Social media can be a powerful marketing tool. It allows franchisors to connect with a wide audience and promote the brand on a more personalized level. In fact, a report from the Pew Research Center found that 74 percent of online adults are using social networking sites—that’s a lot of people to reach. The only problem is, sometimes brands may not know how to use social media to its full potential.
When a franchise brand looks at social media marketing, they may assume that the same promotional tactics apply across all platforms, but that is not necessarily the case. Ryan Paul, vice president of digital for No Limit Agency, said that each social media channel has to be specifically customized.
“Too often, brands think that social media is one thing. They think if they make a plan on Facebook, it will work on Twitter, Instagram and other networks, but that is not true,” Paul said. “The better thing to do is develop channel specific strategies. Brands should cater each ad campaign to what the ultimate use of a social media channel is designed for. The message might be similar, but it has to be done in a different way.”
For instance, Facebook is generally used as a site to connect with others, so a brand may run a contest promotion in order to start a conversation with its customers. And for sites like Twitter, which is a real time update site, a brand may be more inclined to promote a special, more time-sensitive product.
Once a brand has mastered their understanding of each social media channel, it’ll be easier to use these tools to their full capabilities. Promotions can be launched and profiles can be created for each franchise location, but that’s just the beginning. According to AdWeek, some companies may neglect the core reason behind this type of marketing: “being social.”
“Folks on social media expect responsiveness from companies, and want to feel they are dealing with real people and not corporate robots,” AdWeek reported. “You do not have to reply to every comment, but responding to them builds trust and camaraderie between you and your consumers.”
For franchisors, if they build a healthy rapport with their customers and listen to what they want or don’t want, they can better adapt to consumer trends and stay relevant. But there’s still a fine line when talking with social media followers that shouldn’t be crossed—don’t overshare.
AdWeek says that a common social media misstep is posting too much in a short amount of time. Oversharing could frustrate followers and cause them to unfollow you. That same principle applies to hashtags, too. Many brands have used irrelevant and excessive hashtags to get a point across and saw little success. The goal is to share and use hashtags regularly and consistently. One such brand that has seen success with a clever hashtag is Checker & Rally’s. The quick service restaurant brand had a successful social media campaign promoting a classic menu item—hot dogs—with its #WienerWars promotion. The social media campaign paid off, and the brand averaged 23,861 daily hot dog sales system-wide since the promo started—an increase from the previous average of 11,109 before #WienerWars started.
The most important thing to keep in mind about social media is that brands are supposed to share their personality by responding to followers, addressing concerns they bring to the table and getting your customers involved. It will make them feel like they are part of your brand, and that sentiment can go a long way.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Mama_Mia