How Is Managing Social Media Different for Franchise Companies?
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Managing franchise social media marketing can be challenging.
In contrast to other businesses with regional offices, franchise businesses have little control over their franchise locations. Issues can arise when business practices like digital marketing that directly represent the franchiser’s brand image are not properly managed.
While most businesses need to manage one account, franchises must manage several local accounts spread across wide geographic areas while maintaining brand coherence.
What Is Franchising?
In case you’re not familiar with franchising, a franchise is a company that offers its name, brand, and unwavering support to those who invest in the franchise and build its location and brand.
The owner of the franchise or umbrella business is known as the franchisor. The franchisor controls certain aspects of the franchise, such as branding.
The franchisee is the owner of a business location under the umbrella business. The franchisee often pays the corporate owner a one-time fee to cover the costs of onboarding and starting the business in a new location. They also give a portion of their earnings based on the agreement in exchange for continued brand use and the franchisor’s support.
To maintain brand consistency, you must ensure that your corporate standards are followed throughout the extensive network of independent business units operated by various individuals and corporations under your umbrella business.
In this article, we’ll look at how social media marketing efforts differs for franchises, the challenges, and ways of overcoming these challenges.
How Is Managing Social Media Different for a Franchise?
Social media is important because social networks are a central hub for promoting brands, generating brand affinity and loyalty, and offering customer support. Aligning social media goals between franchisees and franchisors can frequently provide difficulties due to the various needs of the two parties.
For a franchise, the need to control its branding and maintain brand authority through brand voice and brand message consistency across every business location is where the work and the difference are.
According to a BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor research, about 51% of franchisors actively influence the social media presence of local businesses.
Factors contributing to this include the need to prevent inconsistent brand messaging/image from conserving resources on the part of the franchisee, who may not have enough opportunities to produce a customized yet high-quality piece of content.
Franchise owners try to prevent unpleasant customer experiences using a controlled social media strategy. Almost anything can start a negative conversation on social media. As a result, many franchise networks opt to use social media securely.
Franchises frequently embrace strict and risk-free social media policies and norms rather than maximizing value from a social media presence by producing interesting and unique content.
However, as the franchise grows, it becomes more challenging to manage the brand’s social media channels centrally.
As a result, brands are forced to choose between providing more local-level and targeted content and upholding the consistency of their brand voice.
Well, franchise brands don’t have to choose between the two. How can a franchise control localized content strategies on a large scale while ensuring that these efforts align with overall marketing strategies and branding objectives?
Firstly, franchises decide whether they allow franchisees to establish dedicated social accounts for their locations. They give direction to these local businesses by;
- Providing a social media policy that sets the tone for your brand voice,
- Specifying the type of images you permit and prohibit on social media platforms,
- Stating your brand’s values and prohibited behavior in clear terms,
- And offering customizable response templates for each region.
This guidebook will help boost your franchise’s core social media profiles and assist local franchisees in developing a strong social media presence across various accounts.
Social Media Challenges Franchisors Face
Below are some of the challenges franchisors face in managing social media platforms:
Control, or choosing what to control and what not to control, is the main issue facing franchisors.
Franchise systems are intricate, frequently comprising hundreds of chains across the United States or the world. Managing multiple social media platforms and content calendars is also challenging.
If franchisors exert too little control over the social media activities of franchisees, they risk losing their brand authority, and potential customers may encounter inconsistent brand messaging and quality.
In context, if they exert too much control over the social media activities of their franchisees, franchisees won’t be able to develop localized content strategies. So they risk failing to draw people to particular branches and locations.
Setting Up Social Media Guidelines and Budget
The first task for a franchise looking to align its brand’s voice while maintaining each branch’s individuality to appeal to local audiences is to set up guidelines to establish a brand voice and direct all your social media marketing activities.
The next step is to choose how you want to “appear” on social media. Will your business employ emojis to engage the millennial generation? Or are you going to choose a more formal tone? You might even think about using comedy or sarcasm.
Set social media marketing goals: You must be very clear about what you hope to achieve with social media. To help you get started, consider responding to the following questions:
Who Will Oversee Your Team’s Social Media Accounts?
Each individual franchise may occasionally have a corporate manager and a social media coordinator. This may change depending on the size of your company. One social media manager who handles everything at corporate headquarters may be the case for franchisors with fewer franchisees.
How Will You Set Up Localized Social Media Accounts?
Will your franchisor’s user name on social media be your company name, while the user name for each franchise location carries your company name plus their location? Take into account what is appropriate for your business and the demands of your audience.
What Personas and Market Groups Are You Aiming For?
Marketing to individuals differs significantly from marketing to businesses. There are differences between marketing to men and women. You can choose your approach by carefully defining your audience.
What Kinds of Content Are You Going to Share?
Will you distribute images and videos? If so, are you especially interested in the imagery of products, inspirational lifestyle content, or something else? Do you plan to share blog posts or Instagram photos from behind-the-scenes that showcase your workplace culture? Make a list of all the content categories you intend to use.
How Frequently Will You and Your Franchisees Share Each Type of Content?
It’s crucial to maintain consistency. Furthermore, you must decide how frequently you plan to post social media content.
How Will You Measure Your Success and Maximize Your Work?
You need to keep an eye on the quality of the content and manage the brand messaging across all their social media accounts. Measure your progress and implement adjustments that boost engagement.
Answers to these questions will help you put together a strong social media plan and social media brand standards for your business.
Tracking Your Return on Investment (ROI)
Even with just one corporate brand to monitor, tracking social media returns can be challenging. It becomes considerably more complicated when many franchise locations are included, each with its social media presence.
Here are some tips for franchisors to track social media ROI across corporate headquarters and the local franchise:
Set concrete, attainable goals for your social media marketing: For instance, you might wish to add 2,000 new email subscribers in two months. Alternatively, you might wish to send 5,000 visitors from your social media platforms to your website.
Set specific goals for your social media managers: For instance, instruct your locations’ social media managers to publish your subscribe link in a specific number of social media posts every day rather than urging them to acquire a set number of new email subscribers.
Measure your results: This may sound obvious, but you must have all your social media accounts on the same platform to track and evaluate your success across all of them.
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Social Media Challenges Franchisees Face
Just like franchisors, franchisees face certain social media challenges. Local franchises face various obstacles, with competition at the center of these challenges.
In addition to following brand rules and achieving social media objectives, franchisees must distinguish themselves from other branches and competitors.
Distinguish Yourself From Competitors and Other Franchise Locations
One of the biggest problems for any brand on social media is standing out in the competition. If you want to stand out with your posts compared to your rivals, you must keep an eye on the performance of your posts and use tools that offer you an edge on what your users are looking for on social media.
You can use social media to demonstrate your brand excellence by sharing favorable comments from others and publishing testimonials. You may also use social media for advertising events and special deals to boost attendance and engagement.
Although franchisees represent the same brand, they also compete with one another internally. As a result, local franchises are to think creatively and develop localized social media marketing campaigns that enhance publicity in the social media space. Your task is to “push” users toward coming to your specific location amidst the multitude of options.
Make your social media presence lively and engaging. Ask to share reviews and provide feedback. Users are more likely to choose your location over a competitor’s if you have favorable reviews and comments.
If your city has several locations, use neighborhood hashtags instead of city hashtags to highlight your particular location. If your franchise is national and only allows one per city, use the hashtags to make your city stand out.
Even better, you can personalize the tone of your branch by using search engines to acquire data on the demographics of your particular location.
Limited Workers and Resources
Small businesses lack the resources that large corporate offices do. Franchisees might not have the time or resources to commit completely to social media. Additionally, teams tend to be small and frequently lack a member with the expertise to dominate social media when resources are scarce.
Hiring someone who knows the market or audience you’re targeting is ideal. Utilize the expertise of freelancers or social media marketing agencies like Sociallybuzz to manage your social media platforms. You can also use social media tools to manage your social media calendar. You can easily schedule your content well in advance with social media managing tools.
Franchise Solutions for Managing Social Media Effectively
In addition to developing a social media plan with achievable targets, the following solutions will keep social media cohesive between franchisors and franchisees.
Outline the General Goals and Specific Local Goals
Making a plan for both the franchise and the franchisee is the easiest method to increase your social media involvement across corporate and franchise locations.
The general goal should include the following:
Brand guidelines: This includes your brand’s logo, colors, mission statement, and general rules for style and tone.
General goals: You can include overall corporate key performance indicators, such as the total number of followers or shares, along with the percentage each location is expected to contribute to the overall goal.
Actionable goals: Be careful to develop goals that specify your posting approach, such as posting a certain number of times per day or sharing four articles per week.
Local goals should include the following:
Specific local goals: Set individual goals for a particular franchise location; these goals should define how many new followers they should gain, how frequently they should post, which social media channels they should be active on, etc.
Regional best practices: Study what local competitors are doing. What is effective for them? A local strategy can be determined by gathering technical information such as trending hashtags and limited-time discounts.
Create a Posting Schedule
Creating a posting schedule is a social media management solution that will help you to reduce the workload of publishing continuously throughout the day.
Scheduling can be expanded upon: This implies that you can start with only one account, like the corporate account, then add users, like franchise locations, when your business expands.
A publishing workflow frees up a ton of time and resources, which will lessen the load on smaller franchises that lack the time or expertise to manage social media.
Enabling procedures that demand post-authorization assist in upholding brand voice consistency and aid in preventing social media crises.
Measure and Improve Your Efforts
It’s worth mentioning you can’t improve what you don’t measure. You must set up social media analytics for your corporate and franchise locations.
Also, hashtags and brand keywords might help you arrange your postings and determine how they are received. Tagging allows you to categorize posts according to particular campaigns and characteristics, such as franchise locations, instead of the national franchisor account.
Managing Social Media Accounts for Franchises
Managing social media for franchises can be challenging, especially with the various accounts spread across different locations. To fully utilize the potential of social media marketing, franchises must overcome considerable logistical and managerial challenges.
Creating clear brand rules and conducting efficient monitoring and supervision will increase the social media presence of all franchise locations. It will also help to avoid making social media missteps that take years to rectify.
Franchises must oversee and manage branch social media operations to enforce a consistent brand experience on social media. However, franchisees need to be granted autonomy and authority to provide locally tailored content to advertise the business effectively.