Tips for Approaching Social Media With Your Franchise
It's hard to deny that social media is an important part of current marketing strategies. It's everywhere – companies have Facebook pages, they're on Twitter, they're pinning Pinterest ideas, sharing Instagram photos, and even making Snapchat profiles. This is marketing of the future, and it's the way of the now. (Yes, even if you're not yet up and running.)
With this logic the question isn't so much whether or not one should be implementing social media, but how.
Understanding Social Media for Business
First things first, social media for personal use is different than it is for your company. Businesses should create a business "voice" that is both informative and positive.
In general, this means avoiding politics, clear communication, and sharing links that have an uplifting vibe. (No knocking the other guy, even if they do something bad – it's bad form and you should find a positive spin instead.) Each share is essentially an advertisement; find a line between promotion and making a friend – that's your ideal talking point, and it's exactly where you want to keep your profile at all times.
Choosing Your Outlets
If you signed up for every social media platform that came along, you'd never have time to manage them all – you'd be over-exerting and folks would likely get tired of seeing your posts. Instead, choose two to five platforms and give them your best efforts.
Look to brands that will effectively highlight your industry. For instance, B2B franchises are more likely to see results on Twitter, Facebook, and especially LinkedIn, while B2C brands should focus on visual sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. (Yes, pretty much every business should have a Facebook; it's one of the best ways to be found.) While those looking for local traffic should post on Google +.
Check with a marketing or social media professional (who isn't working with your direct competition), or perform your own research before making an informed decision.
Your franchisor will have guidance and perhaps a rules of engagement policy for using social media. Look also to other franchise unit owners for their input on what seems to work for them.
Create a Presence
Even before you open your franchise you can start posting on social media. This is a fast and effective way to let folks know you're in the area, and you'll soon be open for business. They can start following your immediate shares, which will then drum up awareness.
You should also link social media profiles to your website (you've seen others do it; it's an easy fix and extremely effective) so that customers can easily jump between the two. And trust us, younger generations will be looking. Link up with corporate accounts and apps for an even more fluid way to find local consumers. After all, your corporate branch will have a huge presence already – help yourself out (and their efforts) by adding to the social media cause. Talk with them in initial stages about expectations and tips, what help they offer, or if there are any particulars like legal restrictions.
Social media is a new trend that – to date – not all brands are choosing to use in their favor. Those who market effectively can easily gain better and more affordable online exposure.