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Franchise Sales Using Facebook

5 Oct


How much of your brand’s Facebook activity should be devoted to franchise sales efforts versus consumer marketing and engagement?
Many franchise systems with whom I’ve spoken in the past several years have struggled with balancing their social media communication for consumers and their engagement with potential franchisees. Some designate a certain amount of content on the page for consumer marketing and an amount for franchise development. Others create completely separate Facebook pages for their franchise sales messages.

I don’t recommend either of these practices; all goals of marketing a franchise on Facebook can be achieved in a more holistic approach.


Your Page Versus Their Feed

First, let’s stop thinking of Facebook pages like websites with certain amount of real estate devoted to various parts of your organization. A Facebook page is really just your starting point.

The true power of Facebook communication lies in users seeing your brand and your news on his or her news feed, not on your Facebook page.

It doesn’t really matter what’s on your page. Very few people are ever going to seek out your page and view it the way people once did with websites. Typical consumers won’t be confused by your franchise sales messages because they don’t see them.


Organic Versus Paid Target

Your messages may be seen as organic (free) posts, which will reach 2% to 20% of your fans, depending on your fanbase size. But more likely, your messages will be seen in the form of boosted posts or other types of paid advertising. The reach or size of audience depends how many dollars you want to spend.

Target your paid content by the demographics of your franchise sales candidates. This goes beyond just age and gender; target according to your typical candidates’ interests, industries, and more.

Even within your group of franchise sales posts, you may want to change up content or demographics based on location. Messages promoted to Texas candidates might need to be different than those promoted to Florida candidates.

Your brand’s fans and your franchisees’ customers won’t see that content. With a few exceptions, I typically don’t see anything wrong with showing consumers some franchise sales-specific social media content. But when paying to boost and target Facebook posts, it is cost prohibitive to show all messages to all people.



Stop Targeting Millennials Like Zombies

30 Sep


Is there anything more ridiculous to Millennials than the phrase “Marketing to Millennials?”

It seems the entire consumer marketing machine in the US has done the math, and has targeted Millennials as the key to selling anything. Marketers struggle with how to easily reach this massive crowd. I’m still struggling with spelling Millennials without the use of auto-correct.


But, Just who is “They?”

We see many criticisms of Millennials saying, “They are… “ or “They don’t…”

There are 80 million people in the US that fall into this age group. A cookie-cutter approach to marketing to or communicating with any group of 80 million people is doomed! I’m not sure how you stereotype 80 million people as having the same characteristics, nature, and experiences.

“Advertisers say, ‘we want Millennial Moms!’ Well, which Millennial Moms do you want?”
– Bob Pittman, CEO of iHeartMedia, and broadcasting legend, at Media Tech Summit 2015.

Why does this happen? It’s just easier

Aging Baby Boomers and some still-clueless Gen X’ers may find it easier to just paint all 80 million Millennials with the same brush. We talk about them like they are interchangeable zombies in an old film. “Yeah, one rifle bullet will get ‘er done.”

If we paint all of the Millennials with the same bush, we will sell them short, as well as our own businesses and services.

Don’t be lazy

Millennials are now up to 33 years old. They’re not all young kids any more. John Bonham, Keith Moon, and Jesus were all younger than many Millennials are now. Within those 33 years, it’s likely 80 Million people developed more than one style, taste, or preference for communications. Drill down to find multiple ways to communicate with a large group of people with diverse interests, preferences, and lifestyles.




Small Businesses, Mega-Brands, and Hope.

15 Sep


Defending Small Businesses on Capitol Hill

This month will end with members of the International Franchise Association once again gathering in Washington DC and meeting with legislators. We will discuss several issues affecting all franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers as well as lobby for less regulatory impediments as usual.

The key issue this year will be the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to completely ignore the basis of the franchise business model. The NLRB recently ruled that some businesses are now responsible for the employment actions of other businesses.

Unless you’re blissfully ignorant or work for a service union, you will agree that employees of a locally owned business are NOT actually employed by a corporation that had nothing to do with hiring those employees. (Without setting foot on Capitol Hill, I can tell you right now how the two senators from my home state of Illinois will respond.)

If the work of the IFA in past years is any indication, the IFA members and the IFA team will do a fantastic job of communicating the needs for running a business, growing that business, creating jobs, and ultimately growing the economy.

Mega-Brands and “Hope”

But how much of this effort pays off for those who do most of the heavy lifting – small to medium sized franchise systems – versus the huge brands? Will McDonalds and the other mega-sized franchises join this fight? If we’re successful, these large brands have the most to gain. Will they support this activity and join us on Capitol Hill? I hope so.

A great deal of pro-business promotion, communication, and lobbying is done by franchise industry suppliers. Are the mega-brands supporting these suppliers? I hope so.

When they select a PR firm, software vendor, ad agency, insurance provider, or other business service, do they ask if that supplier supports franchising and the IFA? I hope so.

Continuing to educate legislators and voters about how businesses operate is important for the IFA this year. Perhaps in 2016, we can also educate some large brands about how businesses operate.

Is Twitter a Place to Engage Anymore?

18 Aug

Twitter woman

Search or Social?

Google’s inclusion of Twitter in search results continues to expand. Last week Tweets began appearing in the Google search results for desktop users in the UK.

The reality is that Twitter is already primarily a search engine. It searches a massive link library that also happens to be called Twitter. This library now also holds images and videos. Faster access to this library will eventually be available to everyone via Google.

This will lead to an increase of importance of your Tweets, and a decrease in the need to ever go to Twitter.


tweetsearchshot copy



Social Engagement (or Lack of…)

What about engagement with your loyal followers? And those who you follow? Let’s face it – no one is really following those they follow. People and brands pay attention to mentions of their own name or brand.

Outside self-monitoring, content on Twitter is only consumed when a user runs a search, either by using the search box or clicking on a hashtag. Tweets will soon be consumed mostly by those who are no longer even on Twitter, but Google instead.


Who you follow: does not matter at all

Who follows you: does not matter at all

Your Tweets being seen in search results: ALL THAT MATTERS


There is something genuine and sensible about this. It doesn’t matter how many followers you acquire. If you don’t post anything of interest, no one will see it! If your brand is not Tweeting a constant cadence of quality content, you’re going to miss out on opportunities to be found via Google.

What’s next? If Google is replacing as the place to see Tweets, could Twitter replace Google+ as Google’s real-time publishing area?



Why You Don’t Want 1 Million Likes on Facebook

10 Aug



You DON’T want 1 Million Likes on Facebook.

You want 100 pages with 10,000 likes. Or 1,000 pages with 1,000 likes!


Many digital marketers have spent the past year spreading the news that Facebook posts are organically reaching a mere 1% or 2% of their fans’ newsfeeds.

While this may be the case for huge brands with millions of fans, there’s good news for midsize brands. Earlier this year Locowise reported the following average organic post reach for Facebook pages of these sizes:

1 Million+ Likes                     2.27%

500,000 Likes                       7.47%

50,000 Likes                         9.62%

Under 1,000 Likes              14.21%


Sure, you would rather reach 2% of One Million people than 14% of One Thousand people. But what if you could repeat that 14% over another 1,000 pages? 

Who has that potential and could benefit in this current situation? Franchises!  Why? Because they don’t just have one small page with 1,000 likes, but multiple.


It isn’t the number of Likes you have that matters; it’s the number of pages you have and the number of Likes on all those pages.


This has been the case for the past couple of years. In 2013, franchise and restaurant chain brands I consulted reported higher reach levels than brands with a single page. This local page gap is widening and those who have all Facebook eggs in one basket are losing out.

Example using the current organic reach rates – 
Brand A: company with 1 Million Likes on one page reaches 2,270 people.
Brand B: a Franchise brand with 1,000 Likes on 1,000 pages reaches 142,100 people.

Both brands have a total of 1 Million fans, but the Franchise system reaches far more fans with every post shared on all pages. Franchises are indeed greater than the sum of their franchisees.

Act now while the window is open! Fortune 500 companies should be looking for a way to divide their giant page into 1,000 pages. Their organic reach would skyrocket.




Social Geek Tip of the Week: LinkedIn Publishing

6 Aug

LinkedIn logo

When publishing a post on LinkedIn, make it six to eight paragraphs in length. 

From author and marketing leader Chuck Hester.

For more LinkedIn tips and best practices, check out the latest episode of Social Geek Radio.


Content Marketing and Traditional News

28 Jul

cloud-709095_1920   Facebook’s latest changes to users’ News Feeds means it is more important than ever to create interesting, relevant content that your brand’s fans will want to share with their friends. Let’s add a layer to that share-friendly content strategy: News Outlets. Here’s an example using The Des Moines Register, a news outlet that will be in the global spotlight again due to the upcoming caucuses. A brand or small business may get its story told (placed) not only in the Des Moines Register print version and website, but also via a post on the Register’s Facebook page. And now, most importantly, in the Facebook News Feed of the Des Moines Register’s Facebook Fans who may then also share it! We used to think it was great to get a story placed on a newspaper’s website because the story could be found via search. Getting shared is better. A few recent observations:

  • All media outlets, especially those from smaller markets are posting less hard news content and more human interest, lifestyle, and fun stuff on their Facebook pages for the same reason we do for our clients: it gets noticed and shared.
  • Facebook’s algorithm favors what it deems to be news outlets even if they are just sharing that fun stuff and not hard news.
  • The most shared content on all of Facebook last month came from The Huffington Post. You can argue if this is a credible news site, a biased blog, a tabloid, or all of the above. But Facebook’s favoring has made it a golden opportunity.  

Calling all PR professionals – your services are needed! As more brands jump into content marketing, reaching traditional media outlets that have a great social following needs to be part of the content marketing strategy.   

Hope Is Not a Content Marketing Strategy

14 Jul



Facebook has made a big change that allows users to choose which friends’ or pages’ posts they can “See First” in their News Feeds.

We’re already seeing some pages asking, suggesting, and begging consumers to click on the More button and then click See First to move new posts to the top of their News Feed.

This is after spending the last 6 years asking, suggesting, and begging consumers to click the Like button.

This is not a Strategy; it’s a Hope.

Don’t waste the limited time, space, and attention fans are giving by you asking them to go click something that is not going matter to them and won’t matter much to you in the long run. A few fans may do this, but why would most fans bother? What’s in it for them?


Pages are scrambling to get you to "See First" or "Star" ... this is not a strategy.

Pages are scrambling to get you to “See First” or “Star”          This is not a Strategy; it’s a Hope.


Instead, let’s use the other part of Facebook’s new change to our advantage. The ability for consumers to see their most influential friends’ posts first is exciting and creates interesting opportunities.

Focus your resources on creating the best possible content. Then boost those posts to maximize exposure. If this content is relevant and interesting, you can count on those viewers to share it with their friends.

Users will see your content shared by their friends instead of more noise from other brands’ pages including your competitors’ pages!


The Strategy:

Create good content that is more likely to be shared.


The Tactics:

  1. Post content relevant to your audience (this is nothing new…)
  2. Boost it
  3. If it’s good, it gets shared by your fans or targeted audience to their friends


Again, you’re not gaming a system by begging for “Stars” or “See Firsts”; you’re providing good content that fans with share with their friends. That is always a good idea and it’s a winning strategy.





Facebook Content Marketing in 4 Steps

9 Jul


The most important place for your brand’s content marketing is likely Facebook. For franchise brands, here are the four steps to effectively tell your story to customers.

Three of these are controlled by the franchisor; the fourth and final step is in the hands of each franchisee.

Steps 1, 2, & 3 by the Franchisor:

1. The Franchisor Takes Control of brand on all social pages
Don’t drive consumers to your franchisees’ pages until they’re ready. Be confident that they are all up to date with current logos, images, names, and proper content.

2. The Franchisor Publishes organic content, curated news, great stories
Share valuable content to all franchisee pages for their local fans to consume.

3. The Franchisor Sets up Franchisees to Engage
This may be empowerment for some systems that set up franchisees to dive in.  Or this may be more controlled for some systems that want to approve content from franchisees before it goes out live.


Step 4 by the Franchisee:

4. The Franchisee Boosts Some of the Above Posts on Facebook
This will maximize local audience exposure at the local unit’s discretion and depending on its means. Instead of spending resources on creating content, the franchisee can efficiently choose some of the posts the franchisor published (in Step 2) and boost with local ad dollars. Boosting will vary based on the franchisee’s budget.

Need more info publishing to franchisees’ pages? Connect with my colleagues at Manalto to learn more.


Set up Your Future Facebook Pages Now!

16 Jun



Is part of your business plan for 2016 to expand into Canada? Is your Franchise Development team focused on Texas? Are there big empty spots on your map with no pins in it?

Create Facebook pages now for those future locations, markets, or franchisees.

  • Share the same great content you’re putting on your brand’s corporate page as well as any of your current locations’  or franchisees’ pages. No need to worry about localized special content yet.  
  • Generate some local interest in the brand … and who knows, maybe some local franchise sales leads!
  • You own the page from day one. When a store opens in that market, you can update the name, address, and details.
  • You’re adding value to the sale. Part of what the new franchisee is buying is a pre-made Facebook page with great content already living there and a built in fan base!


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