Running a business is difficult. You are being pulled in countless directions at any given moment and required to not only be an expert in your field but also an expert at marketing yourself. Between your website, Google rankings, and good old-fashioned standard ads like newspapers or radio & television, adding one more marketing tier in the form of social media, and specifically Facebook, could seem like more headache than it’s worth. However, with a 10% increase from last year to 2.6 billion monthly active users or (MAUs), and the fact that Google indexes content found on Facebook and uses it as a signal of popularity and relevance of businesses for local searches means it simply should not be avoided.
It’s easy enough to handle a page when your business has one location, but what about multi-location businesses? Well, in true Facebook fashion, the platform offers a number of options when it comes to multi-location business pages. There are three distinct choices a business has when it comes to branding themselves on Facebook. A business can have:
- One corporate Facebook page
- Multiple business pages for every location
- Facebook locations which has a corporate parent page and then secondary location pages which are umbrellaed under the parent page.
The question is, which one is best for your business? We’ll investigate the pros and cons of each below.
One Corporate Facebook Page
- The biggest advantage to choosing the one corporate page route is simply that it’s one page. Everything is controlled in one place, it’s one page to share information through.
- The corporate messaging of your brand is kept secure from individual locations going rogue on social media, as can happen from time to time.
- The resources required to manage one page are lesser than those needed for multiple pages.
- Generally speaking, unique locations of a business, even when those locations are found in the same city, have their own personality. Little nuanced differences that one corporate account may not be able to showcase correctly. Different business hours, different service and menu offerings, even different deals.
- From a local SEO perspective, your strength lies in focusing on the area closest to your business. One account doesn’t allow you to highlight what makes each location unique, as well as multiple pages, would.
Separate Multiple Facebook Pages
Another option Facebook provides to multi-location businesses is having a separate Facebook page for each location of the business. The advantages from a local SEO standpoint circle around that word, local. Just remember, when it comes to listing your Facebook as your website on G+ local pages, Google’s stance is “Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or “refer” users to landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business, including pages created on social media sites.”
- Each location gets to share the information that pertains directly to their location. They share their deals, their staff photos, their office layout, and it gives searchers a feeling of knowing a business before even stepping foot in it.
- As each page is its own entity it provides you greater presence online as well. Each one serves as its own citation for your brand.
- Reviews are another advantage to having multiple pages. Most people, when sharing on social media about their experiences, have local intent in mind. You rarely see someone wanting to compliment or complain about a business on a corporate level as a whole for their experience. Their summations are usually targeted towards the physical place they went, ie. the Dental Office in West Delray Beach that they want to share about the great interaction they had with the friendly hygienist, as opposed to sharing what a great brand they think this network of Dental offices is.
- The drawbacks of using separate pages for each location of your business come in the way of resources and brand messaging.
- Each page has its own username and logins which can be annoying to deal with.
- Finding and creating unique content for multiple pages can be a huge time suck, especially if deals and information are quite different from location to location, negating the ability to copy and paste from one page to the next.
- Brand consistency can become an issue when each page is running autonomously. Depending on who is posting content to each page, perhaps a franchise owner or employee from a certain location, the messaging for your business could get muddled or worse contradictory to your company’s values altogether. It’s something to be mindful of when determining which course of action is best for your business.
Serving as a sort of hybrid between having one corporate page and multiple separate pages is Facebook Locations. This is a tool designed by Facebook to help multi-location businesses. A corporate parent page has ultimate control and serves as the main representative for the brand is set up and then a number of location pages under the corporate page can have unique local-specific content shared on them.
- An advantage to Facebook Locations is that there is only one login for the parent page and all of the subsequent location pages are accessed through the parent page.
- Information that pertains to the brand as a whole can be shared on the parent page which will then trickle down to each location page. Content that is location-specific can be shared on a location page only. In this way, company-wide information is easily shared, as are local events, office pics, or staff bios to certain pages.
- The parent page is not only useful for sharing company content but also serves as a hub, a map on the page shows where each location of the business is located allowing users to find the one closest to them. And the locations tab lists all of the location pages so that someone checking out your business can get a sense of how big you are or check out the differences between locations as in appearance, deals, or even reviews since reviews can be posted to location pages. Also, people are more apt to share about an experience at a particular location vs. the brand as a whole.
- Because the parent page has full access, it is also easier to monitor brand messaging from page to page and make sure there is consistency. As far as the workload to manage Facebook Locations, it’s up to the individual company whether a singular employee monitors company messaging, or if you want to allow each location to run their own location page. If you do choose the latter method it is helpful to provide a guide to locations for what is and isn’t acceptable when posting content.
- None really.
Which is Best?
While Facebook Locations offers the most flexibility and options for multi-location businesses, and incorporates the advantages of both a single page and multiple separate pages it is not necessarily the solution for all businesses. Facebook Locations is best for multi-location businesses that have a main brand to be represented but also have unique local content to be shared, ie. different deals at different locations. It is also best for businesses with more than five locations where sharing specific address information could become confusing on one page.
For businesses that have 2-5 locations with little unique content from location to location, one corporate page makes the most sense since it is the most efficient use of time. For example, Vitex, an alarm system company in Florida, has three locations but the deals that they offer are the same across locations, and since for the most part consultations and technicians come to people’s homes rather than having people come to their office, it makes the most sense for them to use one corporate page to cover their Facebook social media needs.
Separate pages would really only make sense for businesses that have little connection to their other locations. For example a network of dentists that, for the most part, don’t have the same branding, the same employees, or the same deals from office to office.
Facebook and social media as a whole isn’t going away anytime soon. When used effectively it can be a powerful tool in your marketing toolbelt, but it is ultimately for you to decide the best way to wield the services it provides for your business.