Franchise Social Media Basics – What a Great E-IDEA!

how-franchisors-are-using-social-mediaThis is the second post based upon my recent interview with Renee Bailey at Franchise Direct. As the interview progressed, Renee and I discussed challenges franchisors face integrating new types of media and how franchisors and franchisees alike could better utilize mediums at their disposal.

What are some challenges franchises are facing concerning integrating new types of media?

The biggest challenge franchises face with new media is a lack of understanding that like anything else, requires planning. Many are not taking the time to:

  • develop and explore the various media available
  • identify their targets along with identifying where they congregate and communicate online
  • develop a strategy based upon the targets (which may actually require sub-strategies for each target and their online communities)
  • execute the plan and all that goes into it, including dedication of financial AND human resources in managing and monitoring activity, and of course
  • analyze and quantify results in order to continue moving forward or adjusting as necessary

Yes, that’s a lot to grasp but it is essential to developing an effective program utilizing new media. Basically, what I’ve described is e-IDEA, which is something we utilize religiously when working with franchise clients – Explore, Identify, Develop, Execute, and Analyze. It really is a great, simple guide to follow.

How do you feel franchisors and franchisees can better utilize the mediums at their disposal?

By working together, as many franchisees essentially “got there first,” meaning they were posting within social media in its early stages. It’s important to utilize their efforts as a foundation on which to build a uniform social media or new media program.

Franchisors should not take a rigid approach with respect to messaging and social involvement. New media is all about interaction and engagement, and as such, requires a “personal” touch at the local level. Of course, there needs to be guidelines and certain policies to protect the brand. But that is more common sense than anything.

Also, I believe franchises shouldn’t get all caught up in just driving LIKES. It’s more important to create a community of sharing and engagement. I much prefer seeing a Facebook with lower number of LIKES but a high number of post views. That tells me that people are coming back day after day after day to see what is on the page. Whereas just LIKING a page, they may never return. What good does that do?

Tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to how franchisors are utilizing social media to attract prospective franchisees and also, Social Mobile Local – more affectionately known as, SoMoLo!

Note: Photo credit to 1851 Magazine


Bookmark and Share

Franchise Social Media – Explore and Identify

As a lead-in to this week’s webinar, Franchise Social Media – Beyond the Basics, we defined Franchise Social Media and re-introduce franchisEssentials e-IDEA concept as a simple process to embracing social media within a franchise organization. Today, we will begin to break down the e-IDEA process by defining the first two parts, Explore and Identify.

Explore

In the initial stages of a developing a Franchise Social Media plan, it is essential to review current levels of general social media proficiency throughout the organization. This includes the franchisee base as well. Determine not only who within the organization is proficient, but within which social media platforms they excel. Be sure not forget the enjoyment factor!

For instance, if franchisees are utilizing videos and photos effectively within their efforts, it’s safe to say that video and photo sharing should be integral components of the franchise social media strategy. Explore further for individuals within the organization that enjoy photography and video production. Having these individuals interact with marketing professionals bring new perspective to the process, especially as they will also bring practical perspective of working within the franchise organization at different levels.

The same holds true for individuals within the organization who are most proficient and passionate about training, and are fully versed on internal training processes and procedures. It lends to being able to bring other aspects of social media to the table – webinars being the most obvious. The less obvious, but very effective includes internet radio for podcast replays or on-demand access, and video again, for sharing simple or more complex information.

Upon exploring various types of social media, and social media tools, and in determining the proficiency and enjoyment/passion levels within the franchise organization, it is then the correct time to step into the Identify stage.

Identify

Here’s where Franchise Social Media really starts to make practical sense as this stage fosters thought about the ultimate objectives of the franchise organization. Most believe this stage is entirely focused on identifying targets. However, identifying targets is only a portion of this stage.

Identifying objectives within a franchise organization is where Franchise Social Media separates itself from basic social media as there are typically many objectives to define, including increasing business at the franchisee level, improving brand awareness, creating interest in the franchise opportunity, and developing or strengthening communications throughout the system. Much of this process is unique to franchising as franchise law and the franchise relationship both need to be taken into consideration. Proceeding ahead without these considerations could result in significant consequences at various levels.

In identifying objectives, it’s most likely apparent there are multiple targets to attract. Within the consumer proposition the targets will be customers, but are they retail customers, business customers, or both? For franchise lead generation, there may be multiple targets that could be attracted in different ways. For example, attracting a transitioning executive may take a different approach than attempting to attract a transitioning executive from a specific industry segment.

Next, in this stage is identifying where all these targets communicate and congregate online. This is often an ignored component of a social media strategy, and one that would specifically lead to the strategy being non-effective. After all, what use is it to broadcast a message if it is not known where to broadcast the message so it will be heard by the target audience? Identifying the online locale of the target audience is critical to the success of the program, but it’s also critical to identify if the target audience is communicating within that locale.

Tomorrow, we will breakdown the next two steps in the e-IDEA process, Develop and Execute. The following day, we will explore the last step of the process, Analyze.


Bookmark and Share

Franchise Social Media – Beyond the Basics: An Overview

On Wednesday, April 20th at 12 PM CDT, franchisEssentials is proud to present a complimentary webinar, Franchise Social Media – Beyond the Basics. A couple of weeks ago, an article by the same title was posted on Franchising.com, a popular Franchise Update Media Group site. Since the article was published, we’ve received numerous requests for additional information, and registrations for the upcoming webinar has increased significantly.

Leading into the webinar, as many within the franchise community are still hesitant and reluctant to venture into social media, and embrace social technology, we’re posting the article on this site, in segments, over the next few days. The article serves two purposes. One, it provides an overview of the basis for the webinar. And two, it provides a detailed explanation of franchise social media in very simplistic terms, and defines a simple process to embracing social media within a franchise organization.

Franchise Social Media – Beyond the Basics

What is Franchise Social Media? Basically, it’s more than just social media. It’s the application and utilization of social media within a franchise environment. Sure, many of the same principles apply. But, franchising is different than most small business models. It’s unique in many ways beyond the typical B2B or B2C model. There are specific disclosure laws that are a major part of the franchise candidate recruitment process. Even from a consumer proposition standpoint, the integrity of the entire franchise organization must be considered. And, one cannot discuss social media in a franchise environment without touching upon guidelines, policies and procedures, and brand uniformity.

So, Franchise Social Media is how social media is tailored to not only fit within the various levels of franchising, it must also be integrated within processes and methods within franchise marketing and development. Certainly, utilizing social media within franchising is more than just asking an administrative assistant to set up a Facebook and Twitter account and post and tweet away; especially, without a purpose or specific objective, and definitely not without a well-defined plan of action.

Despite what many marketing professionals believe, Franchise Social Media must be more than what is defined and implemented across most small business segments. The interdependency of the franchise relationship, the franchise dynamic, if you will, must be considered and focused upon as a social media plan is put into action. At all times, the question, “How does today’s [social media] activity affect others within the organization?” must be on the forefront of administrators’ minds as they post, tweet, connect, and engage… every day! A simple mistake can send a ripple effect throughout an organization. A major error, which could include a slow reaction to a potential crisis (remember Dominos employees’ You Tube video?), could be akin to a tsunami racing ashore at 500 miles an hour, with little or no warning to the people (franchisees) along the coast, and possibly inland as well.

Are you afraid or frightened yet? Are your thoughts circling around the decision to just leave social media alone? Or, if you’re already entrenched within social media, are you now considering slowing down, pulling back on your efforts, or maybe even bailing out altogether? Well, you shouldn’t be afraid or frightened, and certainly, you should not bail out. Actually, there needs be more focus beyond the basics of social media, with a very detailed, comprehensive plan to direct efforts specifically to Franchise Social Media.

At franchisEssentials, we utilize a basic acronym of e-IDEA as a guideline when developing franchise social media strategies for clients. The acronym translates to Explore, Identify, Develop, Execute and Analyze. Five easy steps to keep in mind and remember to remain focused and stay on track in your efforts.

Over the next few days we’ll break down each segment of e-IDEA.


Bookmark and Share