Although engagement is on the rise for Facebook Pages, a new study suggests that companies should maintain separate Pages for local stores or branches in addition to a main corporate Page.

The study — which was performed by the online enterprise platform Mainstay Salire — found that Facebook Pages for local branches of business generate five times more reach and engagement than corporate Pages.

Mainstay Salire looked at 14 million interactions on Hearsay Social clients’ Facebook Pages in the insurance, financial services, and retail verticals during December 2011.

“Marketing is about serving the right message at the right time, and that’s best done at the local level,” explained Clara Shih CEO of Hearsay Social.

One of the benefits of having a local presence is that you can create additional relevancy by referencing the weather or a local sports team. “It feels like you’re hearing from a human being,” Shih said.

Many customers create local Pages by checking in to a business or location. Instead of having these Pages floating around on the social network unmonitored, own them.

Managing multiple local Pages will require unified brand messaging and additional time, but it might be too early to call it quits. According to Shih, a number of businesses — including 24 Hour Fitness and Farmer’s Insurance — have seen positive results after allowing local employees to manage Pages.

If you’re unsure, it’s worth experimenting by creating one or two local Pages and measuring their performance over time. If successful, you can continue to branch out. Facebook has also made it easier to manage multiple Pages by introducing a new notification that will alert you to Page activity through your personal account.

[Via: Inside Facebook, Image credit: Social Woodlands]