How ContentCal can help businesses with multiple branches
16th December 2020
Businesses that have multiple branches or locations are both a blessing and curse when it comes to staying on top of their social media.
On one hand, there’s an incredible distribution opportunity, taking advantage of features such as cross-posting to raise brand awareness.
While most brands just have their main corporate channels, most multi-location businesses do have a set of social accounts and a following at a location level. Good examples of this are car dealerships and hotel brands. This local following represents an opportunity to engage more deeply with a local community, too.
On the other hand, there is the lack of consistency and control over keeping the accounts of a similar tone. Local social channels are often also managed at a local level, with varying degrees of success. As a result, the quality and quantity of social media output becomes increasingly hard to manage.
This is the crux of the dilemma for brands.
Naturally brands want to centralise control of their message for brand and reputational management reasons, but there is always a risk involved when you get more people involved.
Typically, the central marketing teams are the ones that are tasked with setting the brand narrative and ensuring that communications are always in line with the brand strategy. However, this naturally gets harder to manage when you're considering getting others involved with your content strategy.
In the hotel and car dealership examples, the people that might be running the local social channels are likely not trained social media professionals. Often they are tasked with social media management alongside other day to day responsibilities. In light of this, it’s easy to understand why locally produced content won’t be created with the same degree of understanding, consistency and craft of the central marketing team.
However, let's not forget the number one opportunity within social media is the wide distribution of a narrative or message. If we’re centralising all communications through one central channel it’s going to limit the reach, relevance, and ultimately the impact of the content - which is a strong case for setting up multiple accounts as above.
With that in mind, how do you balance a situation whereby you want to centralise control of your content marketing activity but you also want to leverage the opportunity of engagement with a local community?
This is where ContentCal comes in.
There are three main ways of approaching this:
Firstly, we need to ensure that we have a clear structure and communication strategy across all of our different branches.
Control is facilitated through visibility. We need to centralise content production into one common system so that the process can be simplified and transparent.
In ContentCal, you are able to create multiple ‘calendars’. See these calendars as ‘portals’ for each of your locations. This means that a central team has visibility of everything that is happening across all locations, yet still provide the opportunity for content creation to happen at a local level too.
Being able to manage content through Approvals is also critical. With the variance in skill levels between the local teams and main marketing team, being able to have the flexibility to mandate content approvals for certain individuals and teams, gives you that much-needed quality control.
With the varying skill levels across teams when it comes to social media, it’s important to have a clear strategy that everyone has access to and that is easy to understand. We also want to establish a clear tone of voice document to help everyone align around the main brand tone and establish consistency across multiple locations.
In ContentCal, you can create shared ‘Campaigns’ which act as a resource for each of the locations to understand requirements and objectives.
Empowerment also comes from contribution. We can use the ‘Contributions’ tool to collect content ideas and suggestions from across all locations and have them centralised and organised in our Library in the Content Hub:
This then provides a bank of content that the central team can begin to share across the location-based accounts. Let's not forget the best content is always created together, and this is where multi-location businesses can have a competitive advantage.
In social media, consistency is key. There are two ways to simplify content creation for multi-location businesses in ContentCal, known as ‘push’ and ‘pull’.
Let’s look at the ‘push’ method first.
This makes it really simple for the central team to share content to all of those distributed businesses. If there was a message needed to be published to all of the locations, this can be easily done in ContentCal, by ‘adding’ that post to multiple calendars.
This results in fantastic distribution of the message, gaining far more reach than if it was just on your main corporate channels.
However, as we know each location will have their own needs and capabilities, we need to have flexibility. Some locations might want to be in control of their own channels.
We can allow for this level of flexibility in ContentCal too. Content can still be pushed to those individual location calendars, but approval has to go through each location first, giving them more control over what actually goes out.
The important thing is that we're making it incredibly easy to take that content and add it to multiple locations’ calendars.
The second method is the ‘pull’ approach.
This is a more proactive approach, where each location will have their own calendar where they are welcome to create their own content. In addition, the locations can go into the main central calendar (they won't have the permission to change anything, unless you grant them that), and share this central content onto their own calendar too. This means that it becomes so much easier for those teams not only just to share ideas, have content created for them, but they can now also simply add approved content themselves.
Following these three steps creates a simple structure that ensures quality and consistency across all locations, allowing for strong communication and control from the central team, but not at the expense of the large reach that comes through having multiple social media channels.