Why Franchises Struggle with Social Media Marketing

Social Media for Franchises

Today’s consumer is the most education buyer of all time, and using smart phones to conduct research

Many franchises struggle with developing a social media marketing strategy that simultaneously meets the needs of the brand, the franchisees, and most importantly the customer. Social media marketing is completely unlike traditional marketing/advertising where the Brand is primarily responsible for creating demand and is in control of standards and collateral.

Social Media Marketing is more about:

  • Conversations than collateral
  • Relationships than regulations
  • Being real than being conventional
  • Hyper-local vs. global
This is frightening for a lot of Franchise Brands whose success or failure depends on hundreds to thousands of independent small business owners who may OR may not understand the implications of engaging their community on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc.   The challenge for Brands is that even 1 or 2 poorly executed strategies at the franchisee level can have huge negative implications for the Brand.
The solution can’t be to simply pass on social media marketing and just wait for the next big thing. Passing on social media would be the same as passing on the telephone 100 years ago.
  • Social media and ubiquitous access to the web is changing consumer behavior unlike anything marketers have had to deal since the invention of the printing press.
  • Social media is the number one online activity, making up 27% of every hour consumers spend online, according to the latest Experianreport on consumer behavior.
  • There are now 1 billion smart phones in the world and their owners are spending 22% of their time on social sites.
  • Consumers are the most educated buyers of all time. 87% of the time consumers go online to conduct research before walking into a store or calling a sales rep. Very frequently this research is conducted on their mobile device.

What this means is that consumers go from stimulus to research to decision remarkably fast today and without an effective strategy most of this activity is happening without any input from you or your franchisees.

To win in social a Brand must:

  1. Develop a strategy that meets the needs of their customers in a hyper-local manner.
  2. Engage with future buyers when they begin to research options
  3. Empower franchisees to connect and engage with consumers in a way that protects the brand while developing real relationships with consumers within their geographic market.

This may sound daunting, but there are specific steps brands can take to leverage social while simultaneously meeting the needs of franchisees and their customers. I’ll cover that in Part 2 – Empowering Franchisees to Leverage Social Media Marketing