Does this describe you? You are a digital manager or social media manager at a business with more than 10 locations. You are responsible for your company’s social messaging across all platforms. Perhaps you work in tandem with a content team; or more likely, the content team is YOU.

You may manage one national page on each social platform for your company, or you may manage dozens of pages, each corresponding to a local business location. Local managers may be empowered to post and respond; or you may direct these responses using a social media dashboard.

Whatever way your digital job slices, one thing is sure: you need to pump out fresh content daily and in the case of multi-location businesses, it’s a best practice to make the content as local as possible.

For instance, one state where your business is located is enjoying a balmy fall day. A thousand miles away, another state just had a freak October snowstorm. A Facebook post to all locations such as “Get outside and enjoy this warm fall weather!” will crash and burn.  Your brand can lose credibility in a flash.

As part of your content strategy, “getting local” can take some time to master. Here are five tips for creating content that reaches deep into local markets…while still keeping your sanity.

  1. Understand your locations. It’s a no brainer to grab Google Maps and pinpoint where your businesses are located, especially if there are dozens or even hundreds of locations. Are the locations clustered in one suburb? Why? Where is the nearest city? What is a natural landmark? What is the big festival or local event each year?
  2. With your maps research underway, start a spreadsheet with your info. If some of your businesses are in Colorado, it’s an easy task to work skiing into a locally-targeted Facebook post in January. Most states have state fairs in the summer. Sports teams, local recipes, zoos and parks are all fair game. Grabbing an image from a local news source (giving credit, of course) and posting a fun comment shows your brand is engaged and not just a faceless corporate zombie.
  3. Make responses personal. Chances are, you or your staff are responding each day to customer complaints and comments. If you are responding as “the brand page” on Facebook, end your comment with your first name. On Twitter, many brands use initials after a backslash to denote who was the responder. However you respond, make sure to use caring and thoughtful comments. Apologize for the customer’s inconvenience or bad experience. And never, ever get defensive or cut and paste responses. Each contact point should be original.
  4. Make friends with local staff. It’s your job to understand what it’s like to visit, shop or dine in one of your retail or restaurant locations. Make sure to visit local locations at least once per quarter. Get to know a few managers locally so you can pick up the phone and interview them. How is the new product line being received? What can you, as the digital manager, do better on Instagram or the company blog? Do the employees follow the company Pinterest page and do they have suggestions?  If possible, get time on any company-wide or regional conference slate. Let employees know you’re looking for local content. Show off your social platforms on the big screen. People love social media and it’s a great way to get more awareness for the company’s social programs.
  5. Listen to social conversations. Managing social media for a multi-location business is a hectic job, no doubt about it. But make sure to take time to listen to what is being said about your brand.

It’s always easier to create strategy when you can be a little ahead of what’s happening, rather than always acting on the defensive. The Connectivity platform emails or texts our clients when a new review is posted somewhere online. Our “Social Buzz” tool pulls in social mentions across the web.

With information in hand, you can not only form quality responses, you can also see where trouble spots are popping up. Loyalty card snafu in Texas? The staff in Boise won’t honor national coupons? The new barbecue chips taste stale in Racine, Wisconsin? Listening in on social conversations is vital and can make your contributions to the company invaluable.

We’re curious, what are your tips for sleuthing local content for your social media presence? Tell us in the comments!

Ready to learn more? Get our Guide to Social Media for Local Business

Olga is a Senior Manager in Sales and Marketing Operations at Connectivity.