Franchisees need to promote their sites through savvy social media usage…
Business owners in all sectors know that social media is not a fad and that in order to compete, they need to not only embrace social media, but they also need to come up with a plan to implement it with a specific plan in mind. Franchise owners, too, need to be in the social media stream or they can find themselves left out of the online conversation. As a franchise owner, you face both unique challenges and opportunities; having the strength of the franchise name behind you is certainly a plus, but the fact that you’re competing with other franchise owners for the same market share brings with it unique challenges.
Franchise owners know that it is an industry in which only the strong survive. The first step, naturally, I shaving a strong franchise brand. Social media can help the savvy franchise owner set him- or herself apart from the competition. While some business owners look to transform their brand, franchise owners need to evolve it and social media needs to be incorporated into your overall marketing plan to remain viable.
Here are five tips for franchise – and other business – owners to help them put together a potentially successful social media plan:
- Define your purpose, voice and vision: Why are you on social media? To offer promotions? Bring in customers? Simply build up followers and likers? Even though you’re part of a franchise and that franchise itself has its own brand you can still have a unique voice for your particular location – determine what it is and put it forth in your social media plans. Finally, develop a vision – this will be the roadmap you follow to determine which platforms you participate in.
- Mapping a social media plan: Simply having a social media presence isn’t enough – you need to have a consistent plan for how you will establish the goals you set for your business. How will you build out your platform? How will you reach your customers? How often will you participate in the conversation? Most important to mapping a plan is to know where your particular customer base is; to do this you need to understand your demographics and go where they are.
- Understand the particular platform: Do you know how to post status updates? Do you understand that you can’t simply post “buy me!” updates? You need to participate in the conversation and start some of your own. Your clients will want to get to know you – not just your brand – they like to feel they have a personal connection to feel that your business is “their” business.
- Be present: Being on social media is more than monitoring comments; it is answering questions – even responding to negative comments about your brand or service. Support your local community and if you do, talk about it on your social media platforms. Spread the word about yourself by spreading the word about others. Ask customers to post comments and reviews.
- Be relevant: If there is something going on in your particular industry today – talk about it today. Don’t offer updates so sporadically that you sound as if you’re behind the times. Don’t let your business’s credibility suffer because of lack of attention to detail.
Used effectively, social media is an important tool in any business owners’ arsenal but needs to be woven into your overall marketing plan. Social media is not a stand-alone product, it complements traditional marketing efforts and can help you gain the notice of new customers and keep the loyalty of current ones.