A recent study shows that marketers are struggling to find the perfect balance between protecting and strengthening their brands through the use of social media at the local level and how involved their franchisees are in managing local pages.
According to the report by BIA/Kelsey, 51% of franchisors are “highly involved” with the social media presence of their local franchise businesses, with many requiring their local franchisees run public dialogue with local customers through their national corporate sites. Another 23% of franchisors are “somewhat involved” in the local social media presence of their franchisees. These franchisors allow their local franchises to use social networks, and they have established and enforced rules and guidelines regarding franchisee messaging and activity levels to ensure a consistent local brand conversation.
Would your national brand benefit from having individual local social media pages for each of your locations? And if so, whose responsibility should it be to manage those local pages and conversations? How can you make sure your brand is delivered consistently?
All franchisees and owner-operators believe their local markets are different, and in fact, they often are. Urban or suburban, varying demographics or socio-economic statuses; if your franchise locations are so different that you allow variation in products, price, promotions and other in-store marketing, it may be more beneficial not only to fans and followers, but your bottom line, to entrust franchisees to take an active role in managing their local presence.
Social media offers a way for franchisees to help build brand awareness on a local level, and if executed well, can only mean good things for your national brand. The question remains for national brands, is there a way to ensure franchisees are effective on social channels without being too heavily involved or worrying about how they are representing the brand? It is a delicate balancing act and may require a shift in thinking about social media within your company. However, by establishing guidelines for franchisees to follow, educating them on best practices and providing the right tools, they can drive fans and followers to your brand and fuel “authentic” conversations.
Social media management tools offer a great way for franchisors to rest easy knowing their brand identity is being protected and provides marketers greater insight into what’s being done at the local level. It can also help keep local franchisees happy by empowering them with the ability to contribute.
With social media management for franchises, local franchisees can access a library of brand-approved templates and content to create social media profiles and schedule posts in advance. They can also opt-in to corporate-provided content streams, or even have the ability to create their own posts. Social media management tools help to streamline the amount of time franchisees spend managing their local pages, while still maintaining the corporate brand and ensuring content is fresh and current.