If you have ever been tasked with managing Facebook Pages for multiple locations, you’ve probably come up against some of the same challenges faced by other franchise marketers. Often different franchisee and employees have created different Facebook Pages at different times, with their own branding and admins. The resulting inconsistency is a branding nightmare. Obtaining permission to run advertising or marketing campaigns via these Pages without some kind of central management or control can result in chaos.
Happily, Facebook continues to make it a lot easier for you to manage and promote multiple locations via one central admin. With Locations, you no longer need to jump from one local Page to the next. Instead, all your locations are connected under one, main Facebook account. This makes it considerably easier to edit locations and manage your Facebook local awareness ads.
Things to love about Facebook Locations
Locations (previously called parent-child) has been available to businesses since 2011. It continues to evolve — most recently incorporating a new naming convention for locations, and the removal of reviews on corporate (parent) Pages in favour of reviews on Location Pages. Pair these developments with new Facebook advertising products that drive users to local bricks and mortar stores and you have a perfect cocktail of opportunities for franchise marketers.
When you create new Location Pages off your main business Facebook page, all Location Pages will share your main page’s logo and cover image. This eliminates a problem with brand consistency we often see when individual franchisees manage their own Facebook Pages. Although this is the default, admins can customize each Location page by by adding a unique profile and cover photo for each franchise.
There is a fine line between establishing consistency and managing franchise Pages that resonate with local audiences. You need both. If you have opted for centrally managed Location Pages, you can still assign local franchise admins to add content that is relevant to each location.
Clearly identifiable locations
Locations uses a naming convention to clearly identify multiple franchises in the same city. If you have only one franchise in a city, the Location will appear with its city name, for example: Happy Burger (Tacoma). If you have multiple franchises in one city, your Page name will feature the franchise’s address, like this:
It is no longer possible to include an address on your corporate (or parent) Page; this Page is now intended to represent your brand or corporate HQ, not a specific location.
Reviews are associated with each Location
Once you designate a main Page (which should be your corporate Page, not a location), all reviews will be disabled for this main Page. Instead, Facebook will list customer reviews on the relevant Location Page. This has been implemented to encourage customers to review their experience at the location they visited, instead of reviewing your brand.
New advertising possibilities
Tracking store visits
Locations paired with other Facebook features such as location services open up some lucrative opportunities for advertisers. Using the store visits objective as a KPI, you can create ads for your business that not only drive local visitors to the nearest franchise, but that track how many people viewed or clicked on an ad and then visited in person. Here’s how to set up ads for the store visits objective.
Dynamic ads for retail
Merging the store visits objective with Locations, Google is currently testing new dynamic ads that will advertise products that are in stock at mobile users’ local retailers. Dynamic ads for retail will be targeted to a user’s interests and location. Each ad features an availability indicator showing that a product is available at a nearby store, paired with a store locator for directions.
How to set up Locations for your business
Begin by requesting access to Locations. Send this request from your corporate Page (not from a page that represents a specific location). Once you have designated a main Page, Facebook will disable reviews to this Page in order to route reviews to each specific location.
After you submit your access request, Facebook will send you an email to tell you whether or not you have been accepted. To make sure your application is not rejected, do the following:
- Publish your main Facebook Page
- Make sure your main Page has the right business category
- Acquire some fans (ideally more than 300) for your main Page
Once you have these bases covered and your access request is approved, you will see Locations in your Page Settings. From here, select Add a Location to link existing Pages to your main page, or to create new Locations. But take note: all Location Pages must share the same name.
When you create a new location, fill in all the requisite information: address, subcategories, opening hours, etc., and voila, you have a new Location linked to your main, corporate Facebook Page.
Managing your Location Pages
As an admin to the main Page, you will have access to all linked Location Pages via your dashboard; here you can see notifications, add, edit and remove specific Locations.
As administrator of the main Page, you can add unique posts to each local Page, or you can add a post to your main Page that will be propagated to all your Location Pages. There’s also middle ground, where you can decide on which Pages you want main Page posts to appear.
Page roles for your main Page will apply to all Location Pages. However, you can also assign unique Page roles for individual Location Pages. Where possible, train a local franchise employee to post locally to ensure each Location Page has localized content.
Bridging the gap between online and bricks and mortar
Now that most mobile users rely on their smartphones to locate nearby businesses, products and services, Google and Facebook are quickly adding new features and products that respond to this need. Features such as locations and dynamic ads for retail are becoming very effective at drawing and tracking customers from online to local franchises.
And we’ve only just begun. Facebook is well aware of the needs and revenue potential of multi-location and franchise businesses. Get ready for a flurry of new tools and advertising opportunities intended to bridge the gap between online, mobile users and bricks and mortar businesses. This is already, and will continue to revolutionize the way franchises market and advertise their products and services online.