROSSING POV:The explosion of smartphones has transformed the way retail brands and consumers interact witheach other at the local store level. Consumers are using mobile devices to engage with locationsby checking in, sharing photos, seeking deals, rating the retailer, writing reviews and tips, anddiscovering new places. Not surprisingly, Facebook has responded to smartphone adoption bylaunching features intended to help brands and consumers engage each other with localized contenton the worlds largest social network. This point of view discusses those changes. Our key take-awayfor retailer marketers: its time for you to invest in a dedicated social media strategy at a local level.LOCATION-BASED MARKETING ON FACEBOOK:Written by Ashmi Elizabeth Dang, Associate Director, Social Strategy, iCrossing© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CONNECTING WITH CONSUMERS THROUGH A MORE TARGETED STRATEGY1
  2. 2. 2© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY 2013LOCATION-BASED MARKETING ON FACEBOOKTHE BIG PICTURESeveral recent enhancements to Facebook point to the platform’s commitment to location-based marketing, which requires amore coordinated effort to drive meaningful engagement. In 2012, Facebook began expanding location-based features with thelaunch of the Parent-Child Framework and an updated mobile platform, which are more aligned with the way consumers interactwith retailers at the social/local/mobile level. A recent smartphone study conducted by Facebook and IDC reveals that:+ 70 percent of those who own a smartphone use Facebook on their phone; 61 percent of them use it daily+ Local search ranks in the top 10 most popular activities on smartphoness+ 46 percent of smartphone owners use Facebook during errands and shopping; 49 percent use Facebook during live eventsThose behaviors create a tremendous opportunity for brands with retail locations to connect with shoppers at the local levelthrough a more targeted approach on Facebook.LOCAL PAGES ARE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE MORE RELEVANT THROUGH HYPERLOCAL CONTENTNo retailer with physical locations can manage customer relationships with just a global Facebook Timeline brand page. To besure, a Target or a P.F. Changs can build goodwill and share information that affects the brand on its global Timeline -- butconsumers really conduct business at their local Targets or P.F. Changs, both online and offline. On our mobile devices, wetypically search for nearby store locations on Google and on Facebook mobile search while were running errands or looking for aplace to eat. We use social to check in, rate, and recommend based on our local experience. Facebook understands that reality.The worlds largest social network has launched and expanded several features that make it even more critical for brands to focuson deepening relationships with consumers through Facebook pages at the local level.PARENT-CHILD FRAMEWORKLast year, Facebook launched the Parent-Child Framework with community management at the local level which several retailbrands, including 24-Hour Fitness, Macy’s and west elm have implemented. Key features include:+ Parent [Brand] Page Locations App: The ability to create locations for individual retail stores, displayed on a searchablemap, on the Parent Page (i.e., the corporate master page, such as Facebook.com/Walmart). Each location can have a uniqueusername, such as Macy’s Herald Square (Facebook.com/MacysHeraldSquareNY).+ Child [Local] Pages: Cover Photo and Profile Picture branding can be inherited from the Parent Page allowing brands tocentrally manage overall presence on Facebook at local retail outlets.However, launching Parent-Child Pages alone is not enough to capitalize on the features of Facebook Mobile and consumersocial/local/mobile behaviors. Brands also require a strategic approach to community management to ensure they are optimizedfor discoverability, reach and engagement. Brands can enact local page community management by allowing key store staff topost local content and news, talk about products, and promote the latest in-store events. Local staff is the brand’s best resourceto provide relevant, hyper-local content. 24 Hour Fitness and Macys are examples of brands implementing the Parent-Childframework with community management through hyper-local content.SEARCH ON FACEBOOK MOBILESearch on Facebook Mobile is one of the features that Facebook is relying upon to keep pace with our mobile society. When usersperform a search on Facebook mobile, preference is given to the local page, which is deemed more relevant because of geo-targeting to one’s location. Search results are ranked in order of relevancy based on the number of friends who engaged with thelocal page, followed by that of Facebook Community overall. A local page, without content, is not likely to generate engagementthat allows retail brands to capitalize on this opportunity for connecting with on-the-go consumers such as check-ins, photosharing, recommendations and more.
  3. 3. 3© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY 2013LOCATION-BASED MARKETING ON FACEBOOKGRAPH SEARCHLaunched in limited beta on January 15, Graph Searchallows Facebook users to examine relationships withtrillions of objects, currently focusing on a subsetof content within its ecosystem: people, photos,places, and interests. Places searches include: "retailand shopping nearby," "furniture stores my friends inNew York like," and the example shown to the right.Graph Search results are indexed (in order ofrelevancy) based on the strength of the relationshipwith one’s social network connections. The strongerthe relationship between a person or a page, themore likely that content is deemed relevant andis displayed in search results. To ensure brandswith multiple physical locations appear in theseresults, local pages must be optimized to generatemeaningful engagement.FACEBOOK MOBILE NEARBY TABFacebookMobile’sNearbytabisanewlocaldiscoveryfeature that displays a list of local businesses alsobased on what is deemed more relevant to theuser. Content is ranked according to several factorsincluding friends who have Liked, checked in, rated,or written a recommendation on the local businesspage. Users can filter Nearby results by categoriessuch as Shopping, Restaurants, and Arts. If no friendactivity exists for a local page, result ranking defaultsto the overall Facebook Community’s engagementwith that location. Optimizing local pages forengagement online and in-stores is key to building ameaningful presence in the Nearby tab.The examples cited in this section illustrate the needfor community management of local pages withhyper local content that increases discoverability,engagement, and advocacy as a key component foroptimizing retail presence on Facebook, which canbe seen as "Facebook SEO."
  4. 4. 4© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY 2013LOCATION-BASED MARKETING ON FACEBOOKPROS OUTWEIGH THE CONS OF COMMUNITY MANGEMENT AT THE LOCAL LEVELOptimizing local pages for desktop and mobile can have substantial benefits, which include a brand appearing and rankinghigher in search results, increasing the likelihood of being discovered, and generating foot traffic. However, moving communitymanagement to retail employees has several pros and cons:+ Pro: Local pages have a greater likelihood of connecting with consumers through hyper local content such as news, localevents, and photos, which are authentic to the location.+ Pro: Without timely, relevant content to engage with, consumers have nothing to like, share and comment. The ability topublish timely relevant content is easier at the local level through the lens of on-the-ground employees.─ Con: Maintaining local pages requires training and guidelines to ensure success.─ Con: Having community management at the local level can be viewed as giving up control of the brand to those lessexperienced with marketing.─ Con: There is no mechanism to publish brand content across all local pages at once.─ Con: Local pages may only attract several hundred fans, which may seem like a lot of effort for little reward. However,studies show there is 5-times greater reach and 8-times greater engagement by fans reached on local pages.Brands can manage the risk of overtaxing local community managers by agreeing for Corporate to manage essential brand assetssuch as the brands cover photo and profile pages. Such an agreement helps the brand ensure consistency while empoweringcommunity managers to service customers locally.THROUGH A PILOT PROGRAM, BRANDS CAN TEST, LEARN AND OPTIMIZE FOR SUCCESS ACROSSLOCAL PAGESiCrossing recommends launching a pilot program in key retail markets for activating local page social strategy and communitymanagement. As an example, lifestyle-focused retail brands can become vibrant members of the community through a mix ofhyper-local content, which includes regional experts and influencers related to the product or service, locally sourced productsand in-store/partner events such as pop-up shops. Doing so creates a strong foundation for success at the local level. Your pilotprogram, executed in key markets, should include the following steps:1. Create a Facebook Local Page Strategy for community management at the local level. Doing so ensures brand approach insocial is consistent across all pages.2. Create and distribute a weekly content calendar with key messaging and assets for local pages.3. Select key employees to create unique content for Child pages. Doing so creates relevancy through hyper-local content,which cannot be achieved at the corporate level.4. Invite local influencers, such as bloggers and artists behind locally sourced products, to rate and recommend your store-- for example, Home Depot might enlist insight from a DIY project expert] via the Nearby mobile tab.5. Measure and optimize strategy of local page activity to ensure success when scaled nationally.Pilot programs are essential for testing, learning, and improving performance of your local pages.
  5. 5. 5© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MAY 2013LOCATION-BASED MARKETING ON FACEBOOKCONCLUSIONConsumers are engaging with retail brands on Facebook in new ways that create an opportunity for retail brands to connectwith them at the local level. Several recent enhancements to Facebook point to the platform’s commitment to location-basedmarketing, which requires a more coordinated effort to drive meaningful engagement. Moving community management to the locallevel ensures brands are optimized for greater reach and engagement, which leads to discoverability. Through a pilot program,with ongoing support at the corporate level, brands with physical locations can test and optimize its local page strategy prior torollout nationally.STAY CONNECTEDFind out more at www.icrossing.comCall us toll-free at 866.620.3780Follow us on twitter @icrossing and @thecontentlabBecome a fan at facebook.com/icrossing