Our Customers Talk about the Limitations of Location Store Pages on Facebook
There are two ways you can structure a multi-location brand or franchise on Facebook when you have multiple local pages.
The first way you can structure your business is by setting up a brand page for your brand to represent your core brand values, ethics and purpose. You can create separate business pages for each of your brand’s locations along with your brand page. This allows each store to have an online presence, manage incoming messages directly and have autonomy when it comes to advertising on their page and ownership of their page.
When setting up a business page for your brand on Facebook, you have the option to create stores for your business. When you set up stores for your business, a Page structure will be created. A Page structure contains a main Page and multiple store Pages for each physical location of your business.
The default name will be the existing Page name with a location descriptor. The location descriptor is "(City)" or "(Address, City)" if there are multiple locations in the same city. For example, if your main Page is called Jasper's Market, the names for your store Pages could be "Jasper's Market (Manchester)" or "Jasper's Market (123 High St., Manchester)". Admins can change store Page names and create a username in Page settings. Your brand page will then function as the "parent" page for a brand's online presence, featuring high-level content that represents the brand as a whole.
Location pages attached to the main parent page will mirror the content of the brand page in one click. A brand with hundreds of store locations might have hundreds of location pages, while these pages mirror the brand page, each page also contains information that is specific to the geographic area the business serves.
While structuring your business page like this has advantages such as ensuring brand consistency across location pages and allowing the brand to post brand content as well as unique content curated for a local audience, there are a few drawbacks we have experienced while working with brands that have created their brand page in this structure that we wanted to make our customers and future customers aware of.
In this article, we explore the drawbacks of relying on Facebook location pages and advocate for the setup of individual Business Pages for each location. We also talked to two of our customers who had previously set up their brand’s pages in a Global Brand Page structure about how they found it and what their experience was like.
- Limited Customization and Branding
Listing pages on Facebook provide minimal customisation options, limiting a brand's ability to showcase the unique identity of each location. Individual Business Pages, on the other hand, offer more extensive customization features, allowing businesses to tailor their content, visuals, and messaging to better resonate with local audiences. This personalized touch can significantly enhance brand perception and customer engagement.
- Inability for locations to opt-in to brand posts - they have to choose none or all
As stated by Meta, “You can publish posts from the main page of a page structure to all the other store Pages. The post from the main Page will automatically be shown on the store Pages. They are not separate posts, but one shared post instead with common metrics (likes, comments, shares).
By default, automatic publishing to all store Pages will stop as soon as you publish a post on a specific store Page, instead of the main Page. The feature will remain active for all the store Pages that have no original posts.” Therefore, Facebook restricts bespoke content creation for all local pages within a local page structure.
- Lack of visibility of brand posts on followers' newsfeeds
One of the main attributes that a brand is trying to achieve when having pages for each of its locations is a higher local reach and local connection. One of our partners received quite a few complaints from local customers about their local audiences not seeing their Facebook content on their newsfeeds. They created a few test cases where they followed these location pages and then posted content on both the brand and location pages. No one from their team could see this content appear on their newsfeed. This is a big red flag! If local audiences are not fed content on their newsfeed and have to visit the location page to see this content, they are not being targeted with organic posts and a brand will have to spend additional money and time to target them through advertising.
When this customer turned off the mirroring post feature and created unique posts for each store, local audiences began to see their local store’s content once again in their newsfeeds.
- No differentiation between location and brand page names
When a customer searches a local store that they want to follow and engage with, it is very difficult to know if you are following the brand page or the location page attached to the brand page. In fact, I have to hover over the name to see the location descriptor. This can dissuade local supporters from following a location page if they want to connect directly with those retailers and employees within that store.
- One Inbox - Confidentiality and Security Concerns
Meta mentions that Global brand pages have the advantage of managing all store details in one convenient place. When reading this, you may not realise that the location page’s inboxes are included in these details. Each page’s inbox gets collated into one big, brand inbox which can lead to several issues when managing customer interactions from Head Office.
If multiple individuals have access to the same inbox, it can lead to potential breaches of confidentiality. Sensitive information, customer queries, and private conversations may be viewed or mishandled by individuals who should not have access to them. It can result in delayed or duplicated responses, leading to a poor customer experience.
Not all team members need access to every conversation in the inbox. Some information may be sensitive or relevant only to specific retailers or store locations. With one shared inbox, controlling access becomes challenging, increasing the risk of data mishandling.
- Neglecting Local SEO
Individual Business Pages contribute to better local search engine optimization. Each page can be optimized with location-specific keywords, enhancing the chances of appearing in local search results. This is especially critical for brick-and-mortar businesses seeking to drive foot traffic to their physical locations. A centralized listing page may not provide the same level of SEO benefits for each location.
- Decreased Customer Interaction
Local pages often receive less direct customer reviews and interactions at the location level. Individual Business Pages empower businesses to engage with their customers on a more personal level. Responding to reviews, addressing customer concerns, and sharing location-specific updates become more seamless, fostering a stronger connection between the brand and its local customer base.
- Increased Risk
Pages get taken down from time to time, when that page is a location page, tied to a parent brand page - ownership gets confusing. I talked to many customers about location pages and lots experienced issues where a past employee had admin access to a location page and they had no way to regain access without undergoing a tedious admin dispute. What we recommend is a business manager set-up so that there are safeguards a brand can put in place to ensure that both the brand and the retailer never lose access to any of their business pages. This can be set-up no matter what structure you opt for but relying on a parent brand page and location page admin access only is a mistake for your business!
Research that examined the performance of 230.000 locations tied to multi-location brands found that: brands that post unique content for each store see a 67% increase in engagement compared to those that simply syndicate content from the parent corporate page. What's also important is that, even though search engines are still used by customers for most of their local searches, 74% of consumers discover new needs via social content. A number of our customers who have set-up location store pages have requested us to help them convert those pages back to individual business pages. When talking to them, head office users want to ensure stores think of their page as a storefront - retailers should make their page as local as possible to create a personality for their store. To ensure stores have the full opportunity to do that, we recommend creating unique business pages for each location and allowing retailers to post bespoke content to showcase the personality for each store that is connected to your brand.