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Q&A with Raintree CEO Brent Dowling on How Franchise Development Teams Should Be Assessing the Effectiveness of Their Social Sales Footprint

From tracking your business’s awareness metrics and cost-per-leads to focusing on conversion strategies, Dowling shares his expert insight on how to ensure your social selling strategy is productive and successful.

By Taylor Karg1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 10:10AM 02/14/20

Social media platforms have taken the consumer world by storm. In fact, according to a blog post from Hootsuite, digital consumers spend almost 2.5 hours on social networks and social messaging sites every day, and 69% of U.S. adults use at least one social media site. With metrics like these to work with, it only makes sense for businesses to hop on the social media bandwagon if they want to significantly expand their reach and customer base—and many businesses have. Hootsuite also reported that 90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness. 

However, using social media platforms to increase brand awareness is easier said than done. According to the blog post, only 34% of brands who advertise on social media measure their ROI from social. This stat speaks to the challenges faced by brands who spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on social sales and need to constantly assess the effectiveness of their campaigns. 1851 Franchise recently caught up with Brent Dowling, CEO and founder of expert franchise development consultancy Raintree, to learn more about what metrics brands should be looking at in order to ensure their social media strategy is effective.

1851: What metrics should brands be looking at on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to understand the effectiveness of their efforts?

Dowling: If you’re actively buying ads, the No. 1 metric is Cost-Per-Deal. On those three channels [Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn], this could range from anywhere between $3,000 to $15,000, with the main variable being the initial investment of the franchise. But along the way, we believe it is critical to track awareness metrics, cost-per-lead, cost-per-qualified application, cost per Discovery Day, to name just a few of the more important metrics. 

You will also want to make sure you have an aggressive A/B testing program in place for all social ads. For some of our brands at Raintree, for example, we have up to 25 ads running concurrently that test the impact of certain photos or different verbiage against each other. Facebook’s analytics are as powerful as they are wonderful, so it usually only takes 30 days to figure out exactly what image and verbiage best sell your franchise.

1851: How soon should brands pivot on a strategy if it's not generating returns?

Dowling: As a general rule of thumb, 90 days for all digital channels. But brands with a higher monthly spend can generate enough data in as little as 30 days to understand the true effectiveness of a given strategy or campaign. 

1851: What are some of the most successful strategy blends you've seen work for brands?

Dowling: I could give you a days-long response to this question, which it deserves, but in short form, with Jamba Juice, we spent a great deal of time creating video to highlight franchise owners’ stories. Careful injection of these into Facebook and Instagram resulted in an increase from three deals awarded the year before beginning to work with Raintree to 100 awarded in Year 1 with us.

1851: If you were keynoting a conference, what is the most important lesson you'd teach franchisors on social sales strategy?

Dowling: The lead conversion requires more focus than the lead generation. Most brands focus almost entirely on generating leads, with little to no effort on conversion strategies. This means, what do you do once you get a lead. Call once or twice and let 5 drip emails go out from your CRM [customer relationship management software]? In this instance, you are almost certainly underperforming. From an infrastructure standpoint, Raintree spends 150% more on conversion staff (lead qualifiers, development managers) than we do on lead generation staff (marketing managers, copywriters). In our opinion, lead conversion is where digital deals are truly won.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.