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In this day in age, your efforts to establish your franchise as a household name can be severely hobbled if you overlook the power of social media. There are currently three billion people with social media accounts across all demographics, which means your target customers are likely active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

While it's relatively easy to create a social media account and begin posting, it’s also easy to relax on your franchise's social strategy and make careless mistakes. Just like big brands, your franchise’s social accounts (and thus, business) can fall victim to mistakes made on social media. To help your franchise steer clear of any major issues on social media, we've put together the top five social media mistakes that franchises make on social media (and that you'll want to avoid).

1. No Brand Identity

Companies sometimes lose sight of their brand identity and jump on a trendy topic in hopes generating brand buzz. Instead of gaining new followers, they end up alienating or losing their core customers. Franchises can be at special risk for inconsistent branding since they have multiple social accounts handled by different teams across different geographies.  

Here are a few ways to avoid this:

  1. Reinforce brand values to your franchisees when handing over social media responsibilities.
  2. Implement clear social media guidelines to make sure every post stays consistent.
  3. Make your own marketing assets and send them to your franchisees
  4. Have a communications workflow, so that customer inquiries and complaints are handled with consistency
  5. Advise franchisees to avoid posting about controversial topics

Brand inconsistencies can cause customers to lose confidence in your franchise, so make sure to take steps to ensure your brand identity shines in every social media post or interaction.

2. Over-Promoting

The goal of every marketing initiative is to acquire paying customers, and the occasional product promotion on social media isn’t all that bad. However, over-promoting your brand may bore or annoy your fans and could let to a ton of unfollows.

One of the last things social users want is to get bombarded with company advertisements. Most people on social media log-in to stay in touch with their friends, get news on the latest trends, and to fill up their spare time finding funny or entertaining content.

How do you take advantage of this? Well, one of the things great brands do is share timely, valuable, and entertaining content.  If your franchise is in the fitness industry, why not share articles about the latest trends in fitness or post funny “gym fail” videos?

To avoid over-promotion, try to apply the 80/20 rule. That is, only 20% of your content on social media should be about your brand, while the rest should focus on content that your fans will find useful or entertaining.

3. Inconsistent Posting

Inconsistent posting intervals or forgetting to post is the quickest way to kill your social strategy.

According to Social Media Today, people spend two hours on social media every day and a report states that teens can spend up to 9 hours scrolling through their feeds. This means your franchise is missing a ton of opportunities to be seen by potential customers. These opportunities will gladly be taken by rival businesses with a better aptitude for social media marketing. 

Managing your franchise's daily operations is tough, so manually publishing every post 365 days a year can pose a challenge. One way to take some of the pressure off is to hire a social media manager to run your social channels.

Similarly, you can use a social media scheduling tool like Social Report to plan and schedule your posts in advance to make sure your social channels continue to be active even when you can’t do it yourself.  

4. Lacking Content Variety

One of the mistakes brands often make in the social media marketing strategy is posting the same type of content over and over again. Sharing a blog post or news articles is a great way to keep your accounts active, but they aren’t always the most effective.

According to the Social Media Examiner, 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social accounts. Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement (likes, shares, comments) than those that don't. In addition, consumers on social media prefer to watch a video about a product rather than read about them.  

There needs to be a healthy variety of content for your franchise’s page to stand out. In our post, 7 Easy Social Media Tricks for Battling Creative Exhaustion, we discussed ways you can create a healthy variety of posts even when you’re stuck in a creative rut. Creating videos, running giveaways, and partnering with creatives are just a few of our suggestions to keep your content fresh.

Instead of posting status updates or sharing blog articles, you can also go for more visual content on your social accounts. There is a wealth of visual creation tools available to create stunning images, infographics, or videos to choose from and most of them can be used for free.

5. Low Customer Interaction

Marketing avenues, like television or radio, have been traditionally one-way, but brands who treat their social accounts the same way are destined to fail. Social media users want to talk to the brands they follow, and they expect a response.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, a third of consumers aged 30-49 interact with companies through social media.  In addition, many consumers expect a brand to respond to them within an hour of reaching out.

Whether it's through direct messages, posts, tweets, or tags, customer interaction can happen on different fronts. This makes it easy to find and answer customer questions or comments, try using an all-in-one smart social inbox that puts every conversation on all your social accounts in one place.

Your interactions on social media don't have to always be customer-driven. You can try to pose a question, comment on a customer's post, or share a customer's photo from time to time to encourage a healthy exchange on your social channels.

Wendy’s is a great example of how brands can enjoy a healthy interaction with their franchise’s customers. The fast-food chain sometimes "roasts" unruly customers and even tags rivals on their social account. Just make sure your interaction with your fans us always consistent with your brand.

Conclusion

The five social media mistakes discussed above can be easily avoided. Just remember to reinforce your brand identity, create a variety of engaging posts, and use the right social media management tool to consistently interact and engage with your customers.