December 14, 2016

Social Media Marketing for Franchisees

Earlier this month the internet went crazy over a handsome looking roadside tea vendor. Now, the buzz is that he has become a model. Well, it all started when a few people started raving about his good looks and sharing his pictures on Facebook. Gradually it spread like a wild fire with major newspapers reporting it and soon he became a face to reckon with it. Here, Social Media acted like a catalyst speeding up the process in a jiffy! Now think of it this way. There are billions of people all over the globe. Of these billions, a moderate percentage has access to the internet. So it comes down to some millions people using the social media. Hence, it is an ideal platform for marketing your franchise. In fact a more viable form of marketing because of its greater outcome and outreach with very limited expenditure in a short span of time. lt’s like the saying by AnushkaSharma in “Band, Baja and Baraat” – similar to weddings as cited in the film social media too is a never ending sphere. Irrespective of the economy or climate or social trends it continues to click.

What exactly is social media marketing?

From the name itself , it is clearly understood that it deals with marketing done via various social media platforms likeFacebook, Twitter, LinkedInetc. This type of marketing strategy emphasizes on gaining more viewership for your website by promoting your franchise – gradually engaging people and drawing investors.

Of all the social media platforms Facebook and twitter are more widely used. The reason being their relative predominance on the global sphere. While Facebook is used for global as well as local exposure , twitter is mainly used for global outreach.\ \ India is the 3rd highest populated nation and much of its population is on Facebook. Hence, it is the ideal place for social media marketing.

Now the question is - what is franchise business model? How can social media marketing help?

Franchise business model is the legitimate use of a company’s business model - their ideas , vision and brand . A particular company has a given set of business model applicable to all of their brand outlets present all of the globe. This builds up a franchise business model for the company. All local and regional centers follow this franchise model.

Social media with its crisp and highly engaging content can easily promote and strengthen your franchise. It comes with minimal cost and a greater target audience. It can be simply achieved by opening a Facebook page or a twitter handle for your franchise. Start promoting your website by presenting your ideas- the unique way you are solving the problem. One benefit of using social media is its personalized and creative connect. Like you can share videos, short messages, photos, giphs to attract people. On Facebook, you can go live and directly interact or create events related to your business. You can host special contests and give away a gift from your franchise to the winter. The most important aspect of social media marketing is constant engagement with your audience. It is essential to be quick and responsive. Twitter is the most responsive in this regard. It is usually used by people to gauge different trends and directly contact with people. So make sure you reply to tweets, re-tweet people who give you feedback, use hashtag to promote your products or use trending hashtags for your purpose.

This is essentially how social media marketing works.

However, there is an exact model of how to set up things for social media marketing. There are 4 structures of social media marketing that franchises can opt for.

Centralized structure

Here the brand has single centralized presence in social media, like a same page for all activities relating to the franchise. Thus content will flow in-out of the same outlet. This ensures your global outreach and all contents being restricted to your brand without diluting. However, there is one drawback losing out local customers and failing to meet cross-cultural differences

Centralized Blend Structure

In this model, the same corporate house maintains different social media profiles relating to its franchise. Here different content is generated across various profiles according to various locations/divisions but related to the same franchise. Hence all contents are driven to the same brand and local customers are kept engaged. It requires a robust social media team to pull this up

Controlled Structure

This structure is quite similar to centralized blend. The only difference is their management. Here the different franchise profiles are managed by their respective team s but the content is provided by the parent franchise brand. This involves greater involvement of the franchises with their respective audience. However, conflict of interest may arise due to discrepancy in content approval. Also outcome may vary across different franchises.

Monitored Structure

Different franchises manage their own social media presence without any involvement from the parent franchise. They only follow a set of guidelines from the parent company. By using this model local area content is well established forming a niche in the local market. This kind of model requires a big and strong social media team to maintain all franchises.\ \ These are the ways to generate a social media marketing campaign for your franchise.

Despite all these, there are certain problems that franchises face while embarking on a social media marketing campaign.

What are these potential problems?

The problems are quite genuine and have a potential to derail your social media marketing strategy.\ \ Setting the correct target audience

It is important that you target the correct audience. Any miscalculations in this regard can greatly affect you and you can lose potential customers.\ \ Creating different page for different locations\ In order to cover different regional bases over a wide geographical area , it is preferable to opt for different pages for different location. Your brand may be a global one but you need local presence to monopolize the local market. Hence your local business outlet should have a social media presence.\ \ Opt for a fan page or create a group to boost audience interaction\ Interacting with your audience is essential for social media marketing campaign. Sometimes it becomes difficult to handle all feedback coming from different franchise sources. The best way to deal with this is to create a separate fan page or a group for your franchise. Add your regular customers and people who are active on your profiles. This way it is easier to get customer feedback and give them personalized response.

Like all marketing campaign, social media campaign also comes with certain checks and balances.

So, what are these checks and balances

Maintain visibility\ Keep updating contents on a regular basis. Come up with refreshing and engaging contents. Make sure your franchise remain visible in their newsfeed.\ \ Always maintain contact with the audience\ Keep in touch with your customers. Engage them, interact with them. Make sure you are responsive to their comments and queries.\ \ Be Creative\ Look out for new ways of engaging people – like creating contests on special occasions, urging your customers to share some unique/memorable experiences related to your brand. Use different tools like pictures, giphs, videos, and blogs to share contents.\ \ Make call for action proposals\ Post contents that urge people to act and make them curious to look for more. Ask them to subscribe more to avail greater discount or share it with friends to earn reward points. Urge them to download your franchise app and win 1 year free subscription. Attract customers with these kinds of deals.\ \ Circulate content to and from your parent franchise\ Remind the audience that you are part of a franchise. Share contents to your parent franchise and post contents from their page as well. Make people aware of your brand credibility.

Thus by formulating a proper social media marketing campaign one can easily boost his franchise business model. Social media is not just a trend. In fact it sets up new trends. Who knows with a dynamic strategy YOU MIGHT BE THE NEXT BIG THING!!

Written by Social Monks.