Managing the Social Media Conversation
It is abundantly clear that social media is now an integral part of most people’s lives, in both the personal and professional sense.
Some franchise marketing strategists are shy to capitalise on social media as a marketing platform, mostly because of concerns with maintaining their brand integrity and control of the franchise identity.
To some franchises, the thought of multiple and unrestrained voices on any social media is the stuff of nightmares in relation to brand preservation. But by shutting down the franchisee’s ability to promote themselves as the local purveyor of their products, a brand risks undervaluing its most valuable assets: its people. Promoting responsible and brand sensitive social media participation is an excellent way for a franchise to enhance their market presence.
Local knowledge and personalities can be extremely advantageous when it comes to promotion of localised services. The strength of a brand is usually established by existing marketing strategies, so adding the extra dimension of a local social media platform can enhance further brand development that would otherwise be left unexplored. Each franchisee is the face of the wider brand. They are the people on the ground developing the rapport with customers, providing the services clients are sourcing, and maintaining the image of the franchise in their local communities.
The key to ensuring a franchise’s social media strategy is in the best interest of both its brand and its individual franchise owners is the provision of distinct and appropriate guidelines for all social media use. By giving clear recommendations, a franchise can control and preserve the integrity of its brand as well as open up the endless possibilities that social media marketing can present. These recommendations could include specific style guides, relevant and appropriate topics for discussion, and ideas for general, local interaction.
Allowing a franchisee to maintain and contribute to their own social media resources also adds to their inclusion and commitment to the entire brand. Isolation is a very strong concern in the world of franchise ownership but it is one that can be alleviated extensively by giving franchisees a ‘voice’ for their business.
The wider franchise can manage any concerns they may have with allowing individual social media presences by offering pre-authorised posts, topics and content for local branches to use on their pages. These resources used in conjunction with the franchise’s comprehensive social media policies will ensure the preservation of the brand’s integrity while still giving the branches a voice in the local marketplace. By providing these frameworks, the franchise can be confident that their individual social media pages are promoting a unified and consistent message, just reworked with the local flavour.
Market audiences are now highly immediate people. Google has even developed the phrase ‘micro-moments’ to describe the situational manner in which people are now searching and accepting recommendations for products and services. Circumstantial, ‘micro-moment’ searching is inherently benefitted by a local social media presence as it assists in capitalising on all potential sales. Moments like these could include a group of friends getting out of a movie and are suddenly looking for a good restaurant in the area, or a traveller that needs to find a last minute hotel after their flight was cancelled. By having a local social media presence, franchise businesses can benefit from a more flexible and adaptive marketing platform that can make the most of the modern ways people are sourcing their purchases.
Social media participation does not need to be feared or shunned in the world of franchises marketing; embracing the franchisee’s responsible and managed involvement in social media, franchises can take advantage of all available opportunities and even create new ones.
Joe Papadatos is Managing Director of Icon Visual Marketing, a full service marketing agency that for over twelve years has been equipping businesses with the marketing and sales tools to help them reach their next customer.
Icon Visual Marketing are highly experienced at strategically planning and building robust marketing hubs that help franchisors deliver the right marketing tools and resources to their franchisees grow.
For more information contact Joe on:
T: 1300 138 984