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
This is the first of several posts based upon my 2012 interview with Renee Bailey at Franchise Direct. The theme of the interview was Marketing, Media and Franchising.
What are some trends in franchising today in regards to marketing?
As today’s consumer and franchise candidates are more sophisticated, educated and technologically advanced than ever before, many franchise organizations are focusing on digital marketing as a way to attract these targets.
Unlike traditional marketing, the digital space allows for many different approaches to attract and engage their targets. Specifically, using a combination of social media marketing and content marketing in conjunction with traditional marketing has proven quite effective. Add to the mix the old stalwart – email marketing – and it creates a cross-platform, multi-tiered effect that touches the target audience multiple times within a short period of time… and at times, almost simultaneously.
The key here is to understand that the sales process with today’s consumer and franchise candidate is no longer an A to Z proposition. Often, by the time [they] make personal contact with a company representative, they’re already at letter K, M or even W in the equation. As such, it’s imperative that the transition from the digital space to the personal interaction is seamless, and in line with the message conveyed throughout the digital marketing efforts.
In the next post of this series we’ll address challenges franchisors face integrating new types of media and how franchisors and franchisees alike could better utilize mediums at their disposal.
Occasionally, I take a look at some of my posts from a few years back just to compare my thoughts and perspective from then to now. I always ask myself if I’m consistent so as not to confuse anyone. But more importantly, am I focused for the long-term or for just the here-and-now. Well, below is a post from June 2009. I’m sure you’ll agree that I have been consistent and have not jumped on any flavor-of-the-day bandwagon… It really is about fundamentals and best-practices!
Franchise Sales During the Recession
Recently, in one of the franchise groups on LinkedIn, there was some discussion about the Wall Street Journal article, “Franchise Sales Pull Back During the Recession.” Several franchise professionals posted their comments and, of course, I added my “two cents” as well. Okay, I was definitely long-winded compared to the others, but as most of you who read my articles are well aware, I have a passion for franchising and franchise success and tend to go on and on to share the same with all who will “listen.”
“I too, believe there are many well-qualified candidates exploring franchising. Some as a career alternative, and also, in the case of already being a small business owner, as a business expansion strategy and/or an income diversification plan.
No doubt, the number of overall franchise leads has diminished quite a bit. But I believe many of the “tire kickers” have gone by the wayside while the more qualified candidates continue to search, inquire and ultimately decide franchising is right for them to achieve their goals and objectives. However, in order to fully realize this trend, one must realize that the candidates’ approach has evolved.
Today’s qualified franchise candidate is more sophisticated, educated and technologically advanced than we have ever seen before. Add to the mix, a sense of extreme caution, and their process in exploring franchising and specific franchise opportunities has become more of a detailed, well-thought out strategy.
Always understanding that there is risk in any entrepreneurial endeavor, today’s candidates explore franchising because it may provide even the slightest edge against failure. Their mantra has become, “failure is not an option” and they now live it by doing everything humanly possible to dot every “i” and cross every “t” and then rechecking only to do it over and over again until they have full, complete confidence in their decision.
To that end, the overall process from initial inquiry to franchise award is much longer than in years’ past and that is something franchisors must be prepared to effectively handle. It’s a primary reason I believe social media works so well in the new era of franchise sales as it creates an environment for today’s candidates to research organizations, share information, communicate with individuals at all levels of the franchise organization from franchisees to corporate executives, view photos, audio and video, etc. And, they can do so at their own pace and to their full understanding. That is the key.
Understanding and adapting to today’s qualified franchise candidate will help franchisors ride out this current economic downturn. Putting their heads in the sand and just complaining about the poor economy and the franchise candidate pool drying up will only incorrectly prove true that their negative thoughts are correct.
All that being said, certainly there are challenges in securing financing and other variables that must be contended with and addressed accordingly. But as the franchise candidate pool diminishes and many of the tire kickers aren’t around to waste our time, we should now have more time to explore all options, use our creativity and innovation, network beyond our comfort zones and seek out alternative solutions. I believe those solutions are out there and many are capitalizing on them as we speak. They will not only survive, they will thrive as others have done in other recessionary periods.”
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