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A Twitter Trend for Franchise Brands

10 May

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One or Many?

For several years most successful digital marketers with multiple locations or franchises have “gone local with social” and built a social media page or account for each location. This continues to be the winning strategy with Facebook.

But a trend I’m seeing from brand marketers is to merge multiple local Twitter accounts into one account for all brand awareness, news, and customer feedback for the entire brand. The areas where Twitter is currently most useful are increasingly being housed centrally instead of for each individual location.

What about all of the other platforms and channels? Which are best for a local presence versus a national brand voice?  Here’s my recommended number of pages your system should have:

Facebook: 1 brand page + 1 page per location

Google+: 1 brand page + 1 page per location

LinkedIn: 1 company page per brand

Instagram: 1 account per brand

Snapchat: 1 account per brand

YouTube: 1 channel per brand

Twitter: 1 account per brand

 

Why is there a difference for Facebook and Google+? Why should these two – and only these two – have multiple pages? It’s the local or regional presence that is resonating on Facebook with local engagement and converting search results on Google to local store traffic. Think of Facebook and Google+ pages in the same way you would think of websites for each individual location or franchisee. Even for service brands like cleaning and maintenance services without a storefront, conversations and conversions are happening locally through these two platforms. But, the other platforms are skewing to centralized, national brand engagement and conversations.

Multiple Departments?

What about multiple Twitter accounts for multiple departments or functions within a brand? No – not even a separate account for “customer service.” Your brand on Twitter is your entire brand. Customers don’t care about your fiefdoms!

The multiple Facebook and Google+ pages should only be location-specific and nothing else. From a national level there should only be one page. Far too many franchisors still employ separate Facebook pages for consumer marketing and franchise sales marketing. As discussed at this year’s IFA convention in the Facebook for Franchise Sales session, don’t have a separate page for Fran Dev!  Use targeted ads and boosted posts to hit candidates with specific messages about owning a franchise.

 

What Is Twitter Now?

4 May

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Each week marketers talk about the latest new feature on Facebook and how they might use that feature to push their brand forward. We’re also frequently talking about Instagram, Snapchat, and a couple of revolving newcomers.

But many marketers are no longer talking about Twitter, or at least not as much as they were just two years ago. Lately most mentions of Twitter lead to conversations about the company itself and not how marketers are actually using it. Everyone wants to share ideas on the Twitter’s challenges, share price, and CEO rather than how they’re telling their own story on Twitter.

 

If Twitter’s not Social Media, what is it?

 

It’s News

As of last week, Twitter is listed as a News app in the iTunes store and is no longer categorized as a social media app.

I’ve always thought of Twitter as a news distribution channel. It looks like Twitter and Apple finally agree. The smartest Public Relations execs were releasing official news and statements on Twitter as far back as 2008.

If your side of the story is not coming up in Twitter searches, it’s just as inexcusable as not being seen on Google search results. Get to it!

 

It’s a Link Library

Twitter is to articles and blog posts what YouTube is to videos. It’s a vast vault of searchable content. Note, YouTube is also not really “Social” anymore, unless you count engaging with trolls…  

 

It’s a Customer Service platform

You can complain on your Facebook page all day about Brand X, but Brand X will never see it. You can complain on Brand X’s Facebook page all day and perhaps no other customers will see it. Tweet once and anyone paying attention will see it. Then the response clock starts running!

 

It’s the place to “Also Share” your social media posts

Twitter may not be the center stage for your content marketing, but it is a main gate. All social platforms must enable one-click Tweeting of your article, blog post, update, video, image, pin, story, audio clip, or future type of content. Even if you think most of your target audience is not active on Twitter, remember the Link Library idea above and make your content easy to find in any future Twitter search.  

 

 

 

Prince Per Click

25 Apr

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It’s been 7 hours and several days since Prince’s passing took over the internet. Social newsfeeds turned purple with not only heartfelt tributes by fans, but also self-centered ads, clumsy branded content, and a lousy marriage of broadcast media and social. Here are some low-lights.

 

Prince Link Bait

If you’re already tired of the link-baiting teasers that suck the life out of your screen, then the fresh round of Prince headlines made your weekend even worse. We instantly saw garbage links like “9 songs you didn’t know Prince wrote,” “You won’t believe what will happen with Prince’s will,” and “What police found in Prince’s basement is shocking.”

These sites and their Facebook pages got a quick spike in traffic and a bunch of clicks. Congratulations. But they won’t get this kind of traffic again until someone as popular as Prince dies again. Good luck with that. Many of these sites are not even music, celebrity, or pop culture sites, but sadly are “news” sites that have exposed that they have no original content, only poorly curated links.

 

Brand Content

Tributes poured in from brands – some good, some bad. I generally don’t like posts surrounding a celebrity death or tragedy. There’s not much upside. Is anyone really going to say “Wow, General Mills is my kind of company. They think Prince dying is sad too! Quick, buy more Cheerios!”

And most of the brands’ postings are clumsy at best and overall lousy with a few exceptions. Adweek shared a good complete list here.

 

Celebrity Tweets = Lazy Journalism

Prince’s death has brought out the laziest aspects of TV News. Instead of delivering anything new or different, they just show what other celebrities have tweeted or posted about the celebrity who has died. Justin Timberlake and Mick Jagger are talented guys too, but the nice things they say about Prince are neither news nor interesting (unless someone says something terrible).

Also, thank God for CNN and The Today Show showing us what other people said on Twitter. I don’t know where else we would find such information! Glad they have massive global news operations to repeat what you could have seen on your phone instantly!

 

 

Using Snapchat for Business…Reluctantly

19 Apr

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Why We Don’t

Here are the top reasons many marketers have given me when I’ve asked why they’re not using Snapchat for their business.

  1. I don’t see a viable use for business
  2. It’s for kids
  3. By the time we get rolling, it will be replaced with the next “big thing”

All of these things were said about Facebook in 2010. And the internet in 1995. And probably television in 1950!

 

Why We Should Dive In

Snapchat’s potential for brands lies beyond sending funny pics that disappear. This week on Social Geek Radio, Deb Evans and I will start our exploration into Snapchat for your business with guest Sarah Shah who will guide us through the Snapchat features that brands are using to engage. Join this discussion at socialgeekradio.com

Diving into live streaming video apps Meerkat and Periscope also helped get our creative juices flowing for the advent of Facebook Live for businesses. So learning Snapchat’s business applications now may prepare us for the coming changes of the Facebook properties Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. All of them compete with Snapchat in some manner and the commercialization of each will be driven by that competition. 

 

When? Now.
 
When do you need to get onto a new social network? Right after it appears to make an impact and right before your competitors do. That window is now for Snapchat. Hang with Social Geek Radio for this one…we’ll figure it out, even if we do so reluctantly!

 

DIFF: Do It For Franchisees

5 Apr

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What’s The DIFF?

One of the best things a Franchisor can offer Franchisees has been good content for marketing and social media engagement. And now this includes leading the franchisees’ content publishing efforts.

Creating content for your entire organization is great. But if that content never gets in front of consumers, it’s worth nothing.

 

DIY Doesn’t Work in Social Media for Franchisees

I spent several years creating social media marketing models where franchisees would “get with the program” and engage daily in social. Do It Yourself social media is a great idea in theory for franchisees, but not all practical. Getting 10% of franchisees in any system to engage was considered success.

We’re now in a Do It For Franchisees world of social marketing.

Local business owners know that marketing is one of the disciplines that they need to tackle. But that’s the problem: it’s just one of things they need to tackle! And when the hours in a day get tight, marketing gets dropped every time.

 

Don’t Be Overhead. Be Air Cover.

Operators, owners, and Franchisees need to focus on running their business, managing their employees, serving customers, and making product, but not becoming a digital marketing expert.

That’s where you come as the expert to figure out the best social approach for your brand and the microcosm of the brand that is the local franchisee’s Facebook page.

You not only can create the appropriate content for that page, but also you can decide the suitable number of daily postings, choose the right timing, and replicate for all franchisees in your system.

That’s where you come in as marketing air cover.

    

It’s good for them. It’s even better for your brand!

As mentioned earlier, if you can get 10% of franchisees from any system to log in and use a social media platform, you’re doing great. But that’s a horrible number! You can’t accomplish much with only 10% of your system.

Doing It For Franchisees (or at least the inactive 90%) means no more worry about policing the messages for consistency. You manage the message and empower the franchisees to run their business.

 

 

 

Stop Measuring Social Media

30 Mar

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Stop Measuring Social Media

…unless you’re actively engaging!

You can spend all day measuring social media. But if you are not regularly publishing and engaging in social media, then all that measurement is a complete waste of time and money.

By regularly publishing, I mean multiple times per day, on all your pages with a good portion being original posts or links back to original content.  I’ve spoken with many marketing execs who ironically don’t have the resources to post this aggressively because they’re constantly monitoring and analyzing every word on social about their industry.   

Sure, monitoring and measuring the broad spectrum of social can give you some insights. The measurement industry people will tell you that you can make key business decisions with this information. Perhaps…but if you’re making important decisions about your organization based on what a few people may remark on social media, then perhaps you’re in the wrong seat.

 

Other Noise Versus Your Message

Look at the big QSRs – do they care? I hope not. Thousands of people say nasty things on social about chicken nuggets and $5 pizzas every week. But guess what? Millions of people still buy chicken nuggets and $5 pizzas every week. Those brands are actively putting out their own messages and not focusing on all the chatter.

 

What about the social channels you can’t monitor?

Those who over-measure have a particular fondness for Twitter. Why? Is it the most influential? No. Is it the biggest? No. But, it is the easiest to monitor and measure. Tweets are things that can easily be counted but might not necessarily count.  

Facebook and Instagram have real barricades to monitoring anything but your own content. They count, but can’t be counted. And Snapchat? No chance.

So most “share of voice” reports out there are only measuring a less important portion of a tiny fraction of what might be captured about of what’s being said about the brand! Please reread that last sentence in your most sarcastic voice possible.

 

Next: More Noise?!? 

As social and online conversations, chatter, and noise grow exponentially, each piece becomes less important. Where do you want to be a year from now…gathering more & more data that is becoming less & less relevant? Or, do you want to lead conversations and tell your story? Try these 4 tips:

1. Keep a finger on the pulse of social – not every inch of the body.

2. Of course be prepared to be alerted to any real crisis.

3. Focus all of your social listening on responses and engagements to your original content and your story. That’s all you can control anyway.

4. Focus the majority of your marketing resources on making news, not reading it.

 

Anchor: Radio By The People

22 Mar

 

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What Instagram is to photos and Periscope is to video, Anchor is to audio.

Anchor was a big hit at SXSW this year much to the pleasure of its investors and founders.  Thanks to my Social Geek Radio co-host Deb Evans for hipping me to the hippest place in the social sphere today. In fact Deb featured Anchor last week on our Social Geek Radio podcast’s #GeekItOut segment.

Anchor is simple app that allows users to broadcast short audio clips and it allows followers to engage and respond via audio clips as well.

For me, the most effective part of Anchor is the easy integration with Twitter. I don’t think many people are interested in cultivating a new community and new followers. While you can manage a group of Anchor followers, the key here is using Anchor as an, uhhh, anchor for audio-only content and sharing it to your current community on Twitter (as well as Facebook). In this case, Anchor is a lot like an audio YouTube: a link vault of short clips that you share on other social media.

I also like Anchor’s onboarding process. No Facebook blue arrows or anything to read; Anchor sticks to its audio focus and has a friendly voice talk you through a fast setup. Nice touch.  (Note to Ello: I’m still waiting for you update my password.)

Give Anchor a try now and connect with me there. Would love to hear your thoughts there! 

 

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Shot of a recent Wave on Anchor

 

 

 

Telling Your Business Story on Facebook

15 Mar

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Facebook released the news that it now has 3 Million advertisers and has 50 Million businesses using Facebook pages. Or, as Facebook might see this, 47 Million businesses who have pages but have not yet purchased an ad!

2 of the top 3 business verticals using Facebook pages are services and local commerce; both are common industry types using the franchise model. The third, ecommerce, applies to all models. We don’t know how many franchise brands are a part of that 3 Million advertisers. However, based on the boom in ads we discussed at the IFA Convention summit on Facebook and Franchising, it’s safe to assume that a large number of the million new advertisers in the past year are in franchising.

As part of this milestone, or as a good excuse to roll out something new, Facebook has launched a new tool called Your Business Story.  

 

Telling Your Business Story

This new format is video that Facebook has made very easy to use. In fact, it’s so simple, you don’t even have to make an actual video! All you have to do is select 8 photos that are already on your timeline, select a piece of music, add a little text, and you’re done!  Get started here.

You can create as many of these short videos as you want. You can share them with your fans and you can also boost them, bringing us full circle back to why Facebook has rolled out this cool tool.

We saw a bit of a preview of these business stories at FranTech 2015 last October in Dallas.  But now that I’m actually hands-on, here are 3 things that jump out at me:

1. Video: Everyone talks about how the only thing thing that matters in online marketing is video. But a large number of business owners have no experience or knowledge in how to make a video let alone how to distribute videos in an efficient way. Facebook just made it easy.

2. Content Marketing: The other thing everyone talks about is story telling to attract customers. Again, Facebook just made it easy.

3. A micro elevator pitch: The text that businesses can include answers the question: “What’s your story? We’re in the business of ____________.” This short answer forces business owners to think about they do for customers in simple terms. No one will have the space or opportunity to drone on about customer service, being people persons, finding solutions, or other corporate dribble.

 

Telling Franchising’s Story

One of the key takeaways for me at The 2016 IFA Convention was incoming IFA Chairman Aziz Hashim’s speech.  Not only did Aziz mention social media (a first for any IFA Chair or CEO’s speech), but he also compelled the members to tell franchising’s story.

I think Facebook just made it easy for all franchisors and franchisees to tell Franchising’s story!

Tweet about Aziz

 

 

Using Facebook for Sales

8 Mar

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We still hear business leaders and sales & marketing executives trying to convince us – or themselves – that they don’t need to engage potential customers on social media.  Here are a few responses to frequent Facebook objectives:

 

“You don’t understand my industry. These guys just aren’t on Facebook.”

I say: unless you’re marketing and selling to creatures other than human beings, many of your prospects are on Facebook.

 

“But we’re a B-to-B play. My business clients can’t be reached the same way those lucky dog Consumer Marketing people do it.”

I say: in every business to business transaction, people buy from people. You know where many people are right now? Facebook. Stop thinking of yourself pitching to XYZ Manufacturing Inc., and picture yourself engaging with your contact Jane.

 

“But one of the guys at my client really doesn’t use Facebook. I’m serious. He says it’s stupid.”

I say: Of course you can find some prospects and candidates who are not active on Facebook. You can also find some who don’t own a TV and a few who still don’t carry a mobile phone. In 2016, they are outliers.  I would also say that if they are that much of an outlier, then any conventional methods of reaching them will also fail.

 

Are you fighting against Facebook?

You’re not comfortable. I get that. It’s not what you used to do. That’s okay!

You’re going onto your 8th year of saying that social media is a fad. One of these years you may be right. But not this year. Go get ’em!

 

 

Facebook for Franchise Development

1 Mar

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Thanks to everyone who attended our Facebook for Franchise Development panel at the International Franchise Association annual convention last week. It was just 500 or so friends getting together on a Sunday in San Antonio to chat about Facebook. Fellow panelists Paul Pickett, Ashley Pollard Sawyer, Lorne Fisher, and I were thrilled with level of engagement and enthusiasm from the crowd.

 

Facebook Ads, Not Just Posts

I should note that when I say Facebook for Franchise Development, I’m talking about Facebook Ads. Your consumer marketing counterparts can and should rely heavily on organic / unpaid content and updates. But when trying to reach potential franchisees, it’s all about the paid posts where you can target specific messages to certain groups of people based on demographics, interests, and location.

 

Surprise Audience Engagement

Three things from the audience have really stuck with me. First, an amazing crowd of 500+ came to hear about best practices in using Facebook for Franchise Sales. The overflow crowd was spilling out into the hallways by the time we started. 15 to 20% of the entire IFA Convention was attending this session on a Sunday morning!

Second, I was shocked and impressed that a majority of the CEOs and Franchise Development executives in the room answered affirmative when I asked if they were at least starting to use Facebook ads for franchise lead generation. One year ago it would have been under 20%. Five years ago I would have been laughed at for asking that question. When I first attended IFA in 2009 to discuss “emerging media” in franchising, suggesting spending money on Facebook would have gotten me kicked out of the convention.

Third, a great question from the audience allowed our panelists to drill down into a deeper discussion of what to do if you’re not getting results.  A franchisor had tried some Facebook ads, got a lot impressions or clicks, but no real prospects and no deals. Many see this as Facebook advertising not working; I see it as working well, just with the wrong content. She had touched many people but didn’t tell the story she wanted to tell the first time out. 

If you’re not getting the results you require from Facebook ads, you have only three options:

  1. Step on the gas and get that content in front of more people
  2. Change your content & try again
  3. Quit!

(And #3 is not an option)

 

 

 

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