There’s no denying the fact that social media is a fantastic marketing tool for any business, franchise or otherwise. And while your franchisor may have social media accounts for the company at large, having a presence for your local franchise can send more business your way.
Start By Finding Out Your Franchisor’s Rules
Your franchisor may have policies about what you can and can’t do on social media, so check before you invest much energy into it. They may require you to use certain naming conventions for your profiles to avoid confusion with other accounts. Or they may restrict the kinds of things you can share on your profiles.
Next, Set Up Profiles
There’s no need to sign up for 18 different types of social media accounts; instead, choose 1-3 where you know your customers spend time online. If you run a restaurant franchise, that might be Facebook and Twitter. If you have a business services company, maybe Google + and LinkedIn are best.
If your franchisor had no restrictions on what you need to do to name your accounts, make sure the name makes it clear which franchise the account is associated with. If you’re the only Kentucky Fried Chicken in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for example, you could create the Twitter handle @KFC_HS. If you’re one of many KFCs, located near Lake Hamilton, your Facebook page could be called Kentucky Fried Chicken - Hot Springs (Lake Hamilton). You want it to be absolutely clear which location you run so people will visit your store and not another.
You can use your company logo for the image, or something customized to show your location.
What to Share
There are several types of social media shares that will get a good response from people online. Aim for a mix of them so you’re not only posting promotions or articles. Here are a few suggestions:
Today’s special or promotion
Link to your blog posts
Link to articles of interest to your customers
Photos of products, staff, and events
Updates on community involvement
How to Get More Followers
The more people that follow your social profiles, the more people could potentially come spend money at your location. On Twitter, you can follow people who fit your demographic. On other social sites, it’s about people discovering your profile and liking it. Make sure you have links to your social profiles on your website, as well as signage in your store encouraging people to connect with you online.
You can offer a special discount for people in your store who like or share your profiles online. That’s a great motivator to get them to connect with you online!
Managing your social media will take time. If you’ve got the time, do it yourself, otherwise assign it to one of your employees. The key is consistency: you want to continually be sharing relevant content and connecting with potential customers.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.