Developing a franchise social media marketing strategy can be tricky. It requires a delicate balance between promoting a unified, consistent voice, and engagement tailored to a local audience. Without a plan, you can count on a garbled company message, a muddled perception of the brand, and franchises accounts that go rogue. Let this post serve as a guide for planning and executing a flawless plan franchise social media marketing.
The ‘Why’ Behind Franchise Social Media Marketing
Before brainstorming the best social media marketing plan for your franchise, understand the “why” behind the process. It all boils down to consistency and resources.
From a corporate perspective, you want your company to deliver a unified message across all marketing channels, creating a unique and strong brand identity that is clear to potential clients and customers – no matter which social media account they land on.
At the same time, franchisees want to distinguish their locations from the national brand, serving up content and promotions customized for their own market. After all, this is their business – but they may not have the tools and resources needed to create and execute a successful franchise social media marketing strategy.
Additionally, a common complaint among franchise location owners is that they don’t receive the support, guidance, and digital assets necessary to keep their own social pages in line with the national brand’s vision. It can be difficult to sympathize with corporate’s desire for brand unity when they fund major national paid social campaigns but don’t share basic resources like a preferred Facebook profile photo.
Merging the interests of the national brand with the needs of the franchisees is possible when you consider the following best practices.
Franchise Social Media Marketing: Corporate Responsibility
The corporate social media team should share the wealth (we’re talking figuratively, but if there is room in the budget to help franchisees with an introductory paid campaign or boosting, by all means…) At they very least, establish a set of social media guidelines and style guide for franchisees. This is one step that helps keep the brand identity strong and consistent across channels. Other best practices include:
- Developing branded profile and cover photos for franchise pages.
- Creating and sharing multiple pieces of brand-level content each month, including high-quality imagery and desired hashtags.
- Developing posting schedules based on optimal times for engagement.
- Crafting and sharing brand-appropriate responses to comments and reviews.
- Keeping franchisees in the know about social media updates and changes. Remember, they’re running the day-to-day business operations and may not have the time to keep up with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms.
Additionally, the corporate social media team should provide guidance on which social media channels franchisees should be active on. An eager-to-please franchise owner may make the mistake of creating accounts across the social media spectrum, spreading the strategy thin and eventually burning out. Given Facebook’s location-specific targeting and features, as well as the ability to promote events easily, it’s the likely the best option for location-specific pages. Corporate social accounts can more easily expand to the other various channels, like Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Franchise Social Media Marketing: Franchisee Opportunities
When a franchise social media marketing strategy is thoughtfully planned and well executed, it presents plenty of opportunities for franchisees to connect with their target clientele and offer content and promotions tailored to their market. Instead of a burden, or another thing to check off the to-do list, social media marketing can build a loyal following and make it easier for franchisee owners to communicate updates and incentives. The following guidelines can help franchisees realize the potential of social media:
- Personalize and localize: A steady flow of “corporate” content makes it easier to update local Facebook pages regularly, while still allowing time for crafting posts that are tailored to each location’s footprint and following.
- Create events and promotions specific to the footprint, associated with the local franchise’s Facebook page, to increase awareness with local clientele.
- Take advantage of direct access to engage with your location’s following.
- Share insights and local content that performed well with other franchisees to further improve brand messaging and consistency.
There’s no question that incorporating a franchise social media marketing plan into a global strategy offers brands many opportunities to connect and engage with target customers and build a loyal client base. However, execution must be thoughtful and considerate of the many demands of a franchisee owner’s time and resources. For some brands, making local-level social marketing an “opt-in” is the best approach, ensuring that franchisee owners who participate are enthusiastic and willing to see execution through to success.
Interested in learning more about social media marketing? Check out this list of the 21 best social media marketing books every strategist needs to read.