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How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Multiple Locations with Cynthia Johnson

In this Marketing Nerds episode, Cynthia Johnson shares how multi-location businesses can build comprehensive social media strategy.

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

In this episode of Marketing Nerds, Cynthia Johnson of American Addiction Centers and SEJ Executive Kelsey Jones discuss why having a set social media strategy for multiple locations is important, as well as how it ties into local SEO.


Here are a few transcribed excerpts from their discussion, but make sure to listen to the podcast to hear everything:

The Importance of Creating Social Media Strategies for Different Locations

American Addiction Centers acquired our company RankLab in July and we’ve actually doubled in size since the acquisition. We eighteen facilities across the United States and some of the local brands have several locations within one area. We also have the national brand, American Addiction Centers.

Something that was really important was to make sure we had a brand presence because it is a behavior and health care company. Aside from that, we also want to make sure that we’re claiming all of the local pages including Facebook, Google Plus, Yelp, and so on.

We really had to sit down and think about what our strategy was for maintaining the presence online and on social because that also impacts the local SEO and the website. So what we do is we started restructuring the team by region.

We’re using CoSchedule, which is a calendar app that helps manage all the social pages and we’ll have a social PR person and an alumni coordinator. An alumni coordinator in someone who manages anyone who has been through treatment and posts events and whatnot. We’ll give them access to the calendar along with an account manager out of the L. A. office who’s more of the strategist. What we’ll do then is look at the calendar of events and basically make sure that everything gets approved by the corporate office like all of the content, events, and images and so on are being given to us through this calendar system for posting by the people at the local level.

Difficulty in Communication Due to Brands with Multiple Locations

I think there’s only going to be communication issues because we’ve acquired several facilities. We’re merging teams that already exist and figuring out where people fit; and also changing their processes along the way to fit a larger scale company.

We have a content team, we have a social team, and then we’re going to have two PR people, but at the local level we don’t necessarily need a PR person, we need someone to understand the basics.

When to Diversify Your Online Marketing Strategy

At first we had everyone following the same strategy and that was because most of the posts and everything was coming out of the corporate office. We didn’t have the manpower inside to handle that.

Now we have these team leads which are the strategists out of the corporate office managing the local facilities. They can work with the people at the facility and say “These are things that are happening here. These are the things that people here want to see.”

As time moved along we were able to allow these teams to strategize individually while still keeping that brand message. It just really did take trial and error and getting to a place where we say “Okay, we don’t have to micromanage anyone. They’ve got it under control.”

Really, it just boils down to trusting the team to understand the basic rules and know what they’re looking for and trying to achieve.

Researching What Would Work Best in Each Area

Each location has its own set of unique values. We did large-scale interviews with all of the business development reps because they are the people who are out in the crowd and going to the events in the area and we put regional managers on those teams so they could inform the team of what was happening locally.

From there what did is we looked at the connections of some of the key people. Are they also college professors? Are they writing for any publications? Where are our internal resources? From there, we would use some personal brand identities for those keys people whose apps are useful. That was the starting point to make sure that we’re localizing it.

We also used a tool called Nuvi so we can, by region, collect data based on topics. Say, we really want to focus on aftercare so let’s look at all the different things that come along with app search here. We would do by region searches for social posts, and each region would have a different content shared around the different regions.

One area was talking a lot about insomnia and sharing a lot of about getting sleep and better health. Some areas it was like highly focused in community or exercise.

How to Tie Local SEO with Social Media Strategy for Multiple Locations

They all have their own websites. So the account managers for those teams are in the same office as our content team. They will look at the content orders going out and base social content around the same concept. Like, what are some pages that we’re trying to promote or whatever that topic is for the day because it varies based on the site, of course. Then they will pull some sub-content ideas from there.

We also help those key people build out content pieces as authors and try to get it in local news and local press. We make sure all of the local pages are claimed and we have access to those and that they are being managed at the local level so we can make sure our reviews are staying on the positive end versus the negative.

We also work closely with the alumni to reach out if a negative review comes up to connect with the person to see how we can improve that relationship.

It gets kind of technical when you’re talking how it integrates with the local SEO, but definitely making sure that all of our accounts and all of our assets are linked together appropriately and making sure people at the local level are extremely visible and appreciated. Making sure that our local TV segments or news stories are being shared, talked about, and tagged out in social or the blog so that we’re getting that ad exposure and ad connectivity to the news stations, which can be very important especially at the local brand level.

So we have to be hyper-aware of the details. It’s the most important part.

Handling Social Media for Multiple Locations vs. Nationwide Level

All of our facilities are an American Addiction Centers facility so they are tied together in that way but each facility has its own unique value and preferences. So we have different curriculums or different types of treatment options. At the local level, some of the facilities are named by the local towns name or whatever it is.

What we want to do is keep that authenticity of the local area that is supporting the company because I think anytime you move a business into a local area, the area is supporting the business or it should be.

Sometimes brands create all of these pages but they don’t actually have the people to manage them. I would suggest you make sure, at the very least, the local pages are claimed and in order so your phone numbers are correct on Facebook and on Google+.

Don’t let them just sit there or create them and don’t touch them because there is too much to do. You are better off building one strong brand than seven mediocre brands.

So focus on that national brand first and make sure if you are going to start marketing and putting content out on behalf of a local facility or location, have someone at that local level that can help provide content and really speak to that community.

The First Steps to Building a Cohesive Social Media Strategy for Multiple Locations

The first thing above all is to get the national brand in order. Make sure you know where you are online because it is not perfect. The system is not perfect yet, and if you don’t tell search engines where you are, who you are, and how to get a hold of you, there is always room for error.

To listen to this Marketing Nerds Podcast with Kelsey Jones & Cynthia Johnson:

Think you have what it takes to be a Marketing Nerd? If so, message Kelsey Jones on Twitter, or email her at kelsey [at]

Visit our Marketing Nerds archive to listen to other Marketing Nerds podcasts!

Creating a Solid Social Media Strategy for a Multi-Location BusinessImage Credits

Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita
In-post Photo: nopporn/

Category SEJ Show
Aki Libo-on

Aki is a content strategist, marketing consultant, and former assistant editor of SEJ. When not at work, she is busy ...

How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Multiple Locations with Cynthia Johnson

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