The franchise industry is booming, and having a cohesive social media marketing strategy is imperative for franchisees to succeed.
In 2020, there were more than 750,000 franchise establishments in the country with a total generated revenue of 670 billion dollars.
Image Source – Statista
These numbers will surely excite you if you have recently franchised your business. There’s zero doubt, after all, that it’s a highly profitable market out there!
Having said that, you’ll need to adopt aggressive marketing tactics to gain visibility for your franchisees at different locations. A franchise social media marketing strategy can help you not only in building a strong social media presence, but also to generate qualified leads.
As promising as it is, franchise social media marketing comes with its own set of challenges.
Through this post, I aim to help you understand these challenges and provide you with actionable suggestions to develop a cohesive social media marketing strategy that can be adopted by franchisees at different locations.
Understanding Franchise Marketing
A franchise, by definition, is a business that allows individuals or organizations to buy into the franchise and start branches at their locations. The franchisor offers his logo, name, and extensive support to the franchisee to establish the local branch.
KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, and Century 21 are all great examples of successful franchise businesses in the country.
If you are new to franchise marketing, it refers to adopting a cohesive marketing strategy at the global as well as the local level to maintain brand values and standards. Franchise social media marketing campaigns play a major role in achieving this goal.
Common Social Media Marketing Challenges Franchises Face
The social media marketing challenges that franchises face are diverse. Here are the three most common challenges that franchise owners struggle with.
1. Standing Up to The Competition
The competition is stiff out there, and franchisees may struggle to cope with it. A strong social media marketing strategy is what they need to grab the attention of their target audience.
As a franchisee, the reputation of your franchise brand is passed on to you, giving you an edge over your competitors. Use that as the foundation for your social media marketing posts and create high-quality content. Understand what your audience is looking for on social media and present your products or services as a solution.
Use social media to highlight your quality of service by sharing testimonials and positive comments; utilizing user-generated content to boost your credibility on social media is always a smart move. Promote your exclusive offers in a way that users will choose you over your competition.
2. Distinguishing Your Franchise from Others
As a franchise owner, not only do you have to compete with other brands; you also have to work hard to distinguish yourself from other branches of your brand in the same region. Imagine, for example, multiple Starbucks outlets in LA or Chicago working hard to create a distinct identity for themselves on social media.
The biggest differentiating factor here is to understand what your customers in the neighborhood want. Use social media analytics to get a better understanding of your followers. Then, stand out by using location-specific hashtags.
Build your social media posts around local culture, demography, landmarks, and anything specific to your city or region. That’s how you can stand out!
3. Maintaining Standards with Limited Resources
Smaller franchises have small teams and limited resources, which make it particularly difficult for them to maintain the same social media standards as their headquarters. With limited staff and bandwidth, you may not be able to devote sufficient time to creating social posts or engaging with your followers satisfactorily.
To tackle this practical challenge, relying on social media marketing tools can help you efficiently manage all of your social activities. Why not hire a seasoned freelancer to execute the social media marketing strategy on your behalf? Just be sure that they understand your brand values. You can agree to pay mutually beneficial partnership incentives to build a long-term relationship with these freelancers.
How to Plan Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Franchises
The key to effective franchise social media marketing is developing a cohesive strategy to maintain a positive global brand image.
Here are five ways you can build and efficiently execute a cohesive social media strategy across franchises:
1. Define Broader Brand Guidelines and Goals
Mapping brand guidelines are at the heart of any successful franchise social media campaign. Providing your franchisees with clear instructions about the verbiage, tone, color palette, style, and so on will help maintain consistency in social media posts across all locations.
Equally important is to define brand goals for a social media marketing strategy, both at the location level and overall. You can stress the overall follower count, likes, and shares you want to achieve in a quarter and how franchisees can contribute.
2. Educate Your Franchises
Once you’ve set the broader umbrella guidelines in place, take time to educate your franchisees about your expectations. You can conduct workshops to get them at pace with your social media marketing goals for the year and how you plan to achieve them. You can even share tips on how to be productive with limited resources. Maintaining clarity in communication is of utmost importance to eliminate inconsistency in your social media presence across locations.
Take time to educate your franchisees about the social media marketing campaigns you are designing and provide due assistance to execute them cohesively across locations. You can encourage your locations to try free tools to generate sales leads to grow their business consistently.
3. Monitor Content Quality
Do you have a consistent brand voice on social media across all your locations? Your franchise branches must always align their social media content with your branded guidelines.
Regularly visit your franchisees’ social media accounts and go through their posts to ensure they have on-brand content. You can rely on a tool like Semrush to track social media activity across different locations. The use of colors, logo, style, hashtags and emojis should be consistent and in line with your instructions. The same holds for the images and videos they use in their posts.
To negate any inconsistency, the franchisor can provide standard format and customizable templates that locations can use depending on their requirements to maintain social media marketing quality.
4. Control Publishing Schedule
As a brand, I am sure you understand that posting time matters on social media. No matter how good a social media post is, it won’t be able to engage viewers effectively if it’s not posted at the right time.
In other words, it’s important to adjust the publishing schedule across locations according to local time zones and occasions. Figure out when your target audience is most active in different regions and schedule your posts accordingly to achieve maximum impact.
It’s also important to create topic posts to celebrate local holidays or events which need to be scheduled on that specific date.
5. Measure the Performance of Each Location
No social media campaign is complete without measuring its performance. As a franchisor, you should diligently measure the performance of both your corporate as well as franchise locations.
Keep in mind that social media analytics can be employed to gauge each branch’s social media marketing success. Engagement generated, new followers gained, and other metrics can help you determine how successful a branch is on social media.
But how do you go about finding all of this data?
The solution lies in your CRM. It’d help you track and measure your customer data across franchises.
It’s also a good practice to generate monthly reports for each location to get an overview of what is working for them and what needs your attention. By doing this, your social media marketing strategy can be accordingly realigned to generate more traction for that location.
Are You Ready to Launch a Cohesive Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Franchises?
So, to sum up, the entire concept of cohesive franchise social media marketing: brands should plan at a global level but work at a local level to achieve those goals.
The success of this strategy lies in developing a strong channel of communication with your franchisees and constantly updating them about your social media marketing strategy. When you work together to minimize inconsistency and achieve maximum cohesiveness, you can amplify your presence on social media.
Try out these suggestions I’ve made to trigger a new wave of success on social media!