Tag Archives: International Franchise Association

5 Tips for Networking After a Conference

27 Nov

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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

25 Sep

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

5 Sep

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!

 

 

What Teachers in Vegas Taught Me About Leadership

8 Feb

franchising gives back

 

Last week members of the International Franchise Association went to Richard J. Rundle Elementary School in Las Vegas for a day of painting, landscaping, and building. The Franchising Gives Back event is an annual day of service when IFA members help communities in the host city of their annual convention.

While our group has worked alongside many terrific organizations in many cities across the USA, we had never been taught lessons in leadership by teachers and students.

Here are a few ways the leaders from Rundle Elementary inspired us to share in their vision:

 

1. Make Others Feel Appreciated

As we approached the school, it was clear that a large crowd was waiting in front of the building. The cynic in me hoped we weren’t being picketed or protested. When the bus doors opened, I heard the applause. Over 100 students, parents, and teachers cheered as we exited the bus and made us feel like the Beatles touching down in America.

Paul Pickett of Wild Birds Unlimited has participated in the event for several years, but said, “being greeted by the teachers, students, and families at Richard J. Rundle Elementary School is a memory that I will never forget!”

I was a first-timer this year and had been unsure what the whole day was going to be like. But the warm welcome made me want to get to work.

franchising gives back

 

2. Share the Story and the Vision

Had we arrived to an empty school, we would have still done a sufficient amount of painting, planting, and building. But the school’s leaders told us about the school’s challenges, history, and even about the heroic child for whom the school was named. We became invested in the outcome.

Just as we were leaving at the end of the afternoon, I noticed part of a wall that needed one more coat of paint and went back to do it right. Without being engaged in the school’s story and needs, I would have ignored it. A little story telling gets a great deal of buy-in from your troops!

franchising gives back

 

3. Give Credit to Others While You Roll Up Your Own Sleeves

The school leaders made us feel like what we were doing was a single effort that made all the difference in the world.  But we were there for only one Saturday afternoon. Though we completed many projects, our efforts were nothing compared to the daily improvements the school’s staff and students are constantly doing.

And while we received all the credit, there were many parents who joined in as well. Desirae Franco of The Dwyer Group told me, “My favorite part was working with a father and son to help paint their team logo on the wall. The boy was so excited and it was contagious!”

Emphasizing – and perhaps over-emphasizing – our contribution made us take ownership of the improvements.

franchising gives back

 

4. Set Up Your Partners to Succeed

The projects were laid-out in a dummy-proof manner, so even a bunch of CEOs, marketing people, and sales people could dive in and make a dent. The instructions were clear and the tools were ready!

Having a project well-organized is critical when dealing with a group of non-specialists. Without specifics on how many people were needed on each task and directions on where to start, confusion would have derailed us early in the day.

 

5. A Hand-Written Note

In a world of email blasts and texts, I’m a big fan of standing out via the old style hand-written note. The students of Rundle Elementary wrote enough illustrated thank you notes for each of us and handed them to us as we boarded the bus to head back to our convention.

Deb Evans of Social Geek Radio and Deb Evans Consulting said, “We know we make a difference each year, but this year we were thanked with cheers, hugs, and handwritten notes!”

I received a lot of free giveaways and tchotchkes at the IFA Convention this year, but a student’s note was the thing I kept!

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What Happens In Vegas Stays On Facebook

25 Jan

#IFA2017 #qiiwords

 

A major theme for the International Franchise Association’s 2017 Convention is “Telling Your Franchise Story.”

I’ve been advocating and promoting ways to use social media at the IFA Convention each year since 2009. So, I am very excited about amount of content and programming dedicated to story-telling this year!

Here are five places where you can learn how other brands are telling their stories digitally during or before The IFA Convention:

1. Roundtable Discussion: “Digital Marketing for Franchise Development”

Monday, January 30, 9am
South Pacific Ballroom E – Mandalay Bay
(as part of the Digital Marketing and Tech Summit)

There are lots of great roundtables this year. If you’re interested in sharing your experiences and hearing some best practices from others, please join my table!

 

2. Panel: “Social Media: Today’s Secret Sauce for Telling Your Franchise Story”

Monday, January 30, 2:45 pm
Tradewinds E & F – Mandalay Bay

I am thrilled to be moderating this panel of marketing executives called “Social Media: Today’s Secret Sauce for Telling Your Franchise Story”

Here is IFA’s description:

Great brands rely on stories to define their brands. With the expansion of social media and consumers “24/7 mentality,” today’s brand journey must begin, build and extend onto social media. Whether you are looking to inspire, motivate or excite your customers and community, social media continues to play a key role. This session will include franchisors and franchisees who understand how to use this “secret sauce” effectively. We will also share how to use social media to tell the positive story of franchising because in today’s rapidly-moving market, we cannot simply raise awareness about our own brands, we need to seize the opportunity to educate consumers wherever and whenever we can about what franchising is and all the great contributions our businesses make. Come prepared to take away practical and tactical ideas from marketing pros that will make a real difference for your business.

Moderator: Jack Monson, Director of Digital Strategy, Qiigo

Alice O’Donnell, Vice President of Marketing, Massage Heights

Kathleen Kuhn, President, HouseMaster Home Inspection Services

Ali Rauch, Marketing Director, Chicken Salad Chick

 

3. Podcast: “Telling Your Franchise Story”

On last week’s episode of Social Geek Radio, we previewed the above session with panelist Ali Rauch of Chicken Salad Chick. Ali gave us the background on her brand’s “Every Chick Has a Story” social media marketing campaign.

http://socialgeekradio.com/2017/01/18/todays-secret-sauce-for-telling-your-franchise-story/

 

4. Podcast: “What’s Trending in Franchise Development”

This week on Social Geek Radio, we were joined by our good friend, Thomas Scott, for a preview of his IFA panel. Thomas shares ideas on how to tell your story and position your website to meet the needs of today’s franchise buyers.

http://socialgeekradio.com/2017/01/25/whats-trending-in-franchise-development/

 

5. Qiigo’s Contest: “What Happens in Vegas Stays on Facebook!”

My team at Qiigo is looking to have some fun sharing our cool new selfie sticks and giving away some cash and an Apple Watch! All you have to do is:

  • Grab a selfie stick at Qiigo’s booth and take a selfie
  • Post it on social media and tag it with #QiiWords
  • You’re automatically entered to win!

We’ll see you in the exhibit hall!

Qiigo #qiiqowords

 

Reaching Franchise Candidates on LinkedIn

1 Nov

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!

 

 

 

Social Media Marketing: Beyond the Basics

3 Oct

IFA Women's Franchise Network

 

Chicago! Social Media! Franchising! 

If you’re a marketing pro in Chicago, join us October 13 for an evening of discussion about building social media marketing campaigns for global brands and local customers.

I’m pleased to be on this panel with some top level local talent including:

 

Thursday, October 13
5:30 – 7:30 PM

No Limit Agency
1 Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph
Suite 1950
Chicago

Register Now!
Cost: $20

Thanks to Cheng Cohen and The International Franchise Association for organizing this event which is sponsored by No Limit Agency!

No Limit Agecny

 

Social Media Marketing for Franchises Best Practices

27 Jun

SEFFLogoIFA logo

I’m excited about speaking at the Southeast Franchise Forum / IFA Franchise Business Network July 12 in Atlanta. We will be discussing best practices in Social Media Marketing specifically for Franchises.

I’ve been working with franchise systems to help their consumer and franchise development using social media for about as long as social been around. But tactics that worked in the “old days” of 4 or 5 years ago may not cut it this year or next. We’ll explore:

Yesterday v. Tomorrow

National v. Local

Paid v. Earned

What are we doing v. what should we be doing?

 

If you’re near Atlanta, please join us! Save your seat today and I’ll look forward to chatting with you.

 

qiigo-logo-320x132

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)

 

 

 

Small Businesses, Mega-Brands, and Hope.

15 Sep

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Defending Small Businesses on Capitol Hill

This month will end with members of the International Franchise Association once again gathering in Washington DC and meeting with legislators. We will discuss several issues affecting all franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers as well as lobby for less regulatory impediments as usual.

The key issue this year will be the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to completely ignore the basis of the franchise business model. The NLRB recently ruled that some businesses are now responsible for the employment actions of other businesses.

Unless you’re blissfully ignorant or work for a service union, you will agree that employees of a locally owned business are NOT actually employed by a corporation that had nothing to do with hiring those employees. (Without setting foot on Capitol Hill, I can tell you right now how the two senators from my home state of Illinois will respond.)

If the work of the IFA in past years is any indication, the IFA members and the IFA team will do a fantastic job of communicating the needs for running a business, growing that business, creating jobs, and ultimately growing the economy.

Mega-Brands and “Hope”

But how much of this effort pays off for those who do most of the heavy lifting – small to medium sized franchise systems – versus the huge brands? Will McDonalds and the other mega-sized franchises join this fight? If we’re successful, these large brands have the most to gain. Will they support this activity and join us on Capitol Hill? I hope so.

A great deal of pro-business promotion, communication, and lobbying is done by franchise industry suppliers. Are the mega-brands supporting these suppliers? I hope so.

When they select a PR firm, software vendor, ad agency, insurance provider, or other business service, do they ask if that supplier supports franchising and the IFA? I hope so.

Continuing to educate legislators and voters about how businesses operate is important for the IFA this year. Perhaps in 2016, we can also educate some large brands about how businesses operate.

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