A new report published by the Local Search Association (LSA) and SOCi is one of two released last week highlighting the urgent need for brands to publish localised content on social media and across other digital platforms to drive engagement with audiences in regional markets and support franchise brand growth.
The Localized Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report provides compelling evidence that localised social marketing is delivering tangible returns for brands of all sizes. It found that the top ten performers are realising growth at a 300% faster rate than category peers over a five-year period.
“Localized Social Marketing is the key for multi-location businesses to compete and win in a world dominated by e-commerce and Amazon,” said Greg Sterling, LSA’s VP of Strategy and Insights.
He added: “When done effectively, it can propel brands to the top of organic search results, build and maintain a highly engaged base of loyal customers and drive increased traffic and, ultimately, sales to local businesses.”
Social media is now a key battleground for brands, as it has evolved into a primary driver of consumer behaviour. Platforms that were once mainly hubs for customer relations and keeping in touch with customers are now vital outlets for content marketing and other digital experiences.
Recent research by Social Media Today showed that more than three-quarters of purchases decisions are directly influenced content posted on social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, while 75% of engagement comes via brands’ local pages.
LSA said that the latest findings make it clear that a localised strategy on social media is no longer a luxury but a necessity for brands and should form part of their wider marketing strategy. LSA noted that this change has occurred during the last decade and resulted from customers demanding more personalised and local level experiences.
SOCi’s Chief Marketing Officer, Monica Ho, added: “This vehicle provides brands the opportunity to personally engage with each and every consumer and create true brand advocates. To keep pace with this trend, social media platforms are providing a growing list of features and functionalities, such as reviews, social conversations, and local Business Pages that now enable what we have come to call Localized Social Marketing.”
The joint study also found that seven in ten consumers are now reading content, including reviews, before making a purchase and that this figure increases to eight in ten for younger people aged 18 to 35.
A report released by the CMO Council last week also put forward the idea that local content and experiences based on language and culture can give brands a competitive edge, although 73% of marketers believe they are not ready to meet the needs of modern, digitally savvy consumers.
The CEO of Worldwide Partners said that enterprises need to do more solve the “localisation gap” and called on them to overhaul their strategies to help them to provide “personalised, contextualised and culturally relevant experiences.” Brands that also make use of translation and transcreation services will also give themselves a better chance of achieving new customer-centric goals.