Local Facebook pages outperform corporate pages in terms of reach, engagement percentage, study finds

Facebook pages for local branches of a business generate greater reach and engagement than their corporate counterparts, according to a study by Mainstay Salire in collaboration with Hearsay Social.

On average, a Facebook post from a local division reaches five times the percentage of fans as a post from a corporate page. The study also found local posts see engagement from eight times as many of the fans reached compared to corporate posts. These results suggest that companies should consider maintaining Facebook pages for local stores or branches in addition to a main corporate page.

“Conventional wisdom is that personalized and targeted communications win out,” Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih tells us. “But we were blown away by the numbers.”

Shih attributes the difference in reach and engagement on local pages to be the result of content that speaks more directly to fans and the amount of interaction that occurs on mobile devices when customers visit brick and mortar locations.

“Marketing is about serving the right message at the right time, and that’s best done at the local level,” she says, noting how local pages know the best hours to post and they can be more relevant by referencing the weather or a local sports team.

“It feels like you’re hearing from a human being,” Shih says.

Hearsay Social is an enterprise platform that allows financial services, insurance, retail and other organizations to manage their online presence — on the local and corporate levels — and maintain regulatory compliance as they engage on social media sites. Shih says some of her company’s clients initially want to shut down local pages, worrying about maintaining a unified brand message and the amount of time or personnel required to manage multiple accounts.

“But it’s not up to them,” she says, noting that many local pages are created by customers who use Facebook’s check-in feature. “You have to engage where the customer wants to engage.”

Shih tells us a number of clients, including 24 Hour Fitness and Farmers Insurance, have seen positive returns by allowing local employees and agents to manage their own pages. With Hearsay Social, parent companies can provide affiliates with marketing assets like Timeline cover photos, tab apps or potential copy for posts.

The study, conducted by independent research company Mainstay Salire, looked at 14 million interactions on Hearsay Social clients’ Facebook pages in the insurance, financial services and retail verticals during December 2011. The full report can be found here.

Infographic credit: Hearsay Social