The Research That Reveals the Power of Localized Social Marketing

Localized social marketing (LSM) helps franchise brands boost revenue and earn loyal customers with a powerful, marketable social media presence. However, this new marketing tactic lacks well-known industry leaders, best practices and reliable data.

That changes with the newly released 2019 Localized Social Marketing Benchmark Report — a collaborative research project between SOCi and the Local Search Association that shows how localized social marketing affects top franchise brands, provides examples of effective LSM, and establishes benchmarks for successful localized social marketing.

The 2019 LSM Benchmark research studied a total of 163 franchise brands (a combination of the top 100 largest brands by Franchising Times and the 100 fastest growing brands based on Entrepreneur’s List) and examined over 16,000 individual locations and more than 50,000 local pages. The report then ranked each brand on a 100-point scale based on their performance in three key areas of localized social marketing: local social media presence, customer care including; ratings, reviews and responses for individual business locations, and local community engagement across Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp.

Localized Social Marketing: Some Brands Just Get It

After looking at these three areas and setting the benchmark, the results were staggering– the top 10 brands in localized social marketing are growing at 3x the rate of their category peers based on a 5-year trend of each brand’s revenue growth rate, revealing a strong correlation between localized social marketing and revenue growth.

According to the research in the Localized Social Marketing Benchmark Report, the top 10 brands in localized social marketing are:

    • McAlister’s Deli
    • Courtyard by Marriott
    • Culver’s
    • Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
    • Holiday Inn Express
    • The Camp Transformation Center
    • Blaze Pizza
    • Crunch Franchise
    • Planet Fitness
    • The Learning Experience Academy of Early Education

Marketers at these brands are setting the standard for LSM, making LSM best practices part of their overall strategy by localizing their social content, responding to reviews immediately, and drawing engagement from local consumers.

Consumer Behavior: Why People Love Localized Social Marketing

LSM is an increasingly important marketing tactic in part because of new localized features on major digital platforms created in response to changes in consumer behavior.

Based on SOCi research we know that 4 out of 5 consumers turn to local search when they want more information about a business such as store hours, directions, the store address or product availability. Further local searches influence purchase decisions; 50 percent of consumers who perform a local search on their smartphone visit a store within 24-hours.

When a consumer performs a local search for a business, the results often feature reviews for the individual stores and links to the business’ social media pages. Those ratings and reviews influence local search rankings, and more importantly, are the primary consideration consumers use in determining which business to go to; 71 percent of consumers read reviews before every purchase, increasing to over 80 percent for consumers ages 18-35.

The other part of the local search results, the business’ social pages, give the consumer up-to-date information including recent posts, store hours, location information and a place to ask questions and leave comments. Research shows that 75 percent of social brand engagements happen on local pages as opposed to the corporate brand pages.

Whether the consumer is finding businesses on Facebook or Google My Business, utilizing these pages and this consumer preference is a major first step towards developing a localized social marketing strategy.

The Features That Make Localized Social Marketing Possible

Localized social marketing is made possible by the rise in location-based features on digital platforms. What started with GPS enabled smartphones with mobile-search functionality has evolved into an entire localized ecosystem.

Local reviews exist because platforms like Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp have provided location-specific pages for individual business locations. Google’s Knowledge Panel — and its features like Google Q&A, Google Posts, and Reviews — make local search more informative for the consumer and Facebook check-ins, Recommendations, and hyper-local targeted advertising also contribute to the growing world of LSM. Between the search results page and local social media profiles, consumers can now often bypass a business’ website altogether.

The LSM Benchmark Report identifies the industry leaders in localized social marketing and reveals how this strategy addresses the unique needs of franchise brands such as improving organic search rankings for local stores, engaging local consumers, and driving foot traffic to each business location.

Local search and location-enabled mobile devices give consumers the power to examine every option in their local market, and multi-location businesses must develop a plan for effective localized social marketing in order to stay competitive. To start, brands can take a lesson from brands already doing this effectively. For more information about these brands and their LSM strategies, please visit

Mac Mischke is a Content Specialist at SOCi, where he helps advance the conversation around localized social marketing.

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