Social media is not, and never will be, the end all and be all of a marketing plan. There are other factors built into making a brand grow and become a national favorite and more and more businesses are learning that a social media team can bring to them all factors – from PR to analytics to the basics of the World Wide Web platforms and networks. However, when speaking about franchises, the challenges get tougher when it comes to deciding what marketing plan will work the best.
Even though multi-unit franchisors sat on the fence for a good long time when it came to whether or not social media was the right path for them to take, they are now jumping on board with the fact that everything from Yahoo to Bing to hits on Pin must be utilized in order to get that franchise name to grow from a new idea into a well-accepted brand that everyone talks about.
But…forgetting that the neighborhood is where success actually begins for a franchise is a dangerous thing to do. In other words, without the locals on board with the franchise that opens in their town, then that franchise will close almost as soon as it opens.
When a business includes social media in order to build their brand, there are so many avenues they can take. And with a good, solid plan offering fresh content and up to the minute analytics, that business can soar. But when it comes to the franchise this is where the corporation versus franchisee comes into play. Corporations will always do the slogans, logos, videos, national and international advertising – but everyone knows that an individual will not build a relationship with a corporation – they will only build a relationship with the people they see on a daily basis. Customer satisfaction, the right services, a winning smile on the staff that greets them at the door, these are what customers remember and what they talk about with their friends.
A social marketing plan must be run by the franchisee. Thy are the ones who know the local clientele – from the urban to the suburban area; from the socio-economic figures to what is actually missing in their surrounding area. The franchisee who is sitting right in the midst of things has to utilize the franchisor’s marketing team in order to run those in-store events, coupons, deals, neighborhood parties to introduce the store or a new product, offer perks to the client, etc. – based on their face-to-face knowledge.
A multi-unit franchise comes with a multi-dimensional social media plan. While the franchisor – the corporate head – works with a social media marketing team beside them looking at the national view of their company, they are focusing on gaining recognition from sea to shining sea; the franchisee must make sure that their individual store is making local headlines and building a solid foundation in the neighborhood. Those clients WILL go on to Twitter, Facebook, their personal blogs, Pin – you name it – the local neighbors will spread the news that a franchise is fantastic both on the World Wide Web as well as at the grocery store. (Word of mouth media is extremely powerful).
Franchisors should maintain their marketing plan from a corporate perspective, but by empowering franchisees to do the same on a local level – such as deciding whether or not the franchisee needs an individual social media page for their location – is a must for success.
Locally oriented social media also helps when it comes to deciding the price of services. Everything from the promotions to the décor of the franchise location has to be decided by taking the neighborhoods demographics into account.
The only thing that stays the same when thinking about both franchisor and franchisee is content! The newest trends, the fresh news, the interesting articles about the industry – all of this is important in order to take the franchise national. But when it comes to the franchisees own personal location website, they have the ability to do the same content yet work it on a local level, with news and updates about the surrounding area in order to make their website entertaining and informative for the man and woman down the street.
In the end, it is that smile a client sees when they come through the doors of a business that they remember. It is the décor and cleanliness of the store. It is the services provided and the equipment utilized – all of these things are factors that go into making a one-time customer a customer for life!
Make sure you’re welcomed to the neighborhood.
Source: BeFirst Inc/ Baret News Wire