Most top brands today would agree that having a presence on social media is a must. If your business has multiple locations run by individual owners or managers, however, it’s not enough to tell your franchisees to set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They’ll need some guidance to execute their social media properly and effectively.
Without any direction, you leave them free to do whatever they’d like, and that’s a risk you don’t want to take. Left to their own devices, your franchisees may start posting content that should never see the light of day. Here are the six major things you don’t want to see your franchisees posting on social media, along with a pro tip for each that you can share with your franchise owners and managers.
They Make Offensive or Incendiary Comments
Particularly now in this politically charged climate, it’s tempting to step on a soap box and spout off about a candidate or an issue. It’s one thing for them to stand up tactfully for things they believe in; it’s another matter entirely to make racist, sexist, homophobic or other inflammatory remarks. In an instant, these kinds of comments can destroy your brand’s reputation, and it could be all because of one insensitive comment.
Consider the tweet from IHOP last year showing a stack of pancakes and the text “flat but has a GREAT personality.” The tweet was viewed as offensive and quickly removed, but not before drawing fire from proponents of gender equality and body-positive messages for women.
Pro Tip: Let your franchisees know that anything they post on their pages reflects your brand as a whole. Their posts should represent your brand’s philosophy accurately and not potentially alienate an entire customer group.
They Share Trade Secrets or Other Confidential Information
Do you want your secret-sauce recipe posted on Facebook? Or confidential reports and documents leaked to the public through a LinkedIn update? No? Then you’d better make it clear to franchisees that even seemingly innocent posts have the potential to expose information you would prefer to keep quiet.
Pro Tip: Advise franchisees not to share confidential information about your brand, both on their location pages and on their personal pages. Put it in writing as part of their franchise agreement so it’s clear what they can and cannot post.Pro Tip: Advise franchisees not to share confidential information about your brand. Click To Tweet
They Complain About You, the Franchisor
Franchisees who post negative comments about the franchise parent company make your brand seem disjointed, disorganized and untrustworthy. If they don’t have confidence in the brand, why should anyone else, including customers and potential franchisees?
Pro Tip: Create an avenue for franchisees to provide feedback and make formal complaints if needed. If they have a means to voice their concerns, they’ll be less likely to vent on social media. This system prevents public commentary about private matters that should stay between franchisor and franchisee. It also gives you a chance to consider valid concerns and use the feedback to improve your overall brand.
They Argue With Customers
When customers are upset with their experience at an establishment, you can bet they’ll be posting about it on social media. They might take to their own personal pages to vent, or they might post directly to the location’s page. If a customer posts a negative review on a franchisee’s page, the last thing you want is a virtual fist fight between customer and franchisee. Not only does it make the customer even angrier, but it also makes the franchisee and your entire brand appear unprofessional and tarnishes its reputation.
Pro Tip: The way your franchisees handle customer complaints speaks volumes about your brand. If a customer complains, it’s best to acknowledge the complaint, apologize publicly for any inconvenience and offer to resolve the matter immediately (taking it offline if needed). One great example is FedEx’s response when a delivery driver was caught carelessly tossing a package over a customer’s fence:
They Over-Share Their Personal Lives
A personal touch is great on social media, but there’s a fine line. While customers might love to see photos of a franchise owner having fun with family, friends and pets, no one needs to see the 37 different photos he snapped at the bar with his buddies.
Pro Tip: Encourage franchisees to approach social media with the same professionalism and sense of responsibility they would at a job. Remind them that if it’s online, it lives on forever, and they may never recover from a drunken photo or tweet.
They Do Nothing
On the opposite end of the spectrum are franchisees who, rather than overshare, post nothing at all. The location page is visible, but there’s no activity on the page, or worse, customers are posting on the page and the franchisee is unresponsive. To the world, the franchise appears to be either closed or indifferent about its customers. (See our post about local social pages for an example of the problems this kind of situation caused for jeweler Zales.)
Pro Tip: Tell your franchisees that regularly posting on social media improves customer engagement and satisfaction. Take it a step further by supplying them with corporate-approved content that’s polished, professional and on point. They can mix in this content with more personalized, behind-the-scenes content directly from their locations.
The Rallio platform is designed to help solve the problem of supplying corporate-approved content to franchisees. Are you a franchisor with multiple locations? Head over to rallio.com to request a demo, and tell us below what else you don’t want to see your franchisees posting on social media.