Managing Social Profiles for Multiple Business Locations
Our team works frequently with businesses that are just starting to establish an Internet presence. While creating an SEO strategy for one of our newest clients that just launched their first website, we were faced with an important question.
This particular client has two business locations that provide the same services, but operate independent from one another. Demographics, promotions, and product selections are different. While they both have the same branding, their sales and marketing goals are of two completely separate businesses.
Taking into consideration the immergence of SEO with social media, we had to ask ourselves:
For businesses with multiple locations, what are the rules for setting up geo-targeted social profiles?
How will it affect branding?
How will it impact SEO?
After some research and experimentation, we discovered that organizations, especially small businesses, benefit in search results from having geo-targeted profiles on certain platforms.
So, should your business create individual social profiles for multiple locations?
Twitter – Yes!
The purpose of Twitter is to share real-time, segmented information with your audience. A tweet’s shelf life is not very long, so you want it to be as relevant as possible to your followers. Multiple Twitter profiles make sense if your locations are running different promotions, have different events calendars, or are sharing news about their respective communities. Twitter bios and tweets can appear in search results, so make sure that your profile is fully optimized with your brand, location or area served, and services or products.
Facebook – Depends.
Facebook offers a few different ways to promote a brand, place, or company. The way a business creates their Facebook presence depends on a.) Who is controlling their social presence; b.) How much time and effort is being spent on social media management; and c.) What the company’s marketing goals are.
Here are three of the most popular ways for multiple business locations to have a presence on Facebook.
- Corporate Page AND Individual Pages – Along with a corporate profile that represents the brand as a whole, each location has an individual page run by their employees. While the profile picture might be the same as corporate, the individual pages could choose their own cover photo, create albums specific to their store, and post updates to their own timeline.
- Corporate Page AND Places Pages – If you want to keep your company’s Facebook presence to one profile, the most ideal set up is to create a corporate page and still have Places pages for all of your locations. In this situation users will get updates from your brand page yet be able to check into your locations.
- Corporate Page AND User Profiles – In the service industry especially, employees may want to showcase their own personal work. For example, a tattoo artist or make up artist might want to create a photo album for their latest designs or wedding make up. Personal pages give employees an outlet to do so while still promoting the company. Some businesses give their employees guidelines as far as what information to include and how the profile can be used.
LinkedIn – No.
People turn to LinkedIn as a professional resource. By managing one profile for your brand, you are able to get more followers and keep a cohesive image. Breaking out into geo-targeted profiles is too confusing on this platform and would spread your audience too thin. If people are searching for your business on LinkedIn then they most likely already know about it, so it’s not worth it to inhibit your branding for the sake of SEO. It’s also easy to post updates and job openings specific to different branches or franchises right from one profile.
YouTube – No.
Like LinkedIn, YouTube is more about branding than SEO, especially for small businesses. Don’t get me wrong—it’s a great idea to optimize your YouTube channel and videos for your geo-target and we strongly recommend it! However if you are a small business, it usually ends up costing a lot of extra time and money to manage multiple channels. Not to mention you might end up too little material to maintain several channels or uploading the same videos to all of them.
Google+ – Yes!
Be sure to create a corporate page as well as separate pages for all locations. This makes sure that Google can find and display all of your locations in search results. You can easily create local pages from a single Google+ account. If your business has more than 10 locations, use the bulk upload function, which asks for an Excel sheet containing the address, phone number, email address, etc. of each. Also make sure that there is a corresponding local landing page on your main website that can be linked to the G+ page.
No matter which social platforms you’re using, be sure to optimize for your location or service area as these profiles have potential to appear in search results. This goes for Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, and many others.
Check out Boomtown’s Google Hangout below to see some great examples of brands that use geo-targeting through social media!