How to make the most of social media marketing

15/07/2018 17:00 | Start a business

How to use social media for your franchise

Social media marketing has quickly become invaluable to businesses of all types and sizes. Itís a way of reaching an enormous number of people at a low cost and with a minimum expense of time and effort. However, franchises need to ensure that they're following a few simple rules if they're to make the most of their social media marketing. Here, we look at six ways you can develop your social media presence and improve your existing marketing campaigns. The six-point list looks at social media from the franchisee's perspective and offers many useful pointers to those who need a little guidance.

Social media for your franchise

1. Work towards consistency
Each franchise handles marketing in a slightly different manner. Some franchisors retain total control over marketing efforts, distributing marketing materials to their franchisees, taking responsibility for social media, and ensuring all franchise units communicate the same message. Others will allow individual franchisees to take control of their marketing campaigns.

Historically, marketing and advertising have been centralised in the hands of the franchisor. However, with the rise of social media, franchise units have assumed greater control. While this can be beneficial, problems can arise, too. The main issue is maintaining consistency of message across the franchise network. To do this, franchisees should coordinate with the franchisor and ensure that their approach to marketing chimes with the tone of voice and content being communicated by other franchisees.

2. Develop a comprehensive timetable
Franchisees need to maintain a constant presence on social media if they're to benefit from their marketing efforts fully. To do this, a comprehensive schedule is incredibly useful. This is also an essential way of managing your various social media accounts. Maintaining a grip on your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages can be tricky, as thereís an incredible amount of information being communicated and received, via several different sources. To ensure that you're appropriately utilising each social media platform, it's a good idea to develop a comprehensive timetable that details how content should be posted, when it should be published, and what type of content is due to be released.

3. Maintain a tight focus
Advertising depends on correctly identifying and then targeting the right audience. If youíre not reaching your target audience, youíre wasting an enormous amount of resources on your social media campaigns. Before you begin posting on social media, make sure youíve developed a comprehensive understanding of who buys or uses your products or services. Establish how they communicate, what social media platforms they use, and what kind of interactions they typically have with other businesses. Once youíre able to identify your target audience, make sure you maintain a tight focus and predominately target these individuals. Use an appropriate tone of voice, produce content thatís relevant, and try to reach them through as many channels as possible.

4. Make use of analytics
Anecdotal evidence that your social media marketing is working is one thing, but the analytical evidence is much more compelling. Using analytical tools to measure the success of your marketing efforts is a crucial aspect of modern online advertising. It helps you to refine your approach and establish what works and what doesn't. It provides the franchise owner with an enormous amount of valuable customer data and allows them to tailor their campaigns to meet increasingly specific requirements. Despite what people would have you believe, analytical assessments arenít too difficult to implement, either. While dedicated social media management companies will offer greater insight into your social media marketing efforts, a basic understanding can be achieved via the use of more simple software, like Google Analytics.

5. Two-way communication is key
To implement a successful social media policy, you'll need to focus on both outgoing and incoming communications. Social media is at its most effective when two-way communication is established, and businesses can interact with their customers in a natural, conversational manner. Donít ignore your customers when they post on your social media accounts, take the time to respond and develop a rapport. The most significant social media benefits to business come when you begin to use these resources in a different way to your more traditional marketing output. Whereas previous advertising efforts were very much a one-way street, social media is a platform for discussion. Businesses need to take this into account if theyíre to implement a successful social media policy.

6. Be inspired by other businesses
Whether youíre struggling for ideas or feel that your creative output has never been more productive, itís always a good idea to keep an eye on what the competition is doing with their marketing. Not only can this help you identify social media trends and alert you to shifts in digital behaviour, but it will also ensure that you're putting out unique and individual content.

Being inspired by other businesses influences your output in two distinct ways. First, it allows you to take what you like about other campaigns and adapt it to your own business. Second, it provides you with the necessary data to plot and plan your unique campaign. By looking at what others are doing, you'll identify ways to differentiate yourself and ensure that you stand out from the crowd. The most popular franchises arenít concerned with how they come up with their ideas or where they find inspiration, but they do care about putting out content that distinguishes their business from others.

To ensure that your franchise profits from your social media marketing, it's essential to come up with a comprehensive advertising strategy. Don't leave things to chance and don't approach social media in an impulsive and carefree manner Ė this is a recipe for disaster. Instead, take note of our six suggestions and begin building your marketing policy from there. While our list of social media dos and doníts is certainly not exhaustive, itís the foundations upon which you begin building a comprehensive online strategy.

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