As a franchisee, you likely have at least a vague idea of the importance of social media to your business. That is to say, you keep hearing that you need to be on social media. But can you succinctly explain why, how, where and when?
It’s a complicated area of marketing that requires your attention if you want to stay competitive and relevant. With every passing moment on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the like, someone is having a conversation about something important that has relevancy to your business. You can either jump in and get engaged with that audience, or be left behind as your competitors take advantage of the opportunity.
What’s Complicated About That?
It gets tricky for franchises because as a franchise owner, you may have more restrictions imposed upon you regarding how and where you market your business. If your business is in a regulated industry such as finance or insurance, you have to be especially cautious about what you post on social media. Consider the melee that would ensue, for example, if a misinformed employee posted medical advice or comprised patient privacy.
The Rallio platform is designed to remove such barriers to entry by putting the control in a franchisor’s hands so they can better manage and monitor franchisees’ social media activity. It’s much easier to post on social media when your parent company has already approved your posts!
Regardless of whether your franchise uses Rallio, however, you’ll find that social media can be a highly effective way to reach new customers, increase sales, improve your reputation and brand consistency, and foster client retention and satisfaction. Let’s dive in deeper.
Why Social Media Matters
“Social media platforms are quickly becoming an important part of franchise companies’ marketing strategies, especially in a time of lower marketing budgets,” notes Alisa Harrison, vice president of communications and marketing at the International Franchise Association, in an AllBusiness.com article. Consider the benefits:
- Social media gives you direct access to the people who are interested in your product or service. Instead of spending time, effort and money on locating your target audience, you can jump right into the mix where your target audience is congregating.
- You can (and should) be more personal than you would be in other forms of marketing, such as email. You have an opportunity to let your personality shine, inspire confidence in customers, entertain and educate your audience, and build customer loyalty.
- You can better serve customers. Nowadays, when people have a complaint about a company, they take to social media to vent. Don’t expect them to contact you directly with concerns. The more engaged you are in the conversations happening about your brand, the more responsive you can be to their needs. It’s a win-win for you and your customers.
Remember, the conversations are happening with or without you. It’s not a question of if, but when you will jump on board.Just because you're part of a larger chain doesn't mean you can't stand out on social media. Click To Tweet
Time to Strategize
As a franchise owner, you’re party of a larger entity, and customers need to know what makes you different from both competitors and from other franchise location within your organization. There are a few strategies that will be important to your overall success on social media:
- Get local and advertise. Designate an ad budget you are willing to spend every month on social media. Facebook is a good starting point, as you can make use of robust targeting tools to find and reach ideal local prospects.
- Build a community. Strive for daily posts that connect with your target audience and encourage them to engage with posts and come back for more. Facebook’s algorithm will be kinder to you if your audience is eager to see your posts; otherwise, you risk having your posts disappear from users’ newsfeeds.
- Don’t over-promote. Promotional posts have their place, such as when you’re paying to boost a post or you have an exciting offer to share with users. You can’t post them every day, however. Keep the focus on them, not you, with the majority of your posts, and they’ll be more receptive when you share a special sale or promotion. If you need more ideas for daily content, see my post, 31 Days of Social Media Ideas.
- Listen closely. You can’t simply post and then drop the mic. Once you post your engaging content, monitor it for user comments. Whether your audience has something positive or negative to say, you need to let them know that you’re listening, you care and you’re ready to meet their needs.
Just because you’re part of a larger chain doesn’t mean you can’t stand out on social media. By building a community of followers right in your local area, you’ll have a means to foster relationships with the people who matter most to your business.
Are you a franchisee who uses social media? Share your advice and successes in the comments.