Do multiple units require multiple Facebook pages? The short answer is: it depends.
The long answer is: it depends on your marketing, branding and communications plan. There are pros and cons to having one corporate Facebook presence representing multiple locations (and vice versa), and ultimately you are the only one who can decide which route is right for your brand. Consider your overall marketing strategy and how social media fits into it before jumping in.
Here is a list of questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not multiple units require multiple Facebook pages:
What is your objective?
If your main goal is general awareness, and you are measuring that success based on number of likes, comments and shares, perhaps one page is better. Besides the obvious fact that regionalized audiences will always be smaller than a national audience, general brand awareness may not need be broken down that granularly. And having one page under your control ensures a consistent brand presence and message every time, not to mention provides a big picture overview to you of general sentiment toward your brand.
Is it scalable?
Perhaps you have 5 units today, and it’s completely manageable to keep track of those 5 different pages. But what about when you grow to 50 units? Or 500? Are your pages and your management of those pages set up in a way that is scalable while still keeping true to your brand? Ask yourself, who would manage all of those pages – individual store owners, regional managers, or corporate? Who would ensure all are within brand guidelines and following your communications plan? Always think about tomorrow when planning today.
Who is your target?
Does your core customer look the same across all of your units? A singular brand message is important, but content, subject matter or photos may vary based on who frequents that location and interacts with you online. You’ll lose your audience if content isn’t relevant to them or if they don’t feel like they “belong.”
What is your content plan?
If your brand is attractive because of local, community involvement, perhaps multiple Facebook pages make more sense. Regional pages are a great opportunity to showcase the local farms from which you buy or the local teams in which you sponsor. Another spin on this is whether your photos and graphics are general food and wine photos or individualized staff, location and customer photos. Regionalized messaging can get lost in a national audience if it’s not relatable. But if your content isn’t that localized and the restaurant news and photos you want to share are relevant nationally, then one page may still make the most sense.
Are your menus, specials, events or contests consistent or regionalized?
It may be an indicator that you need regional pages if your menus are different from location to location. A single corporate page couldn’t promote items that are not available nationally, so it would force more generic content when individualized content could be more engaging. What about specials? Or events and contests? The key is to be relevant to your audience, so if different units have different things to promote, then perhaps they need their own pages.
In some cases, one page will do it all. In others, regions or even individual units may require their own presence. If you have one page for your brand you can ensure consistent messaging and branding while building awareness and an audience that is manageable and scalable. Plus, it’s easier for your customers to find you online and much easier for you to promote on your website and in your restaurants. On the other hand, if you have multiple Facebook pages you can regionalize and personalize the content to audiences, connecting on a more personal and individual level.
In either case, you have to consider your overall communication plan, management and brand guidelines, and how that may change (or how it needs to stay the same) as you grow. What’s right for some brands may not be right for others, so consider your larger scale marketing plan before making a social move.