Certainly, return-on-investment (ROI) is important but too many miss the boat by trying to make social media a line-item on their financials. First, social media is not advertising. So to think there will be a definitive ROI based entirely upon revenue generated against dollars invested is absolutely off-base.
One needs to look at social media as the glue that can hold several key functions of the business together such as bringing the customer experience to marketing complete with sharing operations role in making the experience positively memorable, and letting the end-user know about its objectives. Complicated? No, but not without proper planning and a long-term vision. Further, social media is vehicle that transports information from one function to another – it’s a conduit.
Social media is the communications tool that should lend itself to truth, trust and transparency in establishing or strengthening the business relationship. Last, social media is the tool that enables a brand or business to earn the right to “ask” for business from customers, clients and investors alike as it provides the platform for them to virtually see how your business operates, how it communicates and how it is perceived. The key here is in establishing community. The necessary steps are relatively simple to follow… Share, Interact, Engage and then, only then have you earned the right for a Call-to-Action. Yes, that’s when the right has been earned.
It does take training for social media to be utilized effectively at any level. But even more so at the local level as franchisees typically cannot afford the luxury of adding human resources to handle their social media. So, training and guidance is paramount. As is open communication and interaction between franchisor and franchisee in managing and monitoring social media. Yes, working together with common goals and objectives, as should always be the case in the franchise relationship. This is just another component of what I believe should be the everyday goal of working towards a truly interdependent relationship. The same should be said about all relationships in a business [and franchise] environment – franchisor/franchisee, employer/employee, business/customer, etc… Yes, it should be the norm, and not the exception.
This is the final post in a week-long recap of my 2012 interview with Renee Bailey of Franchise Direct. The title of the post in Franchise Direct was “Marketing, Media and Franchising – An Interview with Paul Segreto”. The full interview may be read HERE. But if you’ve been reading along this week, the following represents my final answer along with some parting advice for prospective franchisees.
In August of 2011, HubSpot explored why every franchisee needs their own website (story link: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/bid/22027/). Does this relate to your philosophy that individual brands enhance the overall franchise system?
Yes. I don’t think that it can be argued that a franchise organization with franchisees with strong personal branding wouldn’t be significantly stronger than a system with franchisees that just stand behind the counter.
Now, I’m not degrading the efforts of franchisees that strive for 100% customer satisfaction and are willing to put in long hours to ensure the same. But with a strong personal brand that reaches into the local community, franchisees would be more successful driving the business. I refer to this as “GOYA marketing” – Get Off Your Ass marketing. Here’s the great part of GOYA marketing… in today’s digital world, much of the personal branding can be done online!
Are there any additional insights you would like to share with prospective franchisees?
It doesn’t matter what your level of investment, or visibility and strength of the brand, the key to your success is YOU! Yes, I am a firm believer in location, location, location, and I always stress not to fall so in love with a brand that you accept a secondary location because that is a recipe for failure. But as important is for me to stress: You, you, you.
Until next time, this is Paul Segreto, wishing you the best, the very best, in this great thing we call franchising!
This is third post of this week based upon my recent interview with Renee Bailey at Franchise Direct. In this part of the interview our focus turned to what many within franchising look for day in and day out… the silver bullet to increase franchise sales. When social media became more and more popular, many franchisors wanted to use social media to attract franchise candidates. Many thought, incorrectly that social media was a form of advertising. My response to the first question below sheds a different light on social media in the franchise sales process.
In the second question the focus was media’s affect on the franchise relationship. My answer was short, but to the point.
Finally, in the last question below we discussed a new trend in media – Social Mobile Local or SoMoLo.
How are franchisors utilizing social media to connect with prospective franchisees throughout the prospecting process?
Great question because many are not connecting with prospective franchisees. Social media is not the silver bullet many want and expect to make the sales process easier, or even to generate leads on its own.
Instead, social media for franchise development should be looked at as a vital complementing component in the traditional lead generation process. That means it should provide a support mechanism that candidates can be directed to and that candidates can find on their own in their own due diligence. Today’s candidates are also more diligent and cautious than ever before. Social media allows them to virtually stand next to a brand and experience how that brand interacts with its customers, franchisees, etc.
All that being said, social media can be utilized in the franchise development process as a way to drive candidates to a specific event like a webinar, where the concept can be explained in detail. The key here is that one-size-fits-all strategies with social media do not work effectively.
One more thing: it’s critical to ask questions at the onset of utilizing social media related to expectations and desired results. This is crucial in evaluating whether or not the program worked. As important as click-thru’s, insights, impressions, etc. are in analyzing the process and program itself, looking at desired results against actual results is really the true Social Media P&L.
Have new media options available altered the franchisor-franchisee relationship?
Of course, but they don’t need to. New media is all about truth, trust and transparency. Really, isn’t that what the franchise relationship should be built upon?
New media is a wonderful way of keeping in communications at all times. Embrace and adapt is what I typically advise. It’s important to receive proper training to fully understand new media and all its capabilities and features.
How does a personal brand enhance the overall brand of a franchise system?
The new trend in digital marketing, or better stated, in attracting today’s consumer is referred to as SoMoLo, or Social Mobile Local.
- Social, we’ve touched upon above.
- Mobile is just the way consumers are choosing to access and search information, and communicate.
- Local, well, that’s all about the “personal side” of the business transaction.
People want to do business with people. They buy from people. Sure, the brand may get them in the door, but it’s the person representing the brand that they want to business with. So, as consumers technologically advance, it’s not uncommon for them to check out the local franchisee’s Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, perform a Google search of the franchisee, etc. What they hope to find is a person of experience and integrity. [Even] the banking industry is leaning towards utilizing a social reputation score for business loan applicants that will rival the credit score.
Tomorrow, in the last post in this series we’ll wrap up the discussion with a questions about local websites and a word of advice for prospective franchisees.
This is the second post based upon my recent interview with Renee Bailey at Franchise Direct. As the interview progressed, Renee and I discussed challenges franchisors face integrating new types of media and how franchisors and franchisees alike could better utilize mediums at their disposal.
What are some challenges franchises are facing concerning integrating new types of media?
The biggest challenge franchises face with new media is a lack of understanding that like anything else, requires planning. Many are not taking the time to:
- develop and explore the various media available
- identify their targets along with identifying where they congregate and communicate online
- develop a strategy based upon the targets (which may actually require sub-strategies for each target and their online communities)
- execute the plan and all that goes into it, including dedication of financial AND human resources in managing and monitoring activity, and of course
- analyze and quantify results in order to continue moving forward or adjusting as necessary
Yes, that’s a lot to grasp but it is essential to developing an effective program utilizing new media. Basically, what I’ve described is e-IDEA, which is something we utilize religiously when working with franchise clients – Explore, Identify, Develop, Execute, and Analyze. It really is a great, simple guide to follow.
How do you feel franchisors and franchisees can better utilize the mediums at their disposal?
By working together, as many franchisees essentially “got there first,” meaning they were posting within social media in its early stages. It’s important to utilize their efforts as a foundation on which to build a uniform social media or new media program.
Franchisors should not take a rigid approach with respect to messaging and social involvement. New media is all about interaction and engagement, and as such, requires a “personal” touch at the local level. Of course, there needs to be guidelines and certain policies to protect the brand. But that is more common sense than anything.
Also, I believe franchises shouldn’t get all caught up in just driving LIKES. It’s more important to create a community of sharing and engagement. I much prefer seeing a Facebook with lower number of LIKES but a high number of post views. That tells me that people are coming back day after day after day to see what is on the page. Whereas just LIKING a page, they may never return. What good does that do?
Tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to how franchisors are utilizing social media to attract prospective franchisees and also, Social Mobile Local – more affectionately known as, SoMoLo!
Note: Photo credit to 1851 Magazine
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