The New Media Effect on Franchise Sales & the Franchise Relationship

This is third post of this week based upon my recent interview with Renee Bailey at Franchise Direct. In this part of the interview our focus turned to what many within franchising look for day in and day out… the silver bullet to increase franchise sales. When social media became more and more popular, many franchisors wanted to use social media to attract franchise candidates. Many thought, incorrectly that social media was a form of advertising. My response to the first question below sheds a different light on social media in the franchise sales process.

In the second question the focus was media’s affect on the franchise relationship. My answer was short, but to the point.

Finally, in the last question below we discussed a new trend in media – Social Mobile Local or SoMoLo.

New Media

How are franchisors utilizing social media to connect with prospective franchisees throughout the prospecting process?

Great question because many are not connecting with prospective franchisees. Social media is not the silver bullet many want and expect to make the sales process easier, or even to generate leads on its own.

Instead, social media for franchise development should be looked at as a vital complementing component in the traditional lead generation process. That means it should provide a support mechanism that candidates can be directed to and that candidates can find on their own in their own due diligence. Today’s candidates are also more diligent and cautious than ever before. Social media allows them to virtually stand next to a brand and experience how that brand interacts with its customers, franchisees, etc.

All that being said, social media can be utilized in the franchise development process as a way to drive candidates to a specific event like a webinar, where the concept can be explained in detail. The key here is that one-size-fits-all strategies with social media do not work effectively.

One more thing: it’s critical to ask questions at the onset of utilizing social media related to expectations and desired results. This is crucial in evaluating whether or not the program worked. As important as click-thru’s, insights, impressions, etc. are in analyzing the process and program itself, looking at desired results against actual results is really the true Social Media P&L.

Have new media options available altered the franchisor-franchisee relationship?

Of course, but they don’t need to. New media is all about truth, trust and transparency. Really, isn’t that what the franchise relationship should be built upon?

New media is a wonderful way of keeping in communications at all times. Embrace and adapt is what I typically advise. It’s important to receive proper training to fully understand new media and all its capabilities and features.

How does a personal brand enhance the overall brand of a franchise system?

The new trend in digital marketing, or better stated, in attracting today’s consumer is referred to as SoMoLo, or Social Mobile Local.

  • Social, we’ve touched upon above.
  • Mobile is just the way consumers are choosing to access and search information, and communicate.
  • Local, well, that’s all about the “personal side” of the business transaction.

People want to do business with people. They buy from people. Sure, the brand may get them in the door, but it’s the person representing the brand that they want to business with. So, as consumers technologically advance, it’s not uncommon for them to check out the local franchisee’s Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, perform a Google search of the franchisee, etc. What they hope to find is a person of experience and integrity. [Even] the banking industry is leaning towards utilizing a social reputation score for business loan applicants that will rival the credit score.

Tomorrow, in the last post in this series we’ll wrap up the discussion with a questions about local websites and a word of advice for prospective franchisees.


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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


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“Localization and Social Media” – from Retail Franchise Industry Report 2012

The following is from the Localization and Social Media section of the recently released Retail Franchise Industry Report 2012 as shared by Franchise Direct. We’re excited to see franchisEssentials President & CEO, Paul Segreto, quoted in this section of the report…

Localization and Social Media

“People want to do business with people. They buy from people. Sure, the brand may get them in the door, but it’s the person representing the brand that they want to do business with,” says franchising expert Paul Segreto. “So, as consumers technologically advance it’s not uncommon for them to check out the local franchisee’s Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, perform a Google search of the franchisee, etc.”

Retail Franchise Industry Report-1In fact, findings from the 2012 Customer Insights Survey showed roughly three of every four consumers use Facebook to make retail (or restaurant) decisions. With more choices in the marketplace than ever before, it’s important for franchises to go beyond the price and quality of the products being sold and reach out to consumers where they are. Because of this, franchises are well served by letting franchisees foster relationships within their local communities that could lead to brand loyalty. Increasingly, this is being done through social media.

Whether is with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp or any other site, engaging customers and informing them about the choices they have in their backyard is always a good move. Relating the flow of money to the human body, David Boyle, researcher at The New Economics Foundation said in a Time Magazine interview, “Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going. [When spent in non-locally owned entities] it flows out, like a wound.”7

A franchise with a good advertising and marketing strategy that includes attention to local initiatives is very valuable to franchisees because no two markets are alike. As such, the advertising and marketing for different markets should be similar for brand continuity, but not exactly the same. Furthermore, many consumers find products and services by performing local searches, not searching out the corporate website first. Cultivating local media with tailored messages for specific areas is important to make a franchisee’s services relevant to that area’s consumers.

According to Segreto, “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.” One franchise system that has adopted the personal, localized social media and website concept is Apricot Lane Boutique. Each Apricot Lane franchisee is provided social networking set-up programs (including support and content for a Facebook page for their store, as well as Twitter and Pinterest). Franchisees also have their own customized website for their store.

Localized social media efforts can translate from friend to friend resulting in the word-of-mouth recommendations businesses of all types crave. One emerging way of rewarding local patrons through social media is offered by Foursquare. Foursquare recently launched a “local updates” tool geared towards letting businesses send messages about specials and events to customers wherever they happen to be at the time. The specials and events aim to capitalize on word-of-mouth advertising from those who buy from their store and take actions that advertise that store to their circle of contacts.

Read the complete Retail Franchise Industry Report 2012


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