Marketers, specifically multi-location retailers and franchise organizations, were recently confronted with a new Facebook-marketing reality. What was once a relatively "top down" process of managing one's brand from a single Profile Page, has now given birth to a "Child/Parent" dynamic that is hyper-local.
While Facebook Places launched almost a year ago, the improvements released recently send a clear signal to retail brands: think and act local. First let's review what's been rolled-out then we'll have a look at the implications for brands with multiple locations.
New Enhancements to Facebook Places
Generally, the changes are focused on establishing a relationship between "Parent" Pages (heretofore called "Page") and the "Child" Pages (let's call these "Place Pages") for each of the company's locations or stores. Access to these features is still limited and accessed through a Facebook Account Representative. Specifically the following features have been added:
- Locations Tab: This optional tab would appear on the main Page. The Locations tab will display nearby locations for a user and enable them to search for locations by zip code.
- Linking Parent/Child Pages: A link to the Page will be displayed below the name of each Place Pages.
- Total Check-ins: An aggregated tally of Place Page Check Ins will appear on the Page.
- Places Page Management: This one is for the monitoring/moderation companies out there. Administrators for the Page will have admin access to the Place Pages.
- New Pages API features: This one is for the more advanced developers out there. Dashboards can now be created to edit all these new Place Pages efficiently using new API features, including the wall settings, custom tabs, etc. Particularly exciting is Check-in Deals can now be created and edited for multiple Place Pages.
Implications for Marketers with Multiple Locations
- Stake your Claim- Establish your Places It all begins with claiming your Place Pages and owning your corner of the Social Graph. Once established, you'll be surprised how many of your customers begin checking in and "liking" those local stores right away.
- Add Local to your Social Plan Just when you thought you had Facebook marketing figured out for one Page, now there the many "children" to consider. How are you going to manage these Place Pages? Who will monitor and moderate Comments and Wall posts? What is the role of your store managers and franchisees? How will you track customer service at this local level? These challenges will scare off many of your competitors. Let it. You alone will own this busy intersection of Local and Social.
- Remember "Place" is just one of the Four P's The Four P's have been around since the 1960's but until now, seemed absent from most Social Marketing plans. Product, Price, Place and Promotion all have a staring role in your new Social-Local Marketing Plan. Adding Facebook Deals and creative Check In promotions have the power of driving foot traffic and immediate sales. Always use this power for good, not evil.
- Never forget the fifth P, People Pay special attention to that which makes you successful in Social Marketing- the People. Your Fans have liked your Page with the expectation that they're subscribing to news from and opening a line of two-way communication with your brand. Now they will do this, with the same expectations, but through a local lens. Exceed these expectations. Surprise. Delight. These People may be the best customers you'll ever have.