Reaching Franchise Candidates on LinkedIn

linkedin logo


More franchisors have asked me about using Social Media for franchise development in the past 6 weeks than in the previous 6 years.

At recent events including FranTech, Franchise Leadership and Development Conference, The Chicago Women’s Franchise Network, and Springboard, my conversations have focused on using Facebook for not only generating new leads from your consumer customer base, but also engaging with candidates further down your franchise development sales funnel using Facebook’s Custom Audience Targeting.

And often, the next question has been: “But what about LinkedIn?”

Franchisors at these events ask about improving their results in finding candidates on LinkedIn. Many tried LinkedIn early in their online marketing journey but got bad results and quickly moved on.

I suggest that LinkedIn may not be appropriate for engaging with some types of potential franchisees, just as Facebook or other channels may not work for other types of prospects.

Recommendation #1: Before jumping into any social media marketing for franchise development, look at who your candidates are and where they spend their time on social media.


Facebook LinkedIn Franchising


The Facebook Side

If your best franchise candidates are those folks who will be operating their own store or other franchise location day-to-day, Facebook is the best place to engage. They may be customers of a current franchisee who could visualize themselves running their own shop. They have an interest – and hopefully a passion – for your brand’s type of service, work, food, or culture!

At our FLDC panel discussion, Wild Birds Unlimited exemplified this type of brand. Chief Development Officer Paul Pickett shared how individuals on Facebook can engage with a brand that shares their passion and then picture themselves as owning their own store.  I would add that being a great storyteller and sharing appealing images and videos is key in developing these relationships! Facebook is the most important place to spend your development time as this is where such future owners are already spending their time.


The LinkedIn Side

If your best franchise candidates are looking for an investment or for their next franchise award, let’s look at LinkedIn. Those candidates are in “the business of business” and invest in a franchise based only on return. LinkedIn is an excellent place to share information about your franchise’s value.

On the same FLDC panel, LinkedIn success was represented by ZIPS Franchising. ZIPS Vice President Aaron Goldberg does a fantastic job communicating on LinkedIn with potential business partners who are multi-unit owners investing in franchises.

At my FranTech Roundtable on Social Media in October, many Franchisors shared with me that they burn through their LinkedIn ad budgets quickly. Unlike Facebook where your boosted posts are easy for the right prospects to consume, LinkedIn puts you in a very competitive position to get a franchise development ad viewed.


Recommendation #2: I’m currently recommending not initially buying ads on LinkedIn. Instead, use LinkedIn as the one-to-one communication tool that Twitter was meant to be. There’s no advertising cost to engage with a person as another person!

LinkedIn may not be a great place to generate a completely new lead, but it is the best place to communicate with potential business partners with whom you’re already engaged.


Recommendation #3: Use LinkedIn for franchise development via your personal profile, not your company LinkedIn page. People buy from people. The goldmine of LinkedIn for any brand is in its use by company representatives as individuals. Sure, your company page needs to be updated and appealing. But the heavy lifting needs to be done from you as a business leader.


Recommendation #4: Use these tactics every day to get to the next level with your franchise prospects on LinkedIn:

*Share relevant business articles and blog posts that would be of interest to your candidates.

*Reach out to them via LinkedIn messages and InMails. Both have a significantly higher response rate than emails.

And remember the most important thing when promoting a business to prospective buyers on social media: even when you’re not engaging with them, they’re watching you!




Managing Social Media’s Role in Franchise Sales

facebook and franchising

I’m looking forward to moderating an all-star panel discussing Social Media in Franchise Sales. At the 2016 Franchise Leadership and Development Conference in Atlanta on September 29, we will dive deep into best social media practices for franchise marketing and sales executives. From Franchise Update:

What is Social Media’s role in franchisee recruitment to generate leads, provide validation, get people talking about your brand? This session will help you understand the options and opportunities Social Media offers to help grow your brand.

Facilitator: Jack Monson, Director, Digital Strategy, Qiigo

Panelists: Aaron Goldberg, VP, Franchise Development, ZIPS Franchising; Paul Pickett, CDO, Wild Birds Unlimited; Philip Schram, CDO, Buffalo Wings & Rings

Register Now!

aaron goldberg


Aaron Goldberg
VP, Franchise Development
ZIPS Franchising


philip schram


Philip Schram
Chief Development Officer
Buffalo Wings & Rings


paul pickett


Paul Pickett
Chief Development Officer
Wild Birds Unlimited


jack monson


Jack Monson
Director of Digital Strategy






Franchisors: Don’t Do Facebook Promoted Posts from Your Brand Page.


Facebook Dollar 11


You need Facebook ads and promoted posts not from your brand’s Facebook page, but from all of your franchisees’ Facebook pages.

By pushing out ads from your franchisees’ local pages, you’re ensuring that 100% of this investment is going toward potential customers near your local units. If you only boost posts from a brand page, you will be spending many dollars on advertising to people who are 500 miles from your nearest franchisee, even when using demographic targeting on your brand page.

And those people who are far away miles from your nearest franchisee? Target those folks with your Franchise Development story in promoted posts from your brand page or special Fran Dev pages!


Franchising Equals Jobs


In advance of the Franchise Social Media Summit next week and October’s FranCamp, both of which will offer advanced discussion on who franchise systems can leverage social media to grow their business, here’s the latest from the franchising front. My colleague Jack Serpa of Engage121 participated in this week’s International Franchise Association Public Affairs Conference and offers this guest post as a refresher on the importance of the franchise industry to the US economy. 

Franchising Equals Jobs

If you believe that economic recovery is dependent on job creation, you’ll be both impressed and frustrated with the impact the franchise industry holds in the balance.   

I just returned from Washington DC where the International Franchise Association held their annual IFA Public Affairs Conference.   

Consider that one out of every eight jobs in the private sector is with a franchise company. When a local Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins opens in your area, 30 new jobs are created.  There are 828,000 franchise businesses in theUS, employing 9.1 million people who are paid $304.4 billion in direct payroll. That creates $468.5 billion to GDP.

It gets bigger.  Each franchise establishment needs supplies, services and professional support.  Roll that up nationwide and franchising fuels 17.4 million jobs,  $707.6 billion in payroll, which is 9.7% of all private/non-farm payroll, and $1.2 TRILLION to GDP

Now comes the frustration.   So jobs grow when Franchising grows, right?  To start a franchise business, a local business person (the employer) needs capital funding.  The funding is not coming through. No new lending means no new jobs.

Ken Walker, the Chairman and CEO of Driven Brands (owners of MAACO, Meineke and EconoLube) said his company has 100 people signed up to open new franchises. They can’t get funding.  Karen Powell, CEO and Founder of Décor For You, told me she has two new franchisees inPennsylvania, but the banks aren’t coming forth with the capital.

What’s being done? 

The IFA’s Public Affairs Conference is a well-orchestrated lobbying blitz where owners of both local franchisees and corporate franchisors meet with their US Senators and Representatives.  After great networking and instructional events at the JW Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue, the IFA literally buses this franchise army to the Capitol.  With pre-scheduled meetings in the office of senators and congressmen, the franchise army presses the case for easing capital lending to franchisees to fuel economic growth.

The power of the purse strings in our nation’s banks can stymie or stimulate our economy.  If you agree, send a tweet or post or a good ol’ fashion letter to your local congressional representative.  For contact information on your local congressman or senator, go to They work for you and you pay them.  Be heard!

Franchise Social Media Summit

Franchise Social Media Summt 

I am thrilled to be speaking at Franchise Social Media Summit 2011.  As part of Social Media Week 2011, organizers Paul Segreto and Jeremy LaDuque have put together a one-day virtual conference for franchisors, franchisees, and any one involved in franchising.


Date: September 21, 2011

Time: 8am – 4pm (CT)

Place: Online and everywhere!

Here’s what you will learn at the summit:

> Why social media is different for franchising than other business models

> How to develop a social media program, including policies and procedures, specific to the franchise organization

> How to integrate new technology with traditional marketing and why you shouldn’t be afraid to do so

> Why today’s consumer and franchise candidates act differently than from years past

> How to create multiple benefits to the franchise organization through powerful brand awareness methods 

> How to generate genuine interest in franchise opportunities and why a seamless transition from virtual world to in-person is essential to closing franchise sales

> Why improving communications and information sharing at all levels of the franchise organization is necessary for stability and future growth


Summit Speakers:

Keynote: Lon Safko, author of The Social Media Bible

Jon Carlston, Vice President, Process Peak

Joe Caruso, President, Capital Area Franchise Association

BJ Emerson, VP Technology, Tasti D-Lite

Jack Monson, Vice President, Engage121, Inc.

David Murray, Social Web Communications Director, re:group

Lee Plave, Partner, Plave Koch PLC

Nick Powills, CEO, No Limit Media Consulting

Debra Vilchis, COO, Fishman Public Relations

Paul Segreto, President & CEO, franchisEssentials

Jeremy LaDuque, President & CEO, Elements, Inc.



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!

How to Increase Franchise Sales with Social Media

Social Media tools are improving marketing and sales efforts for small businesses every day. Nowhere is the impact greater than within franchise systems.
Not only are smart franchisors driving traffic into outlets’ locations and onto websites, but they are also driving recruitment of new franchisees using social media channels.
Here are two simple ways we can engage prospective franchisees: sharing our story in order to attract new interest and exploring the social web for new leads with whom we should connect.  


I. Speak and Share – Tell Your Stories

As one client recently stated, “I want potential franchisees to experience what my current franchisees are experiencing.”

Prospective franchisees are searching for information well before they pick up the phone or take your call. Be found! More blogs, Fan Pages, and other platforms populated with your content means more candidates will find your brand and your story.  Showhomes has had an amazing increasing in franchise sales this year partially due aggressive social media efforts.

In the below example, I am marketing and developing new business for the “Java121” Coffee Franchise Company. I’m using the Engage121 app to share these stories across all platforms (Facebook Fan Page, our blog, Twitter, and any other platforms I choose). As the same time, I’m cross-pollenating that same content for all of my current franchisees’ platforms as well!

I compose a bit of content and perhaps share a link to an article. Note that with Engage121’s merge fields, the content will be customized for each franchisee.  



Next I choose all or any franchisees on whose behalf this message will be sent. Also, I choose all or any platforms to which I’m posting:Done! We have just shared that content, with a link to more information about our coffee to all of my corporate brand pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts as well as all of those pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts belonging to every franchisee in the system. This message about our product, brand, and system is out there! If I had 250 franchisees, this content would have posted to over 1,000 individual sites instantly. 

Smart marketers and franchise development pro’s are not limiting these stories to only focus on products and services. They are sharing the success stories about franchisees’ booming businesses to attract candidates who wish to be a part of that opportunity.  

II. Explore and Find New Connections

You must seek out discussions held by potential candidates. This is something impossible to do just a couple of years ago! Using Engage121, I am searching not only Twitter, but also virtually all social media platforms, hundreds of thousands of blogs and traditional media (newspapers, TV, magazine, etc.). 

I ran a quick search of the phrase “start my own business” and found 34 people tweeting that phrase just the past 24 hours! These are leads I need to engage! Note, you may also filter your results by state, county, or city for targeted exploration. I can engage this person in conversation immediately. Introduce yourself and start the conversation!  

I can “tag” anyone if find, so here I’m tagging someone as “candidate”. This is useful for keeping up with large groups of individuals and listening to what they’re saying later on.


Also note that any leads from traditional sources that you’re managing via a CRM system or other means should be imported into this application so you can listen to and engage via their social media hot spots as well!