4 Ways for Franchise Owners to Leverage Social Media

For most business owners, especially new entrepreneurs, social media is a mouth-wateringly powerful tool. It can instantly connect your brand with millions of people all over the world, give you key insights into your target market, and best of all—it’s completely free to use (unless you’re pursuing a paid advertising campaign). You have total control over how you use it, from what brand voice you use to how you syndicate and manage your posts, and you can adjust your strategy over time to see better results.

But what about a franchise, like Hot Dog on a Stick, where entrepreneurs can own and manage a physical store, but still be controlled by the corporate presence of a national brand?

The Dilemma for Franchise Owners

There are actually a handful of obstacles making it hard for franchise owners to take advantage of social media’s benefits:

  • Corporate leadership controls the brand’s core account. As a franchise owner, you have little to no say over what the corporate leadership does to promote that core company identity.
  • A national brand does little for a local presence. As your franchise is likely nation-wide, generic national posts don’t help you much on a location-specific level.
  • Rules, regulations, and limitations. There may be rules or regulations for franchise owners about what you can and can’t do on your own, with the brand, on social media.

Still, there are some ways franchise owners can leverage the power of social media for their unique locations.

Strategies for Leveraging Social Media

Try using these strategies to increase your customer loyalty and drive more revenue through your franchise:

1. Set up a location-specific account

This strategy depends on the flexibility of your chosen franchise. If you can, set up a location-specific account. For example, if your national corporate brand’s account is “Fuego Fireworks,” you could create a series of profiles called “Fuego Fireworks Dallas” to distinguish your presence from the national one. This may create some confusion, but that’s a small price to pay to be able to communicate with your local customers directly. This will give you direct control over your own social media sphere, giving you the chance to create your own strategies from scratch and execute them however you see fit.

2. Popularize your parent brand’s posts

If your franchise has a national brand already doing the work of making posts and engaging with customers, why not take advantage of their work? You can do this with or without a localized account; if you have one, you can use it to share, retweet, engage with, or otherwise make your national brand’s posts more visible (and you can be selective here, too). If you don’t have one, you can use a personal account to do the work for you. The more visible these posts are, the more you’ll stand to benefit.

3. Make your in-store customers more social

Try to get your in-store customers more involved on social media. You can do this by including more socially-focused promotional materials throughout the store, mentioning special social media offers to them through word-of-mouth, or even encouraging them to leave more reviews about your local store online.

4. Learn more about your key demographics

Don’t forget that social media is a learning tool as much as it is a communication or direct marketing tool. Regardless of whether you have a location-specific account or just a personal account, you can tap into the power of social media to see what your target audience is talking about, what other brands they follow, and how they engage with one another. You can then use this information to maximize how your business treats, attracts, and retains these customers.

Despite the fact that franchise owners face unique challenges when it comes to social media marketing, there are some key ways franchise owners can take advantage of the platform to benefit their franchise. You’ll have to be careful about navigating your corporate brand’s rules and regulations, but at the very least you can influence your in-store customers and learn more about your key demographics in the process.

About Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

3 Responses to 4 Ways for Franchise Owners to Leverage Social Media

  1. Rakshita says:

    One important thing I think people need to take into account though is the balance of self-promotion vs. current events and trends vs. thought leadership.

    Thanks for the tips and I look forward to reading more from you.

  2. First Crush says:

    Thanks for the useful tip..