Where Is The Next FranCamp?


Franchisors, franchisees, agencies, and suppliers all had them same initial feedback as soon as Franchise Social Media Camp FranCamp – wrapped on Saturday:

When is the next FranCamp? And, where?!?

The FranCamp organizing team got together immediately to discuss, but we want to hear from the Franchising Community as to what areas of the country make the most sense for busy marketers and development pros. Please take a minute to tell us your choice for FranCamp cities.

Click Image to Take Poll and See Results


The desire of so many attendees to continue this discussion may have been based on the tight focus of all speakers and presenters. The discussions were neither too introductory nor too technical.  All presentations and roundtable discussions were geared to giving everyone usable social media tactics to put in place immediately.

This was a refreshing change from the IFA’s recent attempts at having social media panels and presentations at the annual convention, which were very elementary for many franchise marketers.

All of the presentations from FranCamp Nashville were streamed live on USTREAM and available to you for viewing now. These include:

Deb Evans, Computer Explorers – Engaging Your Company

BJ Emerson, Tasti D-Lite – Social Loyalty Programs

Thomas Scott, Brand Journalists – Business Blogs

Nate Griffin, Man of Action and Aimee Romero, Love and Science – Organic SEO

Joe Mathews, Franchise Performance Group – Social Franchise Development

Jack Monson, Engage121 – Twitter Tactics

Paul Segreto, franchisEssentials – LinkedIn Strategies

Jennifer MacDonald, WIN Home Inspection – Online Videos & YouTube

AK Stout, Saying It Social – Facebook Strategies

Ashley Betzendahl, Goddard Systems and Robin Scott, Computer Explorers – Franchisor and Franchisee Q&A

One final note – several attendees have asked to see the Engage121 case studies I mentioned. Please see links here for case studies of
franchise system Edible Arrangements and iconic brand Amtrak.

Thanks to everyone for their time and attention. See you in whatever city you want to bring FranCamp to next!

Franchising Goes Social

Franchise Social Media

FranCamp 2011 is the first social media “un-conference” for the franchising industry and is happening this October in Nashville. All franchisors and franchisees are encouraged to attend to learn and share what’s working in social media marketing for franchise systems.

The format is simple: a low-cost, one-day event loaded with a fast-paced and aggressive agenda loaded with super-helpful content. After some sessions at this year’s IFA Convention, several IFA members and I discussed the need for a social media event for franchise systems that was more than just the typical “why use social media” discussion and really get down into useable, actionable takeaways.

I’m excited to be presenting on the topic of Twitter tactics and best practices for franchises. Some of the points we will be discussing are:

  • The dirty little secret of how your customers are actually using Twitter
  • Why Twitter requires completely different tactics than Facebook or Google+
  • 4 things to do if your Tweets are not driving business

Here’s the current lineup of speakers and panelists with franchise leaders who are making an impact with social:

Deb Evans, CEO, Computer Explorers

BJ Emerson, VP Technology, Tasti D-Lite

Timothy Nobles, Founder, Words Go Here SEO

Jack Monson, VP, Engage121

Paul Segreto, CEO, FranchiEssentials

Jennifer MacDonald, Online Community Manager, WIN Home Inspection

AK Stout, CEO, Saying it Social

Joe Mathews, Founder, Franchise Performance

Amy Olson, Director of Marketing, The Maids International

Kurt Schusterman, CEO, Verlo Mattress Factory Stores

Thomas Scott, CEO, Brand Journalists

This daylong event will take place October 22 at CoLab in downtown Nashville. Plus, there will be a Tweet-Up on Friday evening at a Tasti D-Lite location in Nashville!

Why Being On Facebook Is A Mistake

Today’s guest blog post is by Thomas Scott, CEO of Brand Journalists, a firm that is creating breakthroughs for several franchise companies using a mix of content and Engage121.

No Facebook Logo 




Why Being on Facebook is a Mistake

Almost every session I attended at this year’s International Franchise Association conference in Las Vegas touched on social media. No matter what the subject matter, the dialogue eventually focused on the impact of social media. Just as in past years, there was standing room only space for social topics and several times the crowd spilled over into the hallways.

Throughout all the conversation, a disturbing trend emerged as a best practice: Facebook is where you should focus your social media efforts. The message to franchisors: when it comes to social media, it is a Facebook world.

On many levels, this makes sense. Facebook is growing at amazing rates and has quickly become the most popular social network. Our customers are all over Facebook and we feel the pressure to be where our customers are. Our franchisees want to be on Facebook and we are struggling to develop a plan makes everyone happy and produces results.

This is a mistake.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a presence on Facebook; at Brand Journalists, we do a ton of Facebook work for franchisors and franchisees, both of which have a large opportunity to connect with customers via the popular network. I believe in Facebook and we are always looking for ways to coax a return out of our marketing.

The mistake is in thinking that all your social media efforts should be focused on Facebook.
Franchisors today need to exploit four areas of social media. They are all important but not all equal. Some are easier to use and some are better for driving sales. In our experience managing social media for several franchise brands and individual franchisees, Facebook is the least likely social activity to drive actual sales and revenue.

Here are the four areas of social media listed in order of importance and impact on your sales:

1. Blogging – every day, millions of people search for billions of things on Google. Despite Facebook’s size, Google is still many multiples larger and growing. Your customers are looking for you and your services on Google; the humble business blog is the best social media tool to help you get your content in front of your target customers. The business blog is the most overlooked social media tool and by far the most underused. Companies that get good returns on social media are heavy bloggers simply because the blog allows creation of optimized content that gets in front of people who want what you have to sell. A good blog leverages emotionally compelling stories and relevant keywords. If content is truly the backbone of a successful social media campaign, it needs a place to call home and its home is your blog.

2.  Google Places – in several IFA sessions we asked if franchisors knew much about Google Places and few understood this important tool. Google Places is Google’s business directory and one of the most important social media platforms. Search for a business or service in your city and you’ll see Google place pages for your local franchisees. This is a mini-website that provides basic information about your business, showcases user reviews and gives business owners spots to update statuses and upload media such as photos and videos. Potential customers who are ready to buy your product or service are influenced more by Google Places than any other social media. If you want to drive sales, spend time claiming, optimizing and managing each of your local franchisee place pages. Spend time to train franchisees on how to manage local pages and gather positive reviews. You’ll get an immediate return.

3.  Social Loyalty Programs – Don’t know what social loyalty is? You are not alone. This is a very new field of social media and it holds immense promise for building repeat business and generating referrals from existing customers. Social loyalty programs tap into point of sale systems. Similar to a grocery store customer card, you issue your customers who register online a swipe card. They indicate which social networks they use and give you their email. Why would someone hand over this information? People respond to incentives. If you are a yogurt shop, they agree to post positive messages about your brand and earn points for every posting. Once they reach a set number of points they get free yogurt. When a loyalty customer swipes the card in the store, the program checks them into foursquare, posts on Facebook and even tweets. Every posting has a coupon or promotion for others so you just turned your customer base into a guerrilla marketing sales force. Not only do you entice customers to visit more often, they build brand loyalty within their networks. Talk about word of mouth on steroids……

4.  Facebook – last but not least, Facebook is not to be overlooked. In this list, however, Facebook is the most difficult way to generate a direct sales return, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Facebook is a closed system. That means your content stays within the Facebook network. Facebook wants it this way to encourage sharing and eventually tap into a lucrative ad market. For businesses, this means creating a business fan page. The best advice I’ve heard is to think of your fan page as a business website with similar functionality as your main company website. Don’t use Facebook as it comes in its default mode. Don’t have people see your wall when they click on your page. Do get help customizing your Facebook tabs and think about ways to serve up blog content, store locators and Facebook-only deals on custom – built tabs.

As franchise companies, social media has become part of our integrated marketing strategies and it’s a good thing: we have tremendous opportunities to build brand awareness and leverage fans. For the first time, companies are really beginning to show solid track records using the social media tools above to drive sales. If you are trying to tackle social media, start at the top of this list and work your way down — you’ll get a much better result and your franchisees will thank you.

If you don’t know where to start, outsource or get help. You won’t be sorry.


Brand Journalists is a content, PR and social media firm based in Nashville, TN that uses Engage121 with all of its clients to help manage content on social networks to create marketing breakthroughs and drive sales.

Facebook: facebook.com/brandjournalists: