- Posted by Noni Cavaliere
- On November 27, 2018
With the popularity of social media among consumers today, it is critical that businesses have a robust online presence to reach and interact with their customers and followers.
For franchise businesses who already struggle with brand consistency, lead generation, and onboarding issues, using social networks effectively is even more challenging, as the smallest mistake can affect every single franchise and profoundly damage their brand reputation and commercial success.
That said, managing social media effectively is easier said than done. It requires a lot of time and resources, and for a franchise, this can add up quickly. With that in mind, franchise networks have been wary of moving full speed into the social media game.
However, this sluggish adoption rate from the franchising industry is a massive opportunity for those franchisors who can turn social networks into cost-effective, customer-generating and customer service channels.
STEP ONE: Set a Social Media Policy & Guide
Before a franchise jumps into social media use, however, it is essential for management to establish a policy manual and guidelines for social media that will steer the endeavor. The guide needs to include policies for usage, code of conduct, and passwords. It will help to promote uniformity, a consistent brand image, and adherence to company rules and culture.
Once the guidelines are set, it’s time to decide who will be controlling each social media account. Control can be centralized, or it can be localized, so each franchise location controls its content within the guidelines. Some franchises may also consider an in-between route where each location can give input, but approval comes from the central office.
Here are some questions to think about as a franchise owner:
- Would your franchise network benefit from having individual local social media pages for each of your locations?
- Also, if so, whose responsibility should it be to manage those local pages and conversations?
- How can you make sure your brand message is delivered consistently?
STEP TWO: How is Social Media Going to Work at Your Franchise Network?
As for franchise network owners, crafting the perfect social media strategy can turn into a major headache and an endless preparatory process. Once you’ve decided to get started with social media, the next step is determining the layout of social for your franchise. We’ve broken down the different ways you can leverage social for your franchise network.
Centralized Social Media Strategy
This strategy method is where one centralized account acts as the primary voice and hub for the brand overall, no matter the individual location.
- All content stays on brand and there is only one place for consumers to go to interact with the brand
- Social media messaging does not get diluted
- Local franchisees miss an opportunity to connect to local customers
- Content doesn’t resonate across different cultures, demographics or neighborhoods
The Centralized Blend Social Media Strategy
With this type of strategy, corporate manages all the social profiles but utilizes franchisees to provide a steady stream of content. This is a useful strategy if the local franchise is consistently communicating with the franchise network.
- All content stays on brand
- Local customers feel involved and more engaged
- Requires a robust social media team
- Brand voice has to be more “safe”
- A local franchise owner may have difficulties inputting local “flavor” of the community into messaging without being too far off the mark with brand voice
Controlled Social Media Strategy
Under the controlled strategy, franchisees manage their profiles but are provided a majority of their content from corporate. This choice would require a local franchisee either work with a digital marketing agency or has in-house social media staff.
- Franchisees are more involved
- Franchisees have direct access to their customers
- A local voice is established
- Conflicts can arise with franchisees if the content is not approved
- Consistency can suffer as not all franchisees have the same abilities
- Compliance issues arise
- Need to have a strong corporate team to monitor all profiles
STEP THREE: Managing Multiple Profiles
Once you have well-defined goals, clear strategies, and the right people to make it happen, you need to make sure your brand is as visible as possible on all your social networks.
There aren’t many valid arguments to support the idea of a limited online social presence. Although, jumping between different tools and accounts can be draining. It’s common for a franchise’s social media staff to end up managing several accounts on different platforms.
Despite the monumental amount of exertion it requires at times, managing multiple accounts on different social networks might be necessary and a boost for your franchise business. It’s all about how you consolidate your efforts.
Tip: Use Social Media Management Software
It can take too much time to copy and paste the same content to multiple accounts on different social media platforms. Invest in social media management software such as SproutSocial that will help you manage publishing and engagement all in one place.
Social media management software can help you post similar or identical content to different accounts on different networks simultaneously with the click of a button.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Editorial calendars are useful for providing direction and making sure you’re on track with your social media strategy. This can be done through social media management software or even by sharing a simple document with the franchise’s social team. A calendar can help consolidate the efforts of everybody on your social media team and give them the opportunity to collaborate.
It puts everything in one place and provides a reference for social media managers and social media support staff. Also, it can be helpful for spotting gaps or missed opportunities in your posting schedule.
Monitor Activity and Engage
As a franchise owner, keeping track of mentions and keywords is very important, especially if your franchise has set up a support-related account. You want to know if a customer needs your help, or if you can jump on a trending topic related to your franchise business. Just make sure your team isn’t leaving multiple replies to the same customer message and just getting back to responding to a year-old customer message.
Analyze Your Strategy
Analyzing the results of your own social media strategy is essential. Are some accounts doing better than others? How can you help ones who are lagging? Does every account contribute to your brand?
You won’t know without looking at the analytics. Employing your strategy and reading the results is the only way for you to fine-tune your approach to social media.
How to Stay On Top of Your Franchise Social Media Network
There might be many reasons for your franchise to consider running multiple social media accounts, but before you go ahead and start creating accounts, you should be sure you’re making them for the right reasons.
Please don’t do it because your competitor has done it or you think more accounts creates the illusion you’re running a big franchise. Every company has a finite amount of resources, and you should use yours wisely to get the most out of social media.
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Need Professional Help with Marketing Your Franchise?
Once you’ve written up a social media strategy and made the decision to open multiple accounts across different social networks, it’s essential to find the right support to your social media efforts to help you manage everything. It may be a wise investment to bring on a digital marketing agency that knows your business model and your customer demographic.
A franchise-focused digital marketing agency on your side will also be able to give you the support to analyze your franchise’s social strategy to see if it needs to be altered or figure out what type of content resonates best with your target audiences.
Through good strategy, smart investment, and enthusiasm on the part of your social media team (in-house or digital marketing agency support), the opportunity for success is always within grasp. If you’re interested in speaking to one of our franchise social media experts, contact us for a consultation.