Franchisees used to have the advantage of a large budget and massive reach for marketing efforts provided by the corporate side of a franchise.
However, social media has given small business owners a platform to market their services on an unprecedented scale. This evens out the playing field, which means franchisees face fierce competition not only from their fellow franchise owners but also from local business owners.
It is crucial, then, for franchisees to improve their social media strategy and outperform the competition while still abiding by the standards set by the franchisor. While this may seem like a difficult challenge, try implementing these 7 simple social media tips—which can have an immediate impact on a franchisees social media success. Let's get started.
1. Work with Corporate
Part of the strength of a strong franchise is maintaining consistency across their different outlets, so it is important to regularly work with the Corporate’s marketing team before implementing any social media marketing strategy. Remember the success of the corporate social media pages and your own are mutually beneficial.
To get started, you must agree on a system of sharing content, copy, and hashtags that go along with marketing imagery. This will help you organize your social media posting and keep your posts consistent with the brand.
You must also ask and provide constant feedback. The social media marketing team of your franchise covers a national or international audience, so they may have more resources and more experienced people at the helm. Use this to your advantage by asking for best practices and unique strategies.
Similarly, you can share what’s working for you or you can provide insights from your local community, so corporate can improve strategies or customize to fit that customers your serve.
Below, is a sample post from Anytime Fitness that caters to their entire customer base, so pages ran by franchisees also use the same video, caption, and hashtag:
2. Schedule Posts
Manually publishing all your posts can be a challenge, especially if you run accounts on different platforms. That's why social media scheduling tools are important for social media managers and franchise owners who want to share a regular stream of content to their followers.
With a scheduling tool like Social Report, you can promote a sale or event and schedule it to be published multiple times. You can customize each post with a different photo and caption to avoid parroting yourself and annoying your followers. Scheduling is also a great way to plan out your social posts weeks or months in advance.
Here are some of the best scenarios for scheduling posts:
- Big Holidays: Holiday schedules are set in stone, so you can plan early and focus on engaging with your customers during these busy times.
- Special Offers and Events: You can also schedule posts that promote events. You can even schedule these posts to run at different intervals or daily for a period of time.
- Evergreen Blog Posts: Identify which blog posts can be re-promoted later in the year based on local events, holidays, or sales. Remember to change the photos and captions to make the post seem current.
- Corporate Promotions: Corporate promotions can be sent well in advance to prepare franchisees to promote them. Use this to your advantage by scheduling the posts ahead of everyone else.
3. Know Your Customers
To make your social media marketing strategy more effective, you need to know who you're marketing to, so it is essential to view insights from every social platform you're on.
Social media analytics give you a clear picture of your followers: who they are, what posts they like to engage with, what time they are most active on social media, and more. This can help you identify the type of posts your audience are most interested in and the time they are most likely to see it.
Happy #NationalHotChocolateDay! 🍫Sweeten your afternoon with our delicious Hot Chocolate & one of our Heart Shaped Donuts! 💘🍩 Try all the #VDay 🍩 flavors: Cupid’s Choice, Brownie Batter Crumble, or NEW Vanilla Truffle! #LoveAtFirstSight pic.twitter.com/g6ivXSg1PR— Dunkin' NY NJ So.CT (@DunkinNYTri) January 31, 2018
Remember, most social media algorithms reward posts with high engagement (likes, comments, retweets, and shares), so publishing the right content at the right time can give you the opportunity to be seen by more people.
4. Analyze Your Social Channels
Similarly, you can also utilize data from your social channels to create more posts that resonate with your target audience. Review your top-performing video or most engaging posts and try to find a common theme.
Perhaps your audience likes to engage with short how-to videos versus a colorful infographic. You may find that sharing local news draws more comments compared to sharing topics that are trending nationally or vice versa. Similarly, you can also find that one of your hashtags is more popular on Instagram, while a different hashtag resonates more with your Facebook fanbase.
Analyzing the performance of your social channels can help you laser focus on things that work and dial down on things that don’t.
5. Engage with Your Customers
Knowing your customers is only half the battle. To make your customers want to come to your establishment over other franchises and local businesses in your area, you have to build a relationship with them.
To build a relationship with customers, you must be willing to regularly engage with them. One of the best ways to do it is to promptly respond to customer queries and concerns. A study by Twitter found that when an airline responded to a Tweet in 6 minutes or less, the customer would be willing to pay more for their service in the future.
Not all your customers will come to you with a question. Sometimes, you also need to take the first step. When a customer takes a photo of your product or tags you in a post, take time to like the post and say thanks.
See how Subway in Woodside, NY responds to customer praise and concerns by viewing the comments in their Facebook post below:
If you're having difficulties managing messages, tags, or tweets, you can benefit from using a Smart Social Inbox. A smart inbox puts all your social media conversations in one place, so you can send a Facebook message and reply to a Tweet without needing to look through multiple inboxes.
When building relationships with customers, remember to do it in a friendly, conversational tone. Franchises may be part of a huge corporation, but every franchisee is unique and is a part of the community s/he is serving. Let that show when you respond to a question or engage with a fan.
6. Study Your Competition and Your Allies
The way you utilize your analytics and your knowledge of the local key are essential to a great social media strategy. However, it's also essential to learn from other franchisees that have been reaping the rewards of good social media management.
Two of the best resources to level up your social media game are your competitors and your fellow franchisees
A competitor, who runs a profitable business and is raking in likes and shares on their social accounts is a great place to start. What types of posts on their social accounts get the most engagement? Can you share similar posts on your account? Do they regularly feature customers on their pages or tag them in photos? How can you do the same for your accounts?
Try to start with a local competitor when looking for strategies. Chances are you serve the same group of people and adopting their strategies can have the same positive effect on your page.
Learning from your fellow franchisees is an excellent way to assess your social strategies. Chances are the marketing assets or promotions used by a franchisee 300 miles away will be identical to yours. Are they getting more engagement with the same tools? What are they doing differently? Do they use a witty caption or do they simply mimic the words from the marketing assets?
Essentially, your fellow franchisees will have the same tools and support as you, but your success on social media will largely depend on what you do with the tools provided. Try to review their social pages and see what strategies you can incorporate to boost your pages.
7. Implement Automation
As a franchisee, you experience firsthand the importance of automation. For your business to run smoothly some things must be automated, and the same thing goes for your social media pages.
With social automations, you can enable automatic actions to certain activities that involve your social media pages. You can assign automations to tasks that place low on your to-do list but are still advantageous to your overall strategy.
For example, you can enable the "Follow Back Automation" for people who follow your franchise’s account on Twitter or automatically like a positive comment on your Facebook page. These small gestures help show that you care about customers and can encourage them to tag you on their photos or mention you in their posts in the future.
As a franchisee in the era of social media marketing, competition can come from all angles, so it is essential to work with your corporate counterparts, review your social channels, and engage with your customers.