When franchisees purchase a system, they can usually rely on the parent brand’s name recognition and business processes. But here’s something a franchisee should not rely solely on: the parent brand social media marketing.
Why? Because it misses the real opportunity to social networks. It’s not just about building a brand, it’s about actively driving business and engaging with customers. It needs to happen locally, with local social media accounts run by local people.
I am Vice President of Communications at rally, a social media management company, and we see this mistake happen all the time. Franchisors typically create social profiles on behalf of their franchisees and syndicate company content on these pages. Franchisees then believe that their parent company’s social media content covers all their needs, so many do not create social content themselves. As a result, franchisee pages all look the same, with only corporate messaging and no localized personality.
Here’s what they don’t realize: These local pages could actively connect with franchise communities, build relationships with their followers, and give people a reason to visit their location or pay for their service. In some cases, these empty pages mean more than just missed connections. Customers can comment on posts or submit feedback, send direct messages or even ask questions about products or services. Franchisees who don’t monitor their pages can overlook sales opportunities, as well as unhappy customers.
So how to do better? Think local.
Many franchisees find it impossible to match the skills and frequency of their parent brand on social media. That may be true – most brands have in-house social media managers or work with very large agencies to produce a steady stream of content. But a local franchisee need all that. Local social media management can be quick and easy.
Start by pulling out your phone and snapping photos of staff and customers (with their permission) or capturing glimpses of behind-the-scenes life at your business. Team celebrations, events, holidays, birthdays, video testimonials, how-to articles, even photos of your dog – these are all ways to show the genuine personality behind your business and remind people that while your business can be a broader franchise system, your the location is managed by youand you are part of the community.
Stay relevant by covering current events (the pandemic, for example) and topics of interest to your followers. Once you start posting regularly, you’ll have an idea of what your audience likes to see the most. When you have a popular post, you can spend a few advertising dollars to increase its visibility and target people in your community.
We’ve seen this strategy work well, regardless of franchise type. For example, we recently worked with a pet supply franchisor to create social media for all of their individual franchisees. We’ve filled these pages with localized content, including lots of images of local cats and dogs! – then also started using social media accounts to introduce new services such as curbside pickup and delivery. This raised awareness of how each franchisee was serving their community during the pandemic. We then paid to boost their most popular posts, budgeting around $5-20 per post.
The upshot of all this: In 2020, localized social media drove over $1.7 million in purchase conversions.
Ultimately, these simple steps will inspire your followers to like, comment, follow, and share content, which will create greater traction in social feeds. Soon you will have an audience eager not only to see your content, but also to patronize your business.