Social media has evolved. It’s no longer just a tool for connecting with old friends or sharing vacation photos. More than ever, social media allows customers to interact with businesses – and for businesses to interact right back! Many brands have corporate accounts on various social media platforms, but that gets a little complicated for brands that franchise.
If you’re a franchisee considering launching social media accounts for your business, there are several factors to consider.
Does Your Franchise Agreement Allow It?
Franchise agreements outline the expectations of the franchisor and the franchisee. Some franchisors prefer to manage all the social media efforts under the brand’s name. This allows for corporate marketing or public relations to create customer-facing content that supports their larger plan and has a cohesive voice. Other franchisors encourage franchisees to maintain their own social media accounts. This allows customers to interact directly with the franchise location in their community.
Your franchise agreement might not have a “yes” or “no” answer about social media. If there is no clear direction, reach out to your franchise business consultant. They should be able to give you some clarity.
Are There Social Media Guidelines?
Having a clear, established brand voice is one reason entrepreneurs turn to franchising versus going it alone. It’s one more thing you don’t have to build from scratch. But it can be hard to articulate and recreate what the established voice is. Your franchisor likely knows this. More established franchisors have guidelines that include dos and don’ts, photos and videos to use and best-practice tips. These are all designed to ensure your content fits within the overall brand voice. If your brand is newer to franchising, they might not have created a comprehensive guide quite yet. If you know you’re ready to launch into the social media space, don’t be afraid to ask your franchisor for social media support and guidance.
Who Will Manage Your Social Media Accounts?
A lot goes into owning a business. Is social media maintenance something you’re willing to add to your own to-do list? Social media can be surprisingly time-consuming. Beyond just creating and sharing content, it’s important for businesses to build trust with their customers by interacting when appropriate. There are lots of tools that allow businesses to automatically post scheduled content. But social media moves so quickly, that many social media users expect businesses to move at the same breakneck speed. Social media users that reach out to you will expect timely responses and action. Someone on your team has to monitor for those posts daily, in addition to their other duties.
Do You Have A Plan?
Social media is fun. But when it comes to business, social media should fit within a larger marketing or public relations plan. As previously mentioned, social media requires time. It’s important that the time is spent growing your business and strengthening your customer relationships. Make sure your social media plan includes a tangible way to measure the success of your social media efforts.
Beyond the broader marketing or public relations plan, it is also important to figure out how managing social media will fit into the day-to-day operations of your business. There needs to be time delegated for creating content, scheduling it, monitoring customer interaction and measuring the success for your social media efforts.
Social media can be a great tool for businesses – franchises included. It provides customers with a direct communication line and allows businesses to have a back-and-forth with them. Your answers to these questions are an indicator of whether or not your franchise is ready to be on social media.