A Facebook page for your business gives you a way to communicate directly with your target audience, providing them with engaging content, gathering feedback, answering customer service queries, and showing off your brand’s personality.
If you have a business with multiple locations then you have a number of options when it comes to setting up your Facebook pages. We’re going to look at five different ways in which using Facebook pages can help you grow your community.
1. One Page For Your Business
This is the simplest method for managing the Facebook presence for your business. Instead of creating different Facebook pages for the different branches of your business you have just one central page which carries information about your brand and corporate messaging but very little local information.
This method works well for online companies that do not have physical store locations, but for any businesses spread over multiple locations it has several disadvantages.
Users searching on Facebook for things to do nearby will not necessarily find your business giving your competitors an advantage. And you won’t be able to let people know about local opening hours, address and contact details. Also, when users try to find/tag themselves in specific locations they will end up creating “unofficial pages” for them, which will act as local touchpoints to other users, but that are not controlled by the brand.
2. Multiple Pages For Different Locations
A second approach is to set up a different Facebook page for every location of your business. This was the usual way of doing things before Facebook built tools to help businesses with multiple locations, but there are still lots of businesses who manage their Facebook presence using this method.
An example of this is Oxfam. It has two verified pages – its global headquarters and its UK headquarters – and a number of other non-verified pages for local branches.
In some cases, having separate pages where local stock inventory or promotions vary may work well, but for a business that wants to manage its brand identity and tone of voice across all locations, having multiple Facebook pages means it’s harder to control things.
For some businesses, particularly those with just a handful of branches, multiple pages may work well, as long as local staff have the time to manage them and they understand how to keep branding and messaging consistent.
3. One Page With The Facebook Locations Feature
If you have a business with many locations, then managing an individual page for each of them can become incredibly resource-intensive. So last year Facebook rolled out a new feature which means you can have separate location pages for each of the different branches of your business connected to your main brand page.
The Locations feature means you can manage all your individual Facebook pages from one place allowing you to add and edit address and contact information, opening hours, the area the branch serves, and other information to ensure it is relevant for the local community it is targeting. Your branding and messaging will be consistent across all the pages and you won’t have to rely on local staff to keep the pages maintained.
Once you have set up location pages Facebook adds a Locations tab to your main brand page and when users click on the tab they can see the store locations closest to them. The individual location pages also show up in Facebook search so users can easily find local businesses and if people want to engage with your business they can do so at a local level rather than with the main brand page.
Pizza Express is a company that uses the Facebook Locations feature to manage its 100s of branches. The look and feel of each page is the same and each page has local branch details.
Another benefit of the Locations feature is that it prevents people setting up copycat pages because although Facebook will verify the main page for a brand it won’t verify individual branch pages.
If your main page has the Locations feature enabled you will be able to run local “store visit” ads with the aim of driving footfall into local branches. Facebook will use user location and check-in data to track the visits to each branch so you can measure the success of your ads.
4. Multiple Pages And The Facebook Locations Feature
Another option is to have a main brand page with the Locations feature switched on plus some additional local pages. Many businesses are managing their Facebook presence in this way simply because they have legacy local pages which they have not removed since Facebook launched the Locations feature.
However, it may make sense for your business to have individual pages for local branches if your business has a strong reputation in the local community and branch staff are able to manage the page and engage customers with relevant local content.
This approach may also work well for franchised businesses where different stores are responsible for their own local advertising and promotions. As we saw Pizza Express uses the Locations features for its main branches but it also has a separate page for its Pizza Express Live branches which are catering to a different audience.
5. Multiple Pages For Different Categories
The final approach is to run multiple Facebook pages but rather than having separate pages for different locations of your business you have separate pages for different categories of your business.
An example of a company doing this well is Debenhams. As well as their main brand page which has the Locations features switched on, they also have a Debenhams Beauty Club page which has almost as many fans as their main brand page.
By setting up a page for a category of your business you have the chance to target engaging content at a very specific audience. Debenhams know that the people who shop their beauty department want a particular kind of content so by keeping it all under a separate category page it will not get lost in the noise of the main page.
For a business to be successful on Facebook, it needs to choose the method that is right for them. Many of the larger brands are using a mix of the different approaches to ensure they are getting the most from their social activity. For businesses with multiple locations it is important that you are reaching a local audience to drive footfall into your store and using Facebook pages at a local level is one of the best ways of doing this.