How to Choose the Right Digital and Social Media Channels to Promote Your Franchise Business

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Whether you’ve been a business owner for years and years or are an entrepreneur just starting out on your franchising journey, reading this article will help you choose the most effective digital and social media channels to promote your franchise.

Franchises no longer have to market their businesses through print media, as social media gives you unlimited potential to connect with people and create an engaging community of loyal customers. In the last 10 years, social media use has risen at an exponential rate, as more businesses have taken advantage of digital networks to reduce their marketing costs, improve brand recognition and achieve search engine optimisation (SEO). But how do you know which social media channels are best to promote your franchise business?

Choosing the right digital and social media channel

With so many social media channels available, it can be tricky to figure out which platforms are right for your franchise. There's no 'one size fits all' approach, because not all channels will be appropriate for every business. Depending on your franchise brand and target market, some outlets may be much more beneficial than others.

Firstly, you'll need to determine which platforms your customers already use. Then, find out which platforms will help you build your brand presence and connect with your customer base, as well as any new markets you want to tap into. This list comprises the big names and up-and-coming social media tools that business owners have at their fingertips today.

1. Facebook

With almost 2.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers enormous marketing opportunities to promote your franchise. From sharing updates to advertising special offers and investing in Paid Social, Facebook is king when it comes to connecting businesses with their audiences.

  • This channel is also great for marketing new products, promoting upcoming events and telling people about any other recent changes to your business, such as a new address or a new member of staff.
  • Facebook’s advertising platform is the most developed of all the social media channels. You can target by age, gender, interests, employment, relationship status, purchasing behaviours and lots more. Facebook ads allow you to reach your exact audience when they are already scrolling in their newsfeed.
  • With Facebook reviews, your customers can give their verdict on your franchise. As more reviews are posted, you'll receive an overall rating score, which can have a big impact on your brand reputation, especially if you're competing with many other franchises in your area.
  • If used well, Facebook will make a big impact on your brand awareness, website traffic, online conversations and lead generation. Facebook Messenger comes in very handy to achieve the latter, as Facebook has ad campaigns specifically designed for it; when a user clicks on an add, they will be prompted to start a Facebook Message with your franchise’s page.
  • Facebook Live is a livestreaming feature that allows businesses to engage with their audiences in real time. You can let your audience know when you’ll be broadcasting with a status update. Here are some ideas of what you could use this feature for: behind the scenes footage, an instant ‘Q&A’, providing valuable content and discussing trending topics.

Using Facebook is almost always the right choice, unless your type of business is prohibited from being advertised on Facebook, for example a vaping franchise.

2. Instagram

Showcase your products visually by marketing your brand on Instagram, which has over a billion monthly active users. It’s considered to be the second most important social network for marketers after Facebook.

  • The mobile visual app allows your business to post high-quality pictures and videos that showcase your brand and products.
  • Using hashtags in your captions will help you generate interest and engage with customers.
  • Instagram Stories are the most popular type of content on the platform and provide an excellent vehicle to promote your franchise. The ‘story’ of collated pictures and video footage will disappear after 24 hours, which means that businesses can be more informal and playful with their approach to marketing if they want to.
  • Instagram Stories are displayed at the top of the feed, so are more likely to catch the attention of users than regular content.
  • Better still, Instagram Live allows you to be bumped to first place in Stories – in other words, it is a shortcut to the front of the line. And followers that haven’t turned off Instagram Live notifications will get a message informing them you’ve gone live.

3. LinkedIn

If your business targets consumers based on job titles or you follow a B2B model, LinkedIn could be a powerful social media platform for your business. While its advertising service isn’t as advanced as Facebook’s, there are a lot more job roles you can target.

As well as Linkedln being a space where recruiters can post job vacancies, many businesses and individuals share updates with posts and articles. It’s even launched video posts and live video broadcasts.

4. YouTube

YouTube is an excellent platform for content marketing strategies, as businesses can post content to market their services indirectly. This is all about giving people useful, relevant information that will help them put your products/services to good use.

  • Encourage your viewers to click the 'like' button if they enjoyed your video, and allow people to post comments so they can give you their feedback and ask questions. For example, a gym franchise could post a series of workout videos with guidance on correct posture and form, and the best exercises/routines for different muscle groups.
  • As YouTube is owned by Google, you can have access to Google’s advertising platform.

If you’re planning on using video content to promote your franchise business, you should definitely use this 2+ billion-user-strong platform and make sure to consider -your YouTube SEO.

5. TikTok

This is a new social media platform that was launched in 2018. On the app, users can create and share their own 15-second video clip. Its impressive user figures have surpassed older platforms like Snapchat and LinkedIn, with 500 million people using the app monthly.

  • While it’s great for reaching Gen Z (a market that can be hard to capture the interest of), it has still got further to come in terms of its advertising functionality.
  • You can, however, use the platform to advertise through influencers, which has proved very effective for make-up businesses, for example.
  • Lots of businesses, like Chipotle, are using TikTok to highlight menu items and connect with their fans.

6. Pinterest

Although not as popular than other social media channels, Pinterest already has around 300 million monthly active users, so it shouldn't be underestimated. Like Instagram, the emphasis here is on aesthetics, so if you have visual products like clothing or accessories, inspire your customers with beautiful imagery. You can still use paid ads to increase the reach of your posts.

Most Pinterest users are female, so this is another good choice for women's/women-themed franchise brands.

7. Twitter

With well over 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is another social media giant which can help you promote your franchise brands quickly.

  • With direct messaging, you can also exchange feedback and resolve customer disputes more efficiently than by phone or e-mail.
  • When users with large numbers of followers retweet your posts, there's a chance your tweets could go viral. This could help you gain many new followers and improve your franchise marketing success in a very short space of time, and it won't cost you anything when people retweet your posts.
  • You can also engage new potential customers though hashtags. Simply search a hashtag and find other posts from businesses or consumers that have used that hashtag.
  • Twitter is great for sharing thoughts, promoting events, sharing web content and asking questions.

However, franchises should monitor their Twitter activity carefully to ensure their content does not breach Twitter guidelines or cause offence. A controversial tweet can quickly turn into a Twitter storm, which can harm your franchise's reputation, especially if the tweet is reported in national and international media.

Also, remember that you only have a 280-character limit, so your message has to be clear and succinct.

8. Snapchat

Because of its popularity with younger audiences, Snapchat is a good choice if you're targeting the Millennial market for your franchise marketing. Of its 350 million monthly active users, 71 percent are under 34 and almost half are between 18 and 24.

  • Use this channel to promote what's happening right now in your franchise, whether it's a new product launch or a fundraising event.
  • Think of Snapchat as a place to promote your products 'behind the scenes', where customers can see your brand in its developmental stage rather than the finished product. With Snapchat's Geofilters, you can promote an upcoming event, such as the opening of a new franchise, within a specific geographical area for a particular time period.
  • By posting compelling content on your business’s Snapchat Story and paying to post in your target audience’s Discovery Feed, you can reach a younger market you might not have tapped into yet.

9. Zoom, email, CRM platforms

While these aren’t social media channels, they do help facilitate the promotion of your business. During the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, they are proving to be more useful than ever.

  • Zoom is a video conferencing platform that allows you and your team to work together when meeting in person isn’t possible. In 2020, it added 2.22 million monthly users due to the social distancing rules induced by the pandemic. You can find out more about the latest tech trends innovating home-based businesses in another one of our articles.

  • You could continue to use email as the primary source of communication between your team. But many businesses are using instant messaging services like Slack. You can also use email marketing to promote your franchise, increase traffic to your website by sharing new content and turn site visitors into customers.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms help you maintain good ongoing relationships with customers. Some popular software options include, Salesforce, Nimble and HubSpot.

Choosing the right channel to promote your franchise business

As you can see, there is an abundance of excellent digital and social media channels out there, and we’ve only touched the surface by listing the most popular ones. Using social media well has the power to transform your business, especially in challenging times like these.

You can read more about how the COVID-19 crisis makes online advertising more important than ever. And check out some incredible examples of Point Franchise businesses using marketing to enhance the customer experience.

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