Below is an excerpt from a recent interview by USA Today with Facebook’s Director of Local, Emily White. I thought you might be interested in reading the same as it addresses some of the same questions many within franchising continue to ask…
Q: Let’s start off by talking “Likes.” There is such an emphasis now by companies on getting customers to “like” them, by clicking the “Like” tab on Facebook. Why are likes such a big deal?
A: A “like” is an endorsement, a lightweight action that allows a user to say “I like what you’re doing in this area; I like your product; I like your photo; and I want to put in a vote for you.”
It’s a way for your customer to say, “I like this business, and I’m going to tell everyone about it.”
Q: Competition for “likes” has gotten so heated that many companies are actually offering to sell “likes,” by paying folks to hit the “like” button over and over again. How does Facebook feel about that?
A: We’re not fans. They’re disingenuous and don’t mean anything. If that page is publishing to an individual’s profile, they’ll start marking it as spam. You want a genuine “like.” You want someone to “like” your business because they really do.
Q: How often should businesses post to their customers? Hourly? Daily? Weekly?
A: “The general rule is, you’re in pretty good shape if you’re posting three times a week. That gets you to a pretty sweet spot. Any more would be just too much.
Q: Many businesses offer special discounts for Facebook members, free items if you mention the Facebook post and the “like.” What’s the best-performing offer?
A: It’s all about authentic content. The great thing about Facebook is you can try something and see how it works with your customers. Ask them, and see the response.
Q: Facebook recently introduced “Deals,” a Groupon/LivingSocial type offer for Facebook customers. How can local businesses participate? What’s the advantage of using Deals instead of, say, just buying ads on Facebook?
A: Local businesses in the five cities we’re testing Deals in (Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Francisco and San Diego) can sign up at http://Facebook.com/deals/business. Since Deals really focused on things you can share with your friends, Deals is great for local businesses because it can help bring in qualified customers. When businesses run Deals on Facebook, we also help them run ads directing to their Deals. Deals are intended to drive customers specifically into the store. The purpose of Deals and ads is different, but we think they’re complementary.
Q. What about Places? That’s another new Facebook feature, allowing customers to “check in” and tell their friends. How can businesses work with Facebook Places?
A: A few months ago, we made it easier for businesses with a physical location to merge their Page with their Place. This allows people to run Check-in deals for their Page. We started testing this in November. Check-in Deals is a free product that helps businesses reward their customers for checking into their stores.
Q: Many small businesses are concerned about taking on another project — social networking. Why should they take the time?
A: The Web is changing from an information Web to a social Web. The way people are interacting with online materials is really starting to mimic what they’re doing offline. . A small business not on Facebook is missing a ton of opportunity. People are probably already talking about them, but all the positive things they’re saying are going off into the ether — and not getting shared broadly. Your page becomes a living, breathing representation of your business.
Spread the word
“There’s this idea that if you have a Facebook page, people will come,” says Krug. “No — you’ve got to do things to get people there.”
She says that just having a Facebook page isn’t enough — the social network has to be combined with your website, Twitter and e-mail marketing. All three should mention the Facebook page in an integrated way. “This takes a serious time commitment, but it will pay off.”
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Originally posted by Lauren Drell, Assistant Editor of Supported Content for Mashable
The following is a discussion on a blog by Michelle Bonat originally posted in late 2008 but still very relevant today. Michelle discusses taking small steps towards integrating Social Media Marketing with classic (traditional) marketing programs.
Babysteps…How to integrate social media with traditional marketing programs
Social media marketing is most effective when it is an integrated part of your overall marketing efforts. But how do you jump into social media when you already have some really effective classic marketing programs in play? Here are a few ways you can babystep into the world of social media by leveraging the good stuff you already have.
1) Maintain a single consistent marketing strategy through classic and social media marketing.
Your goals, objectives and messages should be consistent across all of your marketing. Sounds simple, but unless you define and enforce this it won’t happen.
The good news here is that you don’t have to re-figure this all out just for social media. It’s really just taking your existing marketing platform and extending it.
2) Extend your reach – Reach out to your influencers in ways that they like to communicate.
Use your existing marketing knowledge about who influences your product’s purchasing decisions, and use social media tools to create a discussion with them where they hang out.
Some specific examples: Are your influencers kids? Get on the social networks catering to the younger set. IT buyers? Figure out which bloggers are influencing this community. Mobile sales professionals? Deliver content in a mobile enabled way, such as Twitter.
3) Invite your customers into the process.
While you are planning your next product, refining your messaging, or even launching a marketing campaign, figure out a way to get your customers involved whenever possible as early as possible. When you do this they feel that they have been heard, feel more engaged and valued, which results in a tighter connection with your company and product. It also gives you the benefit of upfront input. A product that people actually want? Described in a manner that speaks to them? Wonderful!
A good way to on-ramp this customer involvement include online communities (public or private, even a public group on an existing social network). You can even ask them to deliver their thoughts in video form by way of a contest – “describe what our product means to you”.
4) Turn an online forum into a social media hub.
Make people feel more at home by adding profile information and allowing the posting of pictures (or pointers to a picture posting service like Flickr).
Recognize that you have to give to get. Start a genuine conversation with your audience by having company employees contribute to the forums in their own words. For example, instead of just asking for feature enhancements suggestions, tell them what direction you are headed and, if possible, the timing for these enhancements (without giving away too much info). Then ask them their opinion.
Try these few tips to help ease into a social media program that leverages your existing marketing – and you will soon be on your way!
“How important is social media to my business?” is a question I hear repeatedly. Especially, as franchisees attempt to juggle or put off their online efforts, thinking and believing social media may fall by the wayside. Well, as the article below confirms, social media will not only stay front and center, it will continue to grow as more and more small businesses are finding social media a key component for business growth.
Increased use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Small businesses are continuing to increase their use of social media marketing, and now nearly half are using it to find new customers, according to one survey.
The spring 2011 edition of the American Express OPEN “Small Business Monitor” found the use of social media for marketing was up over previous years. More than a third (35%) of US small businesses reported using online social networking for marketing, up from 15% in fall 2009. In addition, 12% of respondents were using blogs as a social tactic, nearly double the figure from fall 2009.
The leading reason for using social media, according to the September 2010 edition of the survey, was to increase the exposure of the business, and American Express OPEN found that more small businesses were turning to social media for customer acquisition. By spring 2011, 44% were using social media to help their businesses, up from 39% in September 2010. They were focusing on the top social networking sites for those efforts.
As I often do on the weekends, I was searching through my personal library seeking out a book or two that might provide me some inspiration for an article or report, and this weekend, I came across a business book that was published back in 1979. The book, “Free Yourself in a Business of Your Own” by Byron Lane, caught my eye for reasons I cannot really explain. Obviously, I’ve had it in my possession for many years, yet, never opened it again since I purchased it for $1.29 at Target. It must have been a clearance book as the cover price was $5.95. Anyway, I can’t even recall seeing it when I routinely search through my library. It’s like it suddenly jumped out front and center and said, “Hey, look here!”
Well, I decided to look through the book because the back cover stated, “This book is about freedom. Freedom from an 8 to 5 regimen. Freedom from dehumanizing democracies. Freedom from job boredom. Freedom from the lock-step culture. Freedom to do your work your way.” Hmmm… not much seems to have changed although lock-step culture is not one I’ve heard of before.
Right away, my thoughts turned to franchising and I began to think about what franchising was like back in 1979. Fortunately, I didn’t have to think very hard, as to my surprise, was a chapter on franchising! It’s placement was to present franchising strictly as an alternative to other forms of business ownership, and in a book with 174 pages, the franchising chapter comprised all of 3 pages. Yes, 3 pages!
Within these pages were a series of bullet points that I found very interesting and it made me wonder how much franchising had actually changed since 1979, and if the changes have improved franchising today. Read the bullet points below and you be the judge.
- While there are no federal laws governing franchising, most states have franchise laws. Get a copy of the law in your state and read it for degree of stringency and coverage. If it is a tough law and a franchising company qualifies to do business in your state, you have one measure of security.
- Don’t believe that acceptance of you by a franchiser means they have evaluated your ability to get the job done. Some franchisers would select a corpse if rigor mortis had not set in and if it clutched in its hand a certified check for the amount of the franchise fee. Do your own introspection and decide if you can handle the franchise.
- Do not deal with profit projections or average profits. Insist on actual financial statements from a cross-section of franchisees. Then, evaluate your expected return on investment.
- Get the financial statement of the parent company and evaluate its ability to provide the services it promises.
- Read the franchise contract. It should be simple, frank, and fair, with complete disclosure, not an instrument of repression. After you think it through with your head, listen to your gut and determine if the contract fits you.
- Finally, and perhaps most important of all, is evaluation of the franchiser’s management team. You should do this from two aspects – their management ability and their humanness. If the management does not measure up to good corporate standards, you will not get the profits you seek. You may turn out okay, but they can bring you down.
Well, it’s no wonder that many individuals had a distaste for franchising. I cringed at some of the statements implying unfairness and deceit, along with an apparent free-wheeling approach to franchising. On the other hand, some of the advice was sound and still applies today.
It’s obvious franchising has changed, and for the better. But, are some of the negatives that’s were stated (or implied) above, still actually cause for concern within franchise organizations today?
I wonder what future generations will think about franchising when they discover some of today’s book and articles on the subject?
Yes, you be the judge…
*By the way, the author is listed as having several advanced degrees in business and psychology, and was a professor at a leading California university. He is also credited with developing several successful companies including a multi-million dollar franchising chain!
Note: originally posted on this site 12/10.
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