Building the “Perfect” Social Media Plan: What Franchisors Need to Know
Building the “Perfect” Social Media Plan: What Franchisors Need to Know

By creating innovative content for each individual digital platform, tracking analytics and adapting to industry trends, brands are able to attract the attention—and business—of more consumers.

There’s a lot more to social media than simply scrolling through Twitter timelines and watching the latest Facebook Live video. When it comes to reaching the consumers who are driving businesses forward—or potentially preventing their growth—it’s essential for brands to have a strong social media strategy in place.

The first step to creating a successful social media plan is recognizing that there isn’t a cookie cutter model that fits every brand and digital platform. Each major social media network, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, taps into a different group of consumers. The content that’s posted to each one determines a brand’s ability to grow, engage users and ultimately drive purchases.

“Social media platforms give consumers the opportunity to connect with brands in a way that’s never been done before. Customers aren’t passively viewing information—they’re responding to it,” said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president of communications and marketing for the International Franchise Association. “By creating a compelling story and building a digital presence to the point where consumers come back to it time and time again, brands are able to cultivate customer loyalty.”

That storytelling ability is what ultimately opens up the doors for brands to grow their businesses and boost their bottom lines. It’s an essential part of a perfect social media plan—brands’ digital platforms need to be seen as a source of information for consumers. Once that relationship is established, it’s up to companies to track how their posts are performing.

Analytics are a crucial in achieving success on social media. Performance indicators are the best way for brands to determine what’s working and what isn’t. But that information can’t be collected and left alone—Ryan Paul, vice president of digital at No Limit Agency, says that feedback needs to be used to make changes.

“Social media is unique in that it allows agencies to test out different brand voices. If one strategy is performing better than another, it becomes the obvious choice for future posts,” said Paul. “It’s also crucial for brands to have different voices depending on the network and audience they’re targeting. Don’t make the mistake of building one general, overall strategy and applying it to every social media channel.”

Brands need to be willing to change their social media strategies and plans. The industry evolves rapidly—there are new platforms being launched every day. That means brands are responsible for staying up to date with the latest consumer trends, and constantly updating the approach running their daily digital operations.

“Social media initiatives and campaigns allow brands to pivot quickly and adjust based on what data tells you. There are so many low cost tools out there that companies can experiment with—the limitations that come with spending big bucks on TV ads that might flop aren’t as prevalent in the industry today,” said Harrison. “At the end of the day, the most important thing is for brands to continuously create innovative content that tells a story not just about a product, but about the brand itself.”