If you run a business that has multiple brick-and-mortar locations, one of the many challenges you face is deciding how to present your brand on Facebook. From retail chains to restaurants, small businesses to billion-dollar brands, the question arises at some point: Should we have one single corporate-run brand Facebook page, or an individual page for every location? When (if ever) is the right time to implement pages for individual stores?
To dig into this dilemma, let’s look at some questions you should ask to determine if the multi-page approach is right for your brand, as well as the pros and cons of each option.
But first, let’s look at a helpful feature Facebook offers specifically for multi-location businesses…
Facebook Locations is a page management feature offered by Facebook for businesses with multiple locations. This creates the structure of a “parent” page (the main brand identity) and “child” pages for each local store location. Admins of the parent can view/manage all child pages, and admins of the child pages can manage their page only. You also have the option of sharing all content from the parent page to all (or some) child pages.
If you look at a brand that has the Locations Feature, you’ll see “Locations” in their FB page menu, which brings up a map showing nearby locations. Clicking on a place marker takes you to that individual store’s page.
If you decide to have multiple pages for your business, Facebook Locations is definitely the way to do it. It allows you to manage all of your pages and notifications from one central location, rather than trying to set up and manage each page separately.
To get Facebook Locations, you have to request access at this page. Does this approach makes sense for your business? Let’s examine the pros and cons of multiple pages…
Pros and Cons of Pages for Each Location
- Share highly targeted content relevant to each local community
- Share each location’s events, promotions, job openings and other info unique to each store
- Helpful if your business is franchised, because deals and promotions might only run in certain areas
- Easy to do highly targeted location-based ads for individual locations
- Potential to broaden the overall fan base as individual stores promote their pages
- Content from the main parent page can be shared across child pages
- Challenge of maintaining consistent brand voice and brand standards
- Time and investment of creating content, posting and engaging across multiple pages
- Logistics of gathering content from each location – likely need a team member at each location managing social, or at least a point person at each location who can provide current information and images for that store to the main social team
- If sharing a lot of the same content across all pages, less incentive for fans to follow the main brand page
Pros and Cons of One Corporate Page
- Total control of brand standards and brand voice
- Less time and lower investment to only manage content and engagement for one page vs several
- Single centralized page for all engagement and notifications
- Can use “Audience Optimization” feature to target location-specific content to a segment of page fans in that area
- Can still target ads to users in certain locations when there is a need to share location-based announcements, promotions and events
- Less opportunity for individual locations to build engagement with their local communities
- Unmanaged pages may already exist for individual locations, which would need to be claimed and managed separately or merged with the main brand page
Questions to Ask
Still unsure whether multiple Facebook Pages are right for your brand? Here are some questions to help guide your decision.
Do you have the need for a lot of location-specific content?
If your menu items, product offerings or special promotions vary by region, then branching out into separate pages for each store might make sense for your brand. The same holds true if it’s a franchised business and franchisees have the freedom to run their own specials, events, etc. If things are more corporate-run and all locations have essentially the same specials and products, you may be fine sticking to just one page.
How many markets/regions are you in?
If you still have only a few locations, or if all of your locations are in just a few cities in the same state, you might be fine just keeping one page and one audience at your current size. On the other hand, if you have stores spread out across the country, the multi-page approach probably makes much more sense for you.
Does your business already have unclaimed pages for local stores?
If Facebook users have ever tried to “check-in” at one of your business’s individual locations, it can create a page for that business that you may not even know about. These “Place Pages” might even have reviews and customer comments, and if you haven’t claimed the page, you have no way of monitoring this activity!
Whether you decide to manage multiple pages or not, it’s important to claim any existing pages for your business. Here’s a great, detailed tutorial on how to claim your unmanaged business pages.
If you end up getting Facebook Locations, you can merge any duplicate place pages and turn them into child pages within your new Locations page structure.
Do you have the team and resources to manage multiple pages?
One of the benefits of having individual pages for each location, of course, is that you can share highly targeted content relevant to that audience, and each store can build engagement with its local community. This only works, however, if you have the team and resources to produce that high-quality content and manage that engagement. This means that the more locations you have, the bigger increase in time and investment. It also means you may need to move from having one central social media team to having a team member “on the ground” at each store, or at least in each region.
Of course, there are ways to have individual store pages while keeping investment low. As mentioned, with Facebook Locations you can choose to share the content from your main brand page to all of your child pages, so that you don’t have to develop totally unique content for each page.
Some brands even choose to not share any content on their local store pages. Those pages just provide basic info like address and store hours, and customers can check-in or leave reviews, but all the content lives on the main brand page. In this case, though, you are losing the benefit of really customizing the experience for your local communities, since you’re basically just keeping them going back to the main page if they want to interact with your brand and your content.
How will you maintain brand identity and brand standards?
If you are going to have multiple pages, especially if several different people will be managing those pages, it’s imperative to have a plan in place to ensure consistent quality and brand voice. This starts with creating detailed Social Media Brand Guidelines, which define your brand standards and address things like target audience, voice and image guidelines.
It’s also wise to have a training for anyone who will be involved with managing any social media pages for your brand. Ensure every page admin is knowledgeable about social media in general, understands the brand standards and has the tools and information to represent the brand correctly. Keep in mind the best person for this job is probably not the store manager and may not even be a member of leadership.
The Bottom Line
If you answered most of the above questions positively, it’s probably time to get started with Facebook Locations. With the right strategy and team in place, you’ll be ready to connect with your local fans and customers in a more personal and targeted way.