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Maximizing Franchise Growth Through Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, X, LinkedIn and Instagram can provide franchise owners with the power to expand their reach and build trust with their customers.

By Chris IrbyCopy Editor
8:08AM 06/21/24

In the rapidly evolving landscape of business, social media has emerged as a game-changer for franchises seeking to expand their reach and drive growth. With billions of users actively engaging on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn, the potential for franchises to connect with their target audience and foster meaningful relationships has never been greater. 

1851 Franchise spoke with Susie Liberatore, CEO of Visions2Image and Franchise Clarity, and Stephanie Studer, social media marketing director for Argent Media and creator of the Storytelling for Success blog, to explore how franchise owners can leverage social media to effectively maximize growth and success.

Understanding Your Audience

The foundation of any successful social media strategy lies in understanding the target audience. Franchises must conduct thorough research to identify the demographics, interests and behaviors of their ideal customers. By gaining insights into their audience's preferences, franchise owners can tailor their content and messaging to resonate with their followers. 

“It depends on where you are and what stage you’re at,” Liberatore said. “If you’re new, it’s probably going to be a bit harder [to figure out your audience], but if you’re established, you can just look and see based on reports and data who your ideal audience is based on — their demographics, such as location, age, industry, income bracket … You really want to know the specifics of your target audience; otherwise, you can’t really have effective marketing in all areas.”

Whether creating visually appealing posts for a younger demographic on Instagram or sharing industry insights on LinkedIn to engage with professionals, understanding the audience is vital for success.

Consistency Is Key

Consistency is essential for maintaining a strong presence on social media. Franchise owners must establish a regular posting schedule to keep their brand top-of-mind and keep their audience engaged. This can mean sharing updates about products and services, promoting special offers or sharing customer testimonials. 

“Consistency is key most of the time because you’ve got to keep posting. You have to keep doing all of the things,” said Liberatore. “It’s very hard to show up online these days, especially if you’re not doing paid advertising, so having that consistency of posting and of getting out the right content — all of those pieces — is very important.”

“Of course, the challenge with consistent posting is to be consistently useful,” Studer added. “Posting just to post isn’t a strategy at all. You should use your research to create a social media calendar that focuses on things your target audience will find either helpful or entertaining.”

A steady stream of content not only demonstrates reliability and professionalism but helps build brand recognition and trust.

Leveraging Paid Social

While organic reach on social media is valuable, paid social advertising can significantly amplify a franchise's visibility and reach. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn offer robust advertising tools that allow franchises to target specific demographics, interests and behaviors with precision. Paid advertising is especially effective for promoting a new product launch or driving traffic to a franchise’s website. 

“You have to know what your end goal is to really be efficient, because there are so many ways and you don’t want to just boost an ad,” said Liberatore. “Do you want [your users] to fill out a lead capture form? Do you want them to send you a message? Do you want them to call you? Do you just want brand awareness? It’s important to know your goal and then work backwards from there.”

By investing in targeted advertising campaigns, franchise owners can allocate their marketing budget more efficiently to maximize their return on investment. 

Data-Driven Optimization

Social media analytics provide invaluable insights into the effectiveness of a franchise's current online marketing efforts. By keeping a close eye on engagement, click-through and conversion rates, franchise owners can gain a deeper understanding of their audience's behavior and preferences. 

Liberatore recommends using analytics to determine which types of content are performing well so you can take full advantage of it. “You have to do it strategically,” she said. “If you look at the data and see that personal posts and story posts are [getting more engagement], then see how you can reuse it and recycle it going into the next month.”

This data-driven approach gives franchises an opportunity to make refinements to their social media strategies to guarantee that they’re driving growth and profitability.

Engaging with Customers

One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it encourages direct communication between brands and their customers. Franchises can use social media platforms to respond promptly to customer questions and complaints or gather feedback on products and services. Engaging actively and regularly on social media helps a franchise build trust and improve customer satisfaction. In addition, positive interactions on social media can lead to invaluable word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations.

“If you’re going to handle customer complaints on your social media accounts, you need to make sure someone is monitoring them,” said Studer. “That way, you can solve problems before they grow. We’re a 24/7 world now, and your customers expect you to be reachable. If you can turn an online complaint around, you’ve not only solved a problem, you’ve shown your customers that you’re committed to their happiness.”

In a way, social media engagement is like dating. If all you do is talk about yourself and how awesome you are, you’re not going to get a second date. You need to talk to your customers, ask their opinions and address their pain points.

“Asking questions is a good way of getting people to engage. Not every post has to have a call-to-action,” Liberatore explained. “If you’re doing a Motivation Monday, just keep it about Motivation Monday. Post content that doesn’t bombard them in the face, and then ask them a question: ‘What is your biggest struggle with XYZ?’ or ‘Have you ever thought about new carpeting?’ Little things like that can help you get engagement.”

By understanding their audience, posting consistently and engaging with customers, franchise owners can build brand awareness and drive growth. If paid social ads and data-driven optimization are added to the mix, these same franchise owners can unlock the full potential of their social media marketing efforts. Embracing social media as a marketing tool isn’t just advantageous — it’s necessary for a franchise’s long-term success and sustainability. 

For more information on using social media to grow franchises, check out these related articles on 1851 Franchise: