Social media, like other aspects of business, has a twist in the franchise world, according to Ford Saeks, president and CEO of Prime Concepts Group, who spoke to attendees of the IFA 2011 Annual Convention at his standing-room-only presentation “IFA Technology Summit: Social Media — Ignore it at Your Own Peril.”
Every franchise business will have people engaged in social media at the franchiser and franchisee levels, but it’s the franchiser’s job to monitor both brand mentions and related keyword mentions, Saeks said, as well as to set a social media brand strategy and guidelines that help everyone know what they should and shouldn’t be doing.
Social media strategies and policies aren’t one-size-fits-all, but should be unique to every company’s corporate culture, Saeks said. The goal for franchisers is to use them to maintain brand standards while communicating with customers.
Creating a social media strategy starts with examining what are your customers are thinking, doing, saying and buying, then using that information to decide what to communicate with them.
The next step is to make decisions about how you will standardize your online presence across your brand, including:
- User names
- Blog design
- Facebook pages
- Custom backgrounds for Twitter and other sites
Then, set objectives and make plans to measure results. Franchises should get everyone involved in the process of making these plans, advised Saeks — not just the people in the corporate office, but also franchisees, because they may well know more about social media and have more ideas than the people at the top.
Once there’s a plan in place, the next step is to set guidelines and provide training so that staff members at the corporate level and the franchisees understand what’s expected of them.
If franchisers get push-back from franchisees, as they sometimes do, a good way to deal with that is to explain to them that consistency is important to protecting the brand, which in turn protects the value of the investment they’ve made in the franchise, Saeks said.
Image credit: 3DStock, via iStockphoto