With the second wave of COVID-19 spreading globally, many multi-location brands are once again having to coordinate store closures or service changes across regions. We’ve got 3 tips to guide your response.
Update your hours & services
Whether physical storefronts in your location have been ordered to close, or whether you’re closing them as a precaution, it’s important to update your opening hours online as soon as the decision is made – and with as much time as possible before the changes go into effect.
There are many networks that publish your brand’s locations’ opening hours, some of the biggest of which are Google Maps, Facebook, Apple Maps, and Foursquare. If you aren’t using a location marketing tool, you will need to update each location on each network manually.
Google has released additional attributes – badges that appear in Google Search and Google maps listings – to help brands keep customers informed about services during the pandemic. Be sure to list these on the Google My Business profile for every one of your locations that offers these services.
If you’re using a location marketing service, such as Listings, you will be able to change your attributes and opening hours for one, some, or all of your locations from one place. It’s also possible to change hours by region – for example, if you need to show that all your locations in one country have closed due to public health measures in that country, the platform would allow to you do that.
Be sure to stay up-to-date with the latest directives from the regional authorities in every region your brand has locations, as non-essential business operations continue to be put on hold in areas affected by the pandemic.
2. Communicate your changes
In times of uncertainty, it’s important to provide clear updates to your audience. Let your social media followers know what’s happening by posting periodic updates with relevant information, or direct those who can’t visit your locations in-person to your website, or an online shop if you have one.
You can also take the chance to relay important health and safety updates from regional authorities to your audience, or remind your audience to wash their hands and avoid contact with others.
On Facebook, posts from Local Pages make much more of an impact than posts to your brand page, so be sure to post from Local Pages whenever possible. Location Posts is a service that lets you post to many – or all – of your Facebook locations at the same time, maximizing the reach of your posts.
3. Converse with your customers
In addition to updating your customers, it’s important to listen to what your customers are saying to you.
Since the first round of lockdowns, Google has significantly expanded its Google Business Messages. For brands with Business Messaging enabled, there’s now an icon that will appear on Google Maps and Google Search listings, which potential customers can use to message your brand directly – and 75% of customers prefer to do so, instead of using other mediums.
While the amount of reviews you receive may decrease with reduced storefront hours, homebound people may spend more time on social media. Stay updated on the comments and mentions happening across all your social media platforms and accounts.
If you have a reputation management tool like Listen & Respond, you will be more easily able to handle reviews, comments, mentions, and Google Business Messages across accounts and platforms.
Please stay safe, and follow any public health guidelines your local authorities have recommended. If you have any questions about how to manage your multi-location brand’s response, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.