How Likes, Shares And Retweets Can Help Build A Franchisees’ Business

06/03/2018 08:00 | Start a business

Social media in franchising

If you’re like 64% of the UK population, you’ve got an active social media account. Whether you’re fanatical about Facebook, inspired by Instagram or transfixed by Twitter, chances are you spend time visiting one or more social media platforms on a daily basis. And, if you’re the other 36% of the UK who don't use social media, it's doubtful that you won't have heard of this continually growing communication channel.

As a franchisee, you’re probably aware of the crucial part that marketing plays in becoming a successful franchise. Increasingly, franchise brands are turning to the more cost-effective and efficient social media sites to communicate to their prospective and existing customer base. And, with more than 42 million active social media accounts in the UK, it's an excellent place for you to share your franchise news, as well as promoting your products and services.

Why should you use social media to market your franchise?

The franchisor may be investing in national brand level advertising that you contribute towards through the payment of the marketing fee. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't compliment nationwide coverage, with more local social media marketing. And, if the franchisor doesn't advertise the franchise on your behalf, there's an even more significant incentive to get your social media marketing strategy right.

Social media posts don’t just enable you to promote your business; they also allow you to inject your personality into the posts. This is more likely to engage an audience than generic advertising which may not resonate with them. If potential customers are compelled to like, share or retweet your posts, the more likely they are to want to do business with you.

How do you get social media marketing right?

For franchise brands to win over an audience, franchisees need to have the freedom to bring the franchise to life through less sales-related content. It may seem counterintuitive at first but going in with the hard sell on social media is more likely to put customers off than encourage them to visit you.

Your social media posts should really take a much softer approach. Share franchise news, opinions, and facts, but only if the customer will find the content interesting. Bombarding social media sites with posts filled with aggressive sales techniques or tedious business information will end up with you having fewer followers and fans than if you did nothing at all.

Successful franchises, apply four rules to their social media posts. They only share content that’s:

  • Interesting
  • Educational
  • Informative
  • Entertaining

It can be challenging to find the right blend of these elements when you first start establishing your franchise on social media but get it right, and you'll benefit from a rise in sales and improved brand awareness.

Do you need to check that you can set up a social media account with the franchisor?

In short, yes. It's worth checking your franchise agreement or directly with the franchisor, to see what is and isn't permitted when it comes to social media. You'll probably find that it's a requirement that you create a social media presence as part of the contract.

Depending on how confident you are in social media, you may wish to ask the franchisor for help in the beginning. Successful franchises tend to have pre-agreed templates and content ideas to get you started.

While this support will probably be welcomed at first, remember that customers buy from people, rather than businesses. As you gain confidence, post content that reflects your personality and what the brand stands for in the community. Of course, there will be some limitations that the franchisor may have set, but franchise brands must protect their reputation, so having sensible restrictions in place makes perfect sense.

How do you create successful social media accounts?

Once you’ve checked the social media obligations and limitations, take some time to look at what your competitors are doing. For you to engage with your target audience, you need to differentiate your franchise from other similar businesses. Copying the content that another brand is using will not set you apart, but it may give you some ideas for your unique content.

Remember that social media success is based on engagement, so consistency is key. You don't want to post for the sake of putting content out there as this will negatively affect the relationship that you've built with your audience. However, if you're not posting regularly, you'll be forgotten amongst the thousands of other businesses using social media. The optimum number of posts per week varies, but there are plenty of tools available to help you tweak your strategy – just make sure that all your posts are interesting, educational, informative or entertaining.

How much does social media marketing cost?

When compared to traditional advertising methods, social media marketing is a fraction of the cost. For as little as a couple of pounds, your social media posts can reach thousands of potential customers.

Although the actual investment required varies depending on the size of your target audience and your region, you can choose to pay as little or as much as you want. The most common form of payment structure is per clicks. This means that your advertisement will run until the number of people your budget allows click on it. The bigger your budget, the more people it will reach. With time, you’ll gain knowledge of when and who to promote your franchise to, which will bring down the costs even further.

How do you benefit from social media marketing?

There are many advantages of social media marketing for your franchise, these include:

 

  • It's flexible – With social media, you can choose to update your audience with franchise news, share a video demonstrating a new product, add photos to generate interest, and much, much more. Its flexibility is only limited by your imagination.
  • It’s dynamic – Unlike any other form of marketing, social media allows you to have a direct, real-time conversation with your audience.
  • It’s informative – Data should always be collected after any marketing campaign, but with social media analytics you can access this information almost immediately.
  • It’s non-discriminatory - Social media doesn't care if you're a global brand or a new franchise startup. A bigger budget doesn't mean a better campaign, so businesses of all sizes are competing on a level playing field.

 

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