Why is a Sandwich Commercial Giving People the Chills?

We at Stellar Digital are strong believers in the power of local marketing and community engagement.

Last week, the week before the AFC Championship matchup of the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots, we spotted a social post from Goodcents Subs including footage of the Chief’s rising star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. This KC-based chain specializing in deli fresh subs has very intelligent people in the marketing department who know better than to use this without his permission. So, what is going on!?

It turned out the Mahomes footage was part of Goodcents’ new campaign focused on the hard work that goes into achieving excellence. “You can’t fake excellence, you can only build it… Whether it’s waking up early to run laps or bake bread, you can’t cut corners, you can’t fake results,” the voice over so wisely says.

We caught up with Arielle Long-Seabra who heads up marketing at Goodcents to get the scoop. The first question was, of course, how did you make it happen? Long-Seabra responded, “We reached out to his agent and told them we were a Kansas City company trying to drive home our 30-year history and really wanted to partner with him.” She added, “It’s free to ask and he said yes.”

Though national deals are usually more lucrative and have wider audiences, Mahomes’ agents are focused on forming relationships with local companies first. That’s why some of Mahomes’ earliest deals were with Kansas City companies like Airshare and CommunityAmerica Credit Union.

Goodcents is a smaller company and not a brand you’d necessarily expect to have the hottest new NFL quarterback as an endorsement partner. It may be because of this that Mahomes’ teammates were sharing the Goodcents spot on social media. Does that same good will exist around large, national endorsement deals?

travis kelce

Through limiting his commercial exposure and valuing relationships over transactions, Mahomes’ agents are setting him up for even greater success in the not-too-distant future.

Long-Seabra recognizes that there may have been some special alignment of the stars to be able to produce this spot and have it out on social channels in the week leading up to and during the AFC Championship game. We’re loving the audience reactions.

gc mahomes reactions

Goodcents + Mahomes are the heroes we need right now. (pun intended)

Bark!, A “Pawsitive” Story Amidst Shutdown Woes

In the wake of the government shutdown, Bark! launched a program to help support their local communities by hooking furloughed government employees up with a free bag of pet food. Bark! is a pet supply company that provides healthy, ecologically sustainable, and socially responsible products for your animal companions. While there is a lot of buzz this week around Gillette’s highly promoted socially responsible #TheBestMenCanBe campaign, we think Bark! deserves some attention.

With just 8 locations in Maryland, Bark!’s social post around their program has gone viral – digitally and as a micro-movement. Their message is, “If your income has been affected by the government shutdown, we’ll feed your pet for free.” Since launching, they’ve been inundated with “pawsitive” messages, reviews and recommendations.

Though Bark!’s scale is small their message or rather, their bark, is mighty as it has reached furloughed humans across the United States. While their program is local and limited to humans who can physically come in and show their government employee ID, their goodwill has spread. This east coast brand has received messages from people wanting to replicate their program in their local neighborhood as well as others who are collecting donations to help furry families in need.

Bark!’s story is inspiring communities, or more appropriately, human packs to come together during this ruff time to support one another. If you feel inspired and want to help, a donation to your local pet food bank is a purrrfect place to start. (Sorry, we really enjoy our animal puns around here!)

Why Not Turn on Automated Responses to Reviews/Recommendations?

Facebook recommendations


Facebook recently released a tool that makes it easier for brands to manage their online reputation…or did they?

Facebook allows brands to turn on Automated Responses when a customer recommends or leaves a “Doesn’t Recommend” status for a brand.

Brands can create one canned response for “Recommended” and one canned response for “Doesn’t Recommend.”

A typical canned or auto respond goes something like this:

Recommends: “Name, thank you for visiting and leaving a recommendation. We look forward to seeing you again soon.” -Brand Name

Doesn’t Recommend: “Name, we are sorry to hear about your experience. Please click here (customer service link) to let us know more.” -Brand Name

There are endless reasons brands should not automate social interactions. Here are the Top 3 reasons to not automate reputation management.

  1. Accuracy

Every day, we see reviews and recommendations that do not correlate with the star rating, or in Facebook’s case, recommend/doesn’t recommend.

Imagine receiving the “Recommends” response above if you left this review:


Or receiving the “Doesn’t Recommend” response above if you left this review:


2. Sensitivity

We live in a time where social media tends to be the easiest way for consumers to communicate positive and negative experiences with brands.

At Stellar Digital, we have read reviews left for clients that are posted during or immediately after a fight, shooting or another scary & sensitive encounter. Consumers find it easier and intuitive to post on social than to call an 800 number or fill out a contact form on a website.

3. Authenticity

Having the same response for every single review is lazy and ingenuine. Consumer behavior is to read reviews before visiting an establishment or leaving their own review.

We have seen consumers leave a review and copy and paste the brand’s canned response before the brand has a chance to – mocking them and publicly acknowledging they know the brand won’t care, but they still want others to read about their experience.

People who leave reviews often outline their experience with details and leave suggestions or ask questions. Providing a canned response without reading the review implies that the brand lacks empathy for their consumers’ experience or has bots responding.

The solution!

  • Work with your customer service team to create social media-friendly responses.
  • Make it a priority to read and respond to all reviews at least once a day.
  • If you don’t have the resources or bandwidth, the Stellar Digital team can help you get started!

In the end, consumers are your most powerful marketing team. They deserve more than automated, ingenuine responses.


Facebook Tags Your Local Page in Recommendations

I get it, I’ve been there. I worked for a restaurant that had 200+ corporate-owned stores, and we had a stellar (no pun intended) Facebook brand page.

We didn’t want to claim/pay attention to/deal with a Facebook page for each location. Granted, this was 7 years ago, and times have changed.

If you’re invested in one great, main Facebook page for your business, even if it has multiple locations, why should you care about each location’s Facebook page?

#1: Your local pages are  already there, and they’re not going away.

#2 People are looking for recommendations via their status, on Facebook, and your local page is showing up in those results:

Facebook Status Looking for Recommendations 

Image 1.jpg

Facebook gives the publisher the option to click ask, this prompts the user to see a list of friends who have lived in Oceanside, friends who have been to Oceanside, and the option to search for any friend.

Local Pages Are Tagged in Responses

Image 2 .png

Whether a recommended place has 1 or 1,000 locations, Facebook will recommend the closest location, and include a clickable snippet of the local Facebook page in the comments with:

  • Star rating
  • Cuisine type
  • Address
  • $-$$$$

Recommended Local Pages Are Pinned 

Image 3.png

Recommendations are pinned on an interactive map on the poster’s status and includes:

  • Viewer’s current location
  • Recommendations’ locations
  • Details of each recommendation
    • Local page (Chili’s Oceanside, not Chili’s main brand page)
    • Who recommended the page
    • Star rating
    • Cuisine type
    • Address
    • $-$$$$
  • Ability to add more location pages

Interested customers are most likely to consider a recommendation if it has a Facebook page tied to it. If someone clicks on a recommended page, and there haven’t been any posts in a while, they’ll probably move on to the most active page, and dine there.

We live in an age where we trust recommendations from friends, 88% more than advertisements and brand posts. Customers enjoy making recommendations, writing reviews and finding the next best place in town.

Your local pages are being recommended and tagged whether or not they are accurate and up to date.

Simply claiming your Facebook page will not suffice, your local pages need to be monitored, reviews should be responded to, new content should be posted daily, and store information and photos should be up to date.

Stellar Digital helps brands manage their local pages, at scale, while providing actionable insights and trends.  Our team has years of experience helping multi-unit and franchised brands and understands reputation management, marketing opportunities and operational challenges that come along with maintaining 1 to thousands of online properties.

Contact us to learn more!


Because Google Says So

Where do the star ratings on Google search results come from? Yelp? Facebook? Wherever Google feels like?


100% of star ratings and reviews shown on local Google search results come from reviews and ratings customers have posted on a local Google listing. [Tweet this]

Customers are leaving reviews and star ratings on your local Google pages, and whether or not you’re responding to positive and negative reviews, affects your in-store traffic, sales and SEO rankings.


Because Google says so. 

Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.

There’s no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. – Google Support

The more you respond to positive and negative reviews, the more credibility and trust you’re going to build with your customers, and potential customers.

Quality reviews from your customers will improve your visibility — don’t be afraid to ask (not pressure) for a review.

The ability for customers to leave reviews about any kind of businesses (it’s not primarily restaurants anymore), really emphasizes the importance of the era of word of mouth, and reputation management that we live in.

Where do you start?

  • Claim your local listings
  • Update address, phone number, and hours
  • Add photos
  • Manage and respond to reviews on a daily basis

Don’t be scared, this is an exciting time, and a great way for you to establish trust, build credibility & resolve problems, all from your smartphone or computer. But remember, your Google, Facebook, and Yelp local pages aren’t going anywhere, and impact your bottom line.

Sound overwhelming?  Stellar Digital helps brands manage their local pages, at scale, while providing actionable insights and trends.  Our team has years of experience helping multi-unit and franchised brands and understands reputation management, marketing opportunities and operational challenges that come along with maintaining 1 to thousands of online properties.

Contact us to learn more!


Voice Assistants are Impacting Local Search

The adoption of voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana will only increase the ever-growing importance of managing local pages. Mobile voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than text search.

Ever ask Siri for restaurant suggestions? How about Alexa, Cortana or Google Now? Do you know where their recommendations are coming from?

img_3135If you’ve got an Amazon Echo in your home or office, Alexa makes recommendations based on Yelp listings. Ford announced in January that it will be putting Alexa in new cars. This means when someone is driving a new Ford and looking for a place to eat, there’s a good chance Yelp will influence their decision. Beyond Ford owners, think about rental cars. When someone rents a Ford in an area they’re not familiar with they’re even more likely to ask Alexa for suggestions.

Siri also leverages Yelp in its recommendations. In 2016 Apple began allowing third party apps to leverage Siri. Apps like Lyft, and many GPS apps have leveraged Siri. If those third party apps happen to be making dining suggestions they could potentially be coming from Yelp.

Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana is built into their Edge web browser helping users make reservations and find discounts when shopping online. Cortana leverages Yelp and Trip Advisor for recommendations.

Google Now on the other hand makes recommendations from it’s own knowledge graph. Restaurants are getting more than twice as many reviews on local Google pages than they are on Yelp.



When information on local pages is incorrect, users don’t realize that many brands do not manage their pages and they blame the brand.   If your ratings and reviews are negative it will negatively impact your search ranking however responding to reviews can have a positive impact on search ranking.

Keep in mind these are people with intent, looking to find a restaurant like yours. If you are not managing your local pages, it will be increasingly difficult for you to win traffic and thus sales away from brands that are.

You may think you’ve got search covered through paid results but have you factored voice assistants into your search strategy?

Stellar Digital helps brands manage local pages at scale.  Contact us to learn more!




Chelsea.jpgBy Chelsea Bradley

For every physical location your brand has, there is a Facebook, Google and Yelp page for that specific location.

Three Pack.pngMany marketers and operators choose to ignore local pages and focus on the brand page so posts and comments are in one place.

Makes sense, right?

Not really.

Whether you like it or not, your guests are reading and writing reviews, commenting and making purchase decisions based on the information they find on your brand’s local pages.

72% of consumers who conduct a local search on Google choose from the top three local results.

The number of posts, reviews and ratings customers post to a brand’s local pages factor into their SEO ranking. Google favors brands who engage with posts, and respond to reviews.

By replying to reviews, brands encourage positive ratings, and are able to recover guests who leave negative reviews.

According to Forrester, reviews are viewed as more trustworthy than organic search engine results, and promotional posts on social media.

Can you guess which brand responds to all local page star-reviews?

Over the past six months, Brand B has responded to 99% of reviews while Brand A hasn’t responded at all. Star ratings increase as a brand’s engagement and customer service increases.Star.png

A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is, but we have the ability to control the conversation, build relationships, recover guests, and gather actionable data.

You’re ready to manage your local pages, now what?

Before you dive in with posting content, and responding to reviews, you need to:

  • Claim your brand’s local pages on Facebook, Google and Yelp
  • Update, and verify all listings are accurate (website, geo-coordinates, phone number, hours of operation)
  • Remove duplicate listings

Sound overwhelming?  Stellar Digital helps brands manage their local pages at scale while providing actionable insights and trends.  Contact us to learn more!



Have you mapped out your consumer’s mobile moments? Have you thought about the relevance of your brand in those moments during a consumer’s journey when they consult the device they look at an average of 150 times a day?

Google has begun testing its mobile-first index, which will primarily look at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals and fall back on the desktop version when there is no mobile version. Many brands have a mobile-optimized version of t92heir website and consider this box checked.

The significance of Google’s shift to mobile-first reaches far beyond the importance of having a mobile optimized website. Research conducted by MomentFeed found that a company’s website, especially restaurants, accounted for less than 10% of their online traffic. They are seeing 10x more activity on Google, FB and Yelp.

Google found that there has been a 2x increase in “near me” searches in the past year. Local Google, Facebook and Yelp properties are often what consumers use to find a location’s address, directions, phone number, and hours of operation. They also use them for something brands have less control over, ratings and reviews.

Restaurant brands tend to think of Yelp when they think of ratings and reviews. Today the largest number of restaurant reviews, are left on Google, followed by Facebook and Yelp trails them both.

88Local properties are often ignored by multi-location brands because managing them doesn’t seem scalable. A brand with 500 locations typically gets more than 100 reviews a day and that number continues to grow, signaling new behavioral norms.

Local page management is in fact scalable. Software like MomentFeed enables brands to manage local pages and the reviews on them all in one place. For brands that aren’t resourced to manage, experienced community managers at Stellar Digital adopt the brand’s tone and persona to help manage their pages while providing actionable insights back to the brand. Responding to negative reviews shows guests that you care and can lead to them changing their review.

If you’ve got a mobile optimized website, you’re in good shape. Let us help with all of the other mobile properties consumers with intent interact with on a journey that we want to ensure leads to a visit.


Local social media pages and local content are becoming increasingly important. When people conduct a search for a restaurant or bar on their phone, they’ll likely be prompted to search for one “near me” or they’ll see the closest location as the first result, meaning that they often engage first with a local listing rather than a brand presence. The organic reach of corporate brands’ Facebook posts has continued to decrease. Local business page posts, however, reach a larger percentage of their audience and have higher engagement.

Location-Specific Messaging from NATIVE.

Local Business Pages

If you’re not familiar with local pages, any brand that has brick-and-mortar locations has local pages on Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc. These pages may not be active and may not have been set up by the brand. If guests go to “check in” at a location and a page doesn’t exist for that location, the guest can create one. If a guest creates a page, the brand has no control over what’s on the page until they claim it. Brands that don’t claim their pages run the risk of pages containing inaccurate and misleading information. Brands that claim local pages have the benefit of being able to share more locally relevant content in addition to their brand-level content.


Customizing Content for Local

Consumers increasingly expect to be able to customize food and beverages: Chipotle and Subway with their assembly lines, Coca-Cola Freestyle or Pepsi Spire machines, big selections of locally brewed beer and craft cocktails. Content is no different. Content that feels more personal is more likely to capture their attention, and they’ll be more likely to share.

There’s a lot of noise in users’ social media feeds, and it takes impactful content for brands to break through. For example, football fans notice when a brand speaks directly to their specific fan base. Not all brands have the $$$ to sponsor NFL teams, but Papa John’s does, and they publish content about local teams to their local pages.


Local content should also be important to brands that serve alcohol. Growing up in Massachusetts, I never heard the term “happy hour” because apparently a law prevents such a thing. When I moved to Dallas, we didn’t even consider restaurants that didn’t promote a happy hour. Why does that matter? That type of pricing and promotion can vary wildly from region to region for multi-unit brands. For example, a restaurant group may have over 20 different versions of a 2 for $20 menu. Some locations have 2 for $25 or $26, with food varying by location. To accurately promote such a deal nationwide, it could take thousands of geo-targeted ads and much versioning of creative messaging.

If local users can’t find this type of information and find out what’s relevant at the location they’re interested in, they’ll move on to the next option.

It can sound overwhelming and It may involve a spreadsheet or two, but it is effective and absolutely worth the effort. Want to know more? Give us a shout.

This post was created in partnership with content agency NATIVE.  Stellar Digital and NATIVE partner to fuel brands fire through strategy, creative and experiences.


The constant evolution of the search engine landscape can be difficult for multi-unit brands who are juggling the online presence of many locations in addition to their brand. Whether they’re aware or not, each of their locations likely has a Facebook page, Google page, Yelp page, etc.  Google and Yelp pages are crowd-sourced meaning anyone on the internet could potentially go change the information on their pages. With mobile search growing and the prompt to search “near me” these local crowd-sourced pages are often prominent in search results making the ability to control what consumers see in organic search results, well, uncontrollable.

A recent survey found that 90% of mobile users’ searches on their phone are for restaurants. 82% of those surveyed want to see an address or driving directions clearly visible in the search results.

When a multi-unit restaurant brand’s website shows up in search results it often takes a few clicks to get to specific location information and driving directions. Often, Google and Yelp local page results show up before the brand’s owned properties, clearly displaying an address or one-click driving directions.  The information on these crowd-sourced pages isn’t always accurate. 

Organic search results will more frequently show the most relevant results near the searcher, so it’s important that multi-unit brands think of their locations as local businesses.  

To illustrate the relevance of local pages, we took 100 multi-unit restaurant brands and conducted searches for them on Chrome desktop, iOS Safari, and the mobile Google app.  

Here are some of the organic search results:

GoogleMobile Google App 

  • Google local pages ranked first 85% of the time
  • The brand’s website was the second result 84% of the time
  • The brand’s Facebook pages were in the first seven results 72% of the time and local Facebook pages ranked higher than brand Facebook pages
  • Yelp pages showed up in the first seven results 68% of the time

iOS Safari

  • YelpThe brand’s website was number one 46% of the time
  • Yelp pages were in the first five results 98% of the time, in the top three 82% of the time, and showed up as as the first result 53% of the time
  • The restaurant’s local Facebook page showed up in the first seven results 82% of the time and in the top three 17% of the time

Chrome on Desktop

  • DesktopGoogle local pages were on the right panel or in the first three results 83% of the time
  • Google pages were in the number three spot 38% of the time while YP pages had that spot 11% of the time
  • The restaurant’s Facebook page was in the first seven results 71% of the time
  • The brand’s website showed up as the first result almost 100% of the time, more often than not though didn’t display a local address or click for driving directions like the Google or Yelp pages right below it did

Maintaining the accuracy of local results can be difficult for any brand, and exponentially so for multi-unit brands. Fortunately, this challenge is solvable. Run a few searches yourself. Let us know what you find and if you’re happy with the results.