By Nick Rojas
For this week, ISM will feature a another Guest Blog Post from Nick Rojas concerning Social Media practices for franchises.
Some brands have become synonymous their product/service. Examples are saying you’re going to “Google” something instead of use a search engine, or grab some “Kleenex” instead of just tissue. Of course, this is not an easy task. Franchising is a strategy that opens up your possibilities for growth by bringing partners into the equation who can help you spread farther and faster than you could on your own.
But owning a franchise comes with complications. You are now sharing some form of control over day to day operations. As your marketing plan becomes more nuanced to cover multiple locations, the question appears – how do I manage social media? Different franchises choose different approaches, but here are best practices for franchises on social media:
- Consistency is key
You’ll want to create “golden rules” that every franchise social media channel must follow. That way, even if different locations are running their own promotions or events, the voice of the brand remains the same. The goal here is for consumers to immediately connect any location with the “main” brand. Putting this in one master document makes it easy for employees of all locations to have access to the information and be held accountable
- Corporate Support
Even with branding guidelines, franchise locations may not always know what to post. If you are a huge nation-wide brand, many locations may feel like corporate is a distant entity. If you want them sharing certain content or pushing certain hashtags – tell them! Create a formal system where content is shared and updated for locations on a frequent basis. If they have assets (graphics, sample posts, etc.) to work with – the pressure is taken off of you for them to match the brand.
- Push Engagement
A benefit to having pages for each location is it helps customers be heard. These pages are likely much smaller than the corporate hub, and consumers may feel more comfortable reaching out. Social media is a chance to see what your customers love and hate about your brand’s experience. Collecting this specialized feedback will help you improve, and if you respond correctly, maybe win over a customer for life.
- Remember Your Audience
One of the unique things about being a franchised company is you aren’t just reaching out to customers. Potential franchisees could also be reading your messaging and considering whether it’s something they want to invest in. But just like you don’t use social media to hard-sell consumers, the same is true for investors. You want to create a picture of success, shared subtly through strong photographs and stories, versus creating posts where you constantly ask people to invest without them having any connection to your brand. Social media is a chance to tell your story and invite other people to take part in it- take advantage of this!
Growing from a single location to a franchised company involves a lot of change. On the one hand -it’s exciting because you’re reaching brand new customers you may never have reached before. But with this reach comes up some relinquishment of control. Let’s face, you can’t be everywhere all the time. Putting in place highly organized best practices for your social media channels will strengthen your brand and propel your success even farther.
In our next post, ISM will discuss the topic of the “Internet of Things”, which will profoundly impact the global marketplace.
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Nick Rojas is a small business consultant and business journalist, currently splitting time between Southern California and Chicago. He is an occasional contributor to ISM’s blog. Please visit Nick’s twitter account: @NickARojas.