Among the dozens of sessions full of useful information for franchisors, franchisees and suppliers in attendance at the IFA convention in Las Vegas, there was standing room only in a session about social media and finding the “secret sauce” to make it most effective for brands.
It’s clear that there is high demand to know more about how to use social media in a way that not only entertains audiences in our personal lives (memes, embarrassing throwback photos, etc.), but more importantly for business.
Jack Monson, the director of digital strategy at Qiigo, introduced the panel by explaining that we live in a “storytelling era,” and as technology advances and everyone has anytime access to more content than can be processed, it is important to stand out as a brand.
According to data provided by Qiigo, from 2015 to 2016, web pages with franchise systems’ content have increased 178%. That massive increase is due to franchise brands recognizing the necessity of using web pages, specifically social media channels to increase awareness of their stories.
Throughout the session, three franchisors shared stories about their brands and how they started. Between a fast-casual restaurant concept, a home inspection franchise and a massage brand, what was the commonality between all of their stories?
Whether it’s the story of the founder of the brand or a current franchisee, people stories are the way to turn “just another franchise” into a brand that people want to buy into, either as a consumer or franchisee prospect.
While the group in the session agreed that it is getting easier and cheaper to target the right audience through social media, there was a lot of discussion about when to use which social media channels for different kinds of content. Ali Rauch, Director of Marketing for Chicken Salad Chick talked about the use of paid Snapchat filters for grand openings as a growing trend. In contrast, Kathleen Kuhn, President of HouseMaster, discussed how LinkedIn may be a more effective channel for their consumer base.
The panelists also gave tips for success to connect a system of franchisees to stay on message and maintain a consistent brand voice. They discussed guidelines for content creation and consistent posting, while mastering the art of increasing brand awareness without getting lost in the clutter of a newsfeed.
Monson noted that the most effective social media posts are the story-focused posts that make consumers want to share the content with their friends and family, organically extending the audience of the message.
The panelists closed with advice for the audience to take into account in 2017. It all boiled down to people stories. A brand is only as good as the people behind it and social media presents a platform for sharing your brand biography.