Yesterday, within the IFA Group on LinkedIn, a discussion entitled Why You Don’t Need A Social Media Policy was started regarding social media policies within franchising. Of course, I was compelled to chime in…
It is my position that franchisors would be negligent and irresponsible not to have a social media policy in place. At the very least, they should be working towards one. I could go on about protecting the trademark, system development, etc but with everyone’s experience and understanding of franchise best practices in this group, I’ll just focus on social media for now.
While I do agree “local” is where it’s at, it is still communications, marketing, pr, messages that are being put out there on socail media and just as franchises have established policies, procedures, guidelines, processes, etc for operations, marketing, advertising, etc, it is imperative the same be done for social media.
I’ve spent most of the morning trying to find any article, blog, comment taking the position of not having a social media policy within franchising. I have not found one. But, I have found many franchise professionals that have written and posted about the necessity of having social media polciies within franchising. So, if you don’t agree with my position, allow me to direct you to links from several franchise professionals that feel it is best practice to develop social media policies for franchise brands.
By the way, I don’t believe social media policies should be one-size-fits-all just as I believe a social media program should not be cookie-cutter. To arbitrarily state that all franchisees should have a facebook account and / or a twitter account is not a good or well-thought out recommendation. Determining what social media to effectively use within a franchise system is a process in and of itself. The key word here is “effectively.”
Being effective within social media takes planning. It takes identifying targets and where they congregate and communicate online. It takes determining financial and human resources to engage, monitor and manage the chosen social media platforms. It takes an understanding of the objectives to utilize social media and to have clear, concise expectations. In essence, it takes a strategy to develop, a plan to execute and results to analyze.
Once this phase is complete, a social media toolkit should be developed, franchisees (and franchisor personnel) should be trained, and the program launched. Anything less, in my opinion and from my perspective is less than best practices within franchising.
Franchising is all about uniformity and consistency from one location to another. It’s about systems that provide the foundation to uniformity and consistency. And, it’s about the policies and procedures that ensure that uniformity and consistency that makes franchising successful… And, I don’t believe that’s just my opinion!