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The dawn of the mobile era has created numerous ways for consumers to communicate and engage with franchises of every shape, size and scope. From restaurants, fitness centers and salons to retail and clothing stores, its essential for your franchise’s growth to take advantage of all the social media marketing tools at your disposal.

Benefits of leveraging your social media channels include:

  • Build a community of repeat customers, who are loyal to your brand and your business
  • Increase influence over a larger audience by connecting with key taste-makers and community leaders
  • Make use of objective validation of consumers to showcase trustworthiness & credibility
  • Get instant feedback on promotions and improve your social media campaigns in real-time
  • Improve your mobile search rankings, leading to new customers and more qualified leads
  • Find add hire new talent to your team

With so many consumers opting to go online before they make a purchase to even engage with a brand, franchisees need platforms like Facebook, Google and Instagram to build and engage with their local communities.

How Make the Most of Social Media Marketing for Your Franchise: Getting to Know Your Customers

Knowing your customers is key to any and all marketing endeavors; this is especially true for local franchises whose success relies upon their ability to connect with a local audience. Understanding the demographics and habits of your customers will allow you to do this with increasing accuracy overtime, especially if you’ve thought ahead and already implemented Google Analytics.

For example, if you’re a cafe just outside of a college campus and 65% of your customers interact with your business through Instagram, you could send out a 10% off promo on Instagram just as students are starting or finishing classes for the day.

How to get acquainted with your audience

  • Conduct a simple audit of your most common customers, taking note of most frequent shopping hours, preferred products/services and demographics (age, sex).
  • Create a set of guidelines applicable to all social networks in conjunction with any corporate requirements. (This should include how to interact with positive and negative comments or reviews.)
  • Establish a cadence to your posts and assign engagement responsibilities.

Conducting consumer research and planning the social media management strategy for your franchise in this way will simplify your job, help improve sales, and create social interactions online that resonate with your local community.

Don’t stop at identifying your customers and their daily habits. Dig deeper into the data.

Monitoring your online reputation is crucial; as is pay attention to what your customers tell you. Also called  “social listening,” reputation management and social media management both provide real insights and understanding of customer trends that can significantly improve your business.

Engaging in online reputation management has the added benefit of increasing your ability to sway your audience through your responses or engagements with current, past, and prospective customers. As you do this more often, potential customers will take note of these interactions at the critical moment of purchasing intent. When they witness how much you care about customer experience, they’ll be far more likely to visit your franchise.

Benefits of managing social media channels and engaging in reputation management:

  • Identify the most engaged followers and convert them into loyal, repeat customers
  • Build a positive, far reaching online reputation
  • Take note of recurring issues and mitigate them
  • Compare feedback across different locations, along with reviews and ratings
  • Convert unhappy customers quickly and proactively – customers sometimes just want to know that someone cares

Engage with your audience on social media instead of selling them.

When it comes to a successful content marketing strategy, keep these three fundamentals in mind:

  • Consistency– It’s crucial that when writing, your voice stays consistent, as should the types of images and filters used for visual elements.
  • Interactivity– Try to make your content interactive as often as possible. Engage your customers with quizzes, polls, Q&A’s and competitions.
  • Insight– A great way to captivate and connect with your customers is with insights into the inner workings of your business, for instance: behind the scenes with your staff, with other customers or engaging in community events.

As a franchise business, your ability to dictate your writing voice and visual elements are by nature highly dependent on your franchise agreement. However, the kinds of content you can use to keep your customers engaged should be open to your discretion. To that end, its crucial to expand the focus of your content beyond purely promotional to impact fans and followers and give them a reason to engage with you or share your posts. The less a customer feels like they’re  being sold to, the more likely they are to trust your content and engage with your outreach efforts.

Franchisees and Franchisors need each other to succeed

A common concern Franchisees often express is not receiving enough support and relevant digital assets from Corporate. While this can be a difficult path to walk at times, the simple fact of the matter is that your social reach is just as, important than Corporate’s, if not more so.

For example, with Facebook’s organic reach posts sent from Corporate’s main page won’t necessarily reach followers of your franchise’s business page, which not only dramatically reduces their effectiveness, it could also mean more work for the franchisee. That being said, if you have 1,000 active fans and your posts reach 20% of them, your franchise’s efforts will be nearly as effective as Corporate’s primary page with a reach of 1%, often with less budget spent on advertising.

With that in mind, it’s essential to coordinate with your franchisor’s marketing team and give them the security and confidence they need to feel comfortable empowering your franchise with branded assets. Together, you’ll be able to maximize the effectiveness of the brands reach, maintain your content’s relevance, and measure how well it resonates with new and loyal customers.

Strategies and benefits of collaborating with Corporate:

  • Formalize a system of sharing content internally and externally, including suggested text and hashtags for franchisee operations with local, national, and international scopes.
  • Send feedback and data-driven suggestions on how successful brand guidelines are or aren’t. With a deeper understanding of what’s happening on the ground, your franchisor will be able to refine and improve your digital marketing toolkit.
  • Share your content calendar, being sure to include local insights. These can sometimes be formalized and shared nationwide.
  • Create a positive feedback loop by sharing comments from your happiest customers to reinforce your successful social media strategies.

Taking a strategic approach to social media management and finding ways to regulate, systemize, and automate as much of your effort as possible will ultimately help your bottom line, but it will also give franchisees more authority when interacting with franchisors. By proving and tracking franchise successes, you’ll be empowered not only to ask for more support but to influence the global strategy of your brand.

Social Media Management for Franchises isn’t Always a Walk in the Park. That’s Why We’re Here

If you’d like to learn how to capitalize your ROI on social media channels by automating or monitoring them, connect with our team of experts today. We have the tools and insight you need to automate and monitor your social media management strategy while empowering your franchise with the success metrics and marketing automation tools you need to succeed.

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