In today’s business world, a franchisee can no longer just open their doors and expect business to come rushing through the door. They must be engaged with social platforms as well.
In this sense, today’s franchise owners are not only obliged to be skilled and professional in dealing with customers on a face-to-face level, they must also be masters of the virtual world, marketing their business to customers and like-minded companies out there. It’s a lot to cover, but luckily we’re to here to make it as easy as possible.
This is where every social networker starts. It’s what brings most people to the internet: the ability to interface with larger groups of known and unknown people with whom we share a number of mutual interests. The challenge for a businessperson is to know where to begin. We all know about the Facebook’s and Myspace’s of the world. They might be a huge network where you can interact with friends and colleagues, but in our experience, they’re so popular, they can bog you down. We recommend entrepreneurs connect with networks solely dedicated to business. The first destination should always be LinkedIn. With LinkedIn, you’ll be tapped into a very broad network of like-minded business people. There’s a range of forums that exist on many different topics. Being active on LinkedIn will bolster your business credentials tenfold. There are some upstarts out there that host stellar business communities. Startup Nation not only hosts a top entrepreneur hub, but they have an excellent knowledge hub. PartnerUp’s growing business community features property listings, while Biznik hosts both city-based networks and infuses the thrust of romance websites in order to promote collaborative business experiences. Our advice is to maintain a presence on all of these sites and see what works for you.
As you beef up your franchise social networks, you might encounter more and more questions about the industry. Luckily, there are a number of websites that provide reliable information. Wikipedia’s franchising site has a lot of info, even if its authors may not be entirely reliable. Franchise Direct’s information center is also very trustworthy.
Bookmarking is also a great way to stay on top of the latest articles that are written about franchise industry. Rather than be constantly scouring the internet or relying on Google updates, bookmarking sites let you not only keep abreast of the latest news stories on franchising, but you get a great insight into the buzz stories of the moment. That’s essential for the franchisee or an entrepreneur looking for an edge. Digg might be one of the most popular bookmarking sites on the internet, but in our experience, sites likes Delicious and Technorati tend to be better at providing more concise franchising links, not just ones pertaining to sports franchises. Better yet are business bookmarking sites given over entirely to the world of small business. For this category, we recommend bizsugar, which is constantly reliable with its story feed.
Newspapers may run the occasional story on the franchising industry, but we have found that franchising blogs tend to offer more insightful commentary on a less formal level. Best of all, you can bring the subject on, as you discuss it in the comment section with other bloggers and the author of the post itself. We recommend the Franchise King blog, which is one of the more popular franchise blogs and the BlueMauMau blog, which offers very independent and honest advice on the entire franchising industry. If you’re looking to track the latest posts in the franchise blogging community, Alltop’s constantly-updating page is an essential resource.
Once you start reading more and more blog posts, you will inevitably want to move the subject on, via ‘Comment’ section. Some of the most lively comment sections on franchise can be found on Anita Campbell’s Small Business Trends website.
Now while many of these websites are quite well established, Twitter is certainly the future of social networking. We live in a culture that likes thing instantaneously, and Twitter provides that better than any platform out there. Twitter can be used in a myriad of ways, but we think it works best as to advertise and to network. Just read this article article featuring 7 excellent uses for Twitter for restaurant franchises. At the same time, you’re allowed to follow and communicate with some of the best minds in business, not to mention fellow franchisees. Best of all, Twitter is still such an evolving platform, it’s unclear if there are still more benefits that might come out of it. Our advice is to get tweeting right away.
Figure out which words are the most important to your franchise concerns and strategically enter them into search engines like Google to target various elements of the franchise industry.
More and more media is being created to explain the world of franchising. Franchise Direct have a YoutTube page with exclusive videos on the franchising sector. Meanwhile, franchise podcasts are becoming very popular as well.