Some will tell you that social media is all about making consumers and brands more global and creating virtual communities made up of people across the world. This may be true for entities that sell products only online, but it’s not true for small businesses or franchisees.
Customers typically don’t buy a large coffee, a slice of pizza, or a new SUV online. You can influence, engage with, and make an offer to consumers via social channels, BUT they need to come in to become an actual customer.
So many brands are selling at that local level, yet not marketing to or engaging with potential customers at the local level. Why are they missing these potential customers?
One reason is a misunderstanding about consistency. This is typical when the top person responsible for social marketing is not accountable for real business results (read: dollars!)
I recently spoke with a marketing and communications team at a large US-based oil company with several hundred franchised convenience stores in communities across the country. These mid-level managers couldn’t get past the idea of a local franchisee potentially saying something inconsistent in social media. They decided it would be safer to just have one corporate page and no local or regional activity in social.
This is exactly why franchisors need to lead, not just limit, social media communications. If that’s not possible, then they should remove their franchisees’ phones too. And, if inconsistency in social media scares you this much, then stop franchising. Close up shop!
The fact is, social media is the EASIEST place to manage your brand. Put some listening and publishing tools in place, commit an hour or two per week, and you’re good to go for your whole franchise system.
All that other stuff you’re already doing is the hard part of managing a brand!