7 Things to Do NOW to Prep for #IFA2018

International Franchise Association 

Who else loves the week before the big annual conference in your industry? It’s the time to connect with old friends, reach out to new ones, and plan on meeting potential business partners. For me, this week is all about preparing for The International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention. Here are a few tips to have a great show!

 

1. Reach out NOW. The networking before the show can be as fun and productive as the networking at the show. Pick up the phone or send message today and get on someone’s radar before you both arrive.

 

2. Pack your business cards. Far too often I hear people at conferences say, “Oh, I forgot cards.” Sure, everyone can connect via email, text, Facebook, or LinkedIn after they converse. But be memorable in the moment and hand the person with whom you’re networking a physical card.

 

3. Listen to this week’s Social Geek Radio. Shameless plug #1: on this week’s show, my colleague Liane Caruso from Qiigo and I will deal out our top picks of events at IFA2018.

 

4. Plan your sessions and roundtables. There are so many speakers and panels that you want to hear that you should plan ahead to optimize your time. Shameless plug #2: please join me at the Roundtables that I have the privilege to facilitate:

  • Sunday in the Marketing Summit, we’ll be talking about Franchise Development and Social Media.
  • Tuesday morning in the Business Solutions area, we’ll be talking about Best Practices for Facebook Ads with my co-facilitator Matt Kurwoski, COO of Soccer Shots.

 

5. Download the App. A good way to keep track of your schedule, track the exhibitors you need to see, and synch your calendar is by using the official IFA Events app.

 

6. Check out Deb Evans’ videos. Deb has spent the last few weeks interviewing IFA members to find out what their plans for the convention are and what they’re most excited about doing there.

 

7. Pack comfortable shoes. I had the pleasure of visiting the Phoenix convention center and the surrounding hotels in November. Be ready to walk, and perhaps walk many blocks depending on which of the official conference hotels you booked!

 

 

Facebook Organic Panic

Facebook Like

The recent changes at Facebook announced by Mark Zuckerberg have caused panic and meltdowns by some so-called social media “experts.” These one-trick marketers think it’s the end of the world for Facebook and are spreading false fear to brands. I hope your competitors listen to this insanity.

Please share this terrible advice with your competitors:

  • Yes, Facebook is dying. It will probably go away forever very soon.
  • Facebook organic reach will be so low that it’s just not worth using Facebook anymore.
  • Facebook ad rates will go up. So instead of advertising to grow your business in the midst of the biggest business boom in 30 years, you should pull back and start hoarding pennies.
  • Stop using social media altogether.
  • Go back to relying on direct mail ads, newspaper ads, and yellow page ads, because, sure, that’s where customers are spending time.
  • Also, the sky is falling! Eek!

 

Don’t Panic

Let your competitors lose their heads. If they’re going to pull back on Facebook due to decreased space, that’s more space for the rest of us!

I’m not sure if any of these social media “gurus” really believe Facebook is falling, are just trying to get noticed, or have a deep resentment of Facebook’s success and are looking to celebrate a decline. But make no mistake – the only failure here will be made by those not constantly adapting and capitalizing on changes in social media.

 

What to Do

Here are my three recommendations in dealing with these changes on Facebook:

1. Double down on Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. Will ad rates go up? Of course they will. Facebook ads are more effective and more efficient than any other ads available today. Prepare for a year where the US economy will grow 3-4% (finally!). So yes, ad rates will go up and so will your revenue if new customers can find you and can engage with you.

2. Create even better, more sharable content. The value of organic content is no longer about hitting many current fans with a message. The real value comes from getting a few fans or customers to share your content or their experience with their friends.  As per last week’s news feed changes, these shared posts by friends will dominate screens.

3. Consult a professional. Do you really want to spend your entire day navigating these increasingly complicated waters?

 

 

5 Tips for Networking After a Conference

name tag

We’ve read many articles and posts with tips on maximizing our networking at or before an industry conference. But what do you do after a conference to follow-up with the people you just met?

Most people have two go-to moves: send an email or invite them to connect on LinkedIn. Here are five ideas that expand on those two moves that might make networking with you more appealing:

 

1. Connect on LinkedIn with a personalized note.
The personalized notes you add to LinkedIn invitations now look like LinkedIn Messages when received. Until recently, these notes were not as easily noticed. When users made the exodus to the LinkedIn mobile app, they didn’t see the notes at all. But now your recipient will receive an alert that he or she has a message making the customized notes are even more important.

 

2. Change the timing of your email
Everyone sends a follow-up email the Monday after a conference. Why not connect the same day? Show the person you met that they are still top of mind later in the day or evening. If you can’t send a note while at the show, how about waiting one week? If there’s a real connection there, it’s worth waiting.

Either way, avoid getting lost in all the Monday morning emails and fires.

 

3. Hand-written note
My new “old” favorite. Emails, texts, and LI messages are quick and easy. For the most important new connections, take the time to write a note by hand and mail it. Your new contact will love receiving real mail.

 

4. Phone call
Pick up the phone when possible! But, when they don’t answer, don’t leave a voicemail. This is when you should send the email. No one wants to wade through their voicemail to hear your message. No one.

 

5. Share on Social
Share your pics from the event, the organizers’ links to handouts, or other sharable content immediately after the show. Use the conference’s hashtag so more people find the posts. Other attendees will find this helpful!

Last week on Social Geek Radio, Deb Evans and I discussed this topic in connection with some recent franchise conferences we attended. Please listen here or download on iTunes!

 

Franchise Conference Calendar

Tis the season for conferences in the franchise space! Here are some excellent opportunities in the coming months for CEOs, marketing & sales executives, and others to learn about innovations and network with peers:

  

Springboard
FisherZucker / Fishman PR / Entrepreneur
Philadelphia
September 25-27

 

Franchise Leadership and Development Conference
Franchise Update Media
Atlanta
October 11-13

 

Franchise Innovation Conference (aka FranTech)
International Franchise Association
San Diego
October 18-20

 

Franchise Expo West
MFV Expositions
Los Angeles
November 2-4

 

Emerging Franchisor Conference
International Franchise Association
Phoenix
November 6-8

 

Please let me know if you’ll be at any of these great conferences.

I would love to connect!

Jack@Qiigo.com

 

 

Save Local Business

Franchise Action Network

 

I’m looking forward to heading to Capitol Hill next week to join some old friends and new ones in speaking with legislators about issues affecting local businesses.

One of the topics will be the Save Local Business Act which seeks to protect workers and small business owners from recent government overreach and confusion. Here are some links to information about the event and background on the topics:

 

Please let me know if you’re attending – let’s connect!

 

 

Tips for Using LinkedIn Video

LinkedIn Video

 

Many LinkedIn users can now post native video directly from the LinkedIn mobile app. Grab your phone and check it now. If the posting area now shows a video icon, then access has rolled out to you.

Like a Facebook Live video, it’s easy to fire up your camera and share a video instantly or share a video already saved in your camera roll. But unlike Facebook, these videos will have business-focused content…I HOPE…

You can post this video from your personal profile as a representative of your brand (or your personal brand) instead of your company page. This is a great feature; your personal profile is much more powerful than your company page. You probably have more connections than your company page has followers. Besides, who really follows company pages and engages with them? I’ll tell you who: people who want to sell the company something or get a job there!

LinkedIn will share with you the company names and titles of those who viewed your video. While this will be good to know, perhaps someday the viewer data will become targeting data. But for now, this video you’re about to upload will be seen be your connections and anyone else with whom they share it.

As you’re trying it out, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Sales folks: don’t use the video to only push your latest sales promotion. Tell a story! Tell stories about your customers, some best practices, industry issues, and anything that would make someone want to have a conversation with you.
  • Marketing pros: Again, tell a story, and leave out all corporate-speak about comprehensive global solutions and enterprise services yadda yadda yadda…
  • It can be ten minutes long, but don’t make it ten minutes long. Start with 30 seconds. When your 30 second videos are so good that your connections want more, increase to one minute.

Christmas In July: Planning Q4 Digital Marketing Now

Christmas in July

 

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of 4th Quarter sales for retailers, restaurants, and many other small businesses or multi-location businesses. While operations and other parts of your organization have had the rest of the year mapped out since last year, your digital marketing activities may not even be finalized for back-to-school promotions, let alone holiday shopping.

In the past, too many marketers have waited until the summer was over to gear up for the holidays. But now that’s too late. It’s now Christmas in July or at least planning your digital marketing tactics for Christmas during July.

Also, is 2018 the year your big idea explodes? If next year is your “hockey stick year,” then Q4 better be solid. To get started, here are three questions to ask yourself during July:

 

1. What are you going to do now to have a great Q4?

What will compel customers to pay you a visit and make a purchase? Do you have a killer promotion ready to roll?

 

2. How are you getting people into your stores or onto your website?

Facebook (organic) posts? Forget it. Tweets? Unless your name is Donald, forget it.

You’ve got to hit large numbers of people or smaller numbers of the right people using:

  • Facebook ads
  • Pay Per Click ads
  • Display ads

Blog posts and other forms of content marketing are great for awareness and long term branding, but you need to guarantee traffic soon.  Find what advertising and promotions work now and pour some fuel on it. And when I say fuel, I mean ad dollars.

 

3. Are the customers you had last year coming back, or are they buying from Amazon?

This one is very important for retailers – all boutique shops, specialty stores, chains, or franchises. We think we have a loyal base, so why would they not come back in this year

I’ll tell you why … there are an estimated 80 million Amazon Prime customers. Many of your customers are part of that. Use digital ads to reach them and give them a reason to get off their big fat lazy Amazon and come into your store!

 

Keys to the Mobile Kingdom

 

Mobile Kingdom

 

I’m looking forward to moderating a great panel at the upcoming Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference in Atlanta. In the session, Mobile – New Ideas to Drive In-store Visits, I’ll speak with a panel of marketing executives from the franchise sector to discover how they are using new innovations in mobile to drive traffic into their retail and restaurant establishments.

Do you have questions about mobile marketing best practices that you would like to ask these execs?  Are you struggling with getting new customers in the doors? Are your older strategies and tactics not working? Are you looking for ways to get your franchisees involved?

Please share any questions you would like to include in the session either in the comments section below or privately via LinkedIn Messaging or email at Jack@Qiigo.com. I’ll share your questions at the June 20 session and mention you (unless you would prefer to remain anonymous).

We will announce the final line-up of panelists next week! And if you’re thinking of attending FCMC this year, check out the fantastic agenda and details.

 

Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference

 

 

 

Storytelling and Franchising: Keeping It Simple.

Multi-Unit Franchising

 

Franchise Update Media hosted another spectacular Multi-Unit Franchising Conference recently in Las Vegas. This is one of my favorite annual business conferences due the diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and interests of the attendees.

The final day included a fantastic session discussing issues impacting small business owners. The International Franchise Association’s Matt Haller moderated the panel which included Catherine Monson of FASTSIGNS, Matthew Patinkin of Double P Corp, Ron Feldman of ApplePie Capital, and IFA Chair Shelly Sun of BrightStar Care. This “A-Team” of business leaders offered their candid insights on many subjects, but the prevailing topic was the National Labor Relations Board and its 2015 ruling on the joint employer standard.

It occurs to me that such non-elected policy makers, as well as some elected officials, journalists, and activists are dreadfully uneducated about the ownership of a franchised business. This leads to the general public being uninformed and in many cases purposefully misinformed.

If we want to correct this, we need tell the story of franchising in simple terms —  so simple, in fact, that a politician and maybe even a journalist could understand.

Here are my two suggestions to properly and simply communicate the role of a franchisee:

1. The Franchisee Is a Customer of the Franchisor

There’s no clearer argument than showing that a franchisee is a customer of the franchisors and not an employee or middle-manager. There are many things small business owners must purchase in order to open their doors. The purchase from the franchisor is just one of those things.

As an example, let’s use a home services franchise brand such as a plumbing, landscaping, or cleaning franchise. There are several things you need to buy If you want to own one of these businesses including:

A) The Franchise.
B) A Truck.

If you buy a Ford F150 for your business, does this mean The Ford Motor Company is a joint employer of your staff?

Of course not. The car brand from whom you purchased your truck is not in charge of your employees.  Also, the plumbing brand from whom you purchased your franchise is not in charge of your employees.

 

2. Not Franchisees. Owners.

While some franchise systems may have specific language that they can or can’t use in some agreements, in general discussions we should refer to owners as owners.

If we, as an industry, had used this terminology more often in recent years, the anti-business Washington bureaucrats, lobbyists, and activists may have targeted a different industry. They would have perpetrated their schemes on a business sector without owners.

 

 

Marketing Trends on Social Geek Radio

 

Social Geek Radio

 

We’ve got a great lineup of marketing experts coming up on Social Geek Radio!

Laura Ries

 

 

This week Laura Ries, President of Ries & Ries, joins us to discuss trends in branding. Laura is the best-selling author of Battlecry, Visual Hammer, and my favorite marketing book of all time: The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR.

 

 

 

Mitch Joel

 

 

And next week we’re thrilled to have Mitch Joel, President of Mirum, on the show to talk tech trends. Mitch is the best-selling author of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete.

 

 

 

 

Find us at SocialGeekRadio.com or download from iTunes!