Determining a social media strategy for a franchise is not always as straightforward as some might think. Compared to a non-franchise company, social media for franchises can become very complex. Franchises have many options when it comes to the set up and control of the different social media accounts, however if not implemented correctly, things can be very problematic.
One vs. Many
Non-franchise businesses typically have one account for each social media platform, where there is a person or team specifically dedicated to the company’s social media accounts. A franchise, on the other hand, could have one account or multiple accounts on multiple social media platforms. If franchisees are able to have their own social media accounts for their local business, it is important that it is managed correctly. Otherwise it can lead to an inconsistent message and brand image throughout the entire franchise system.
Level of Control
Having a strategy in your FDD for posting content on social media platforms is key to being successful. Two major factors that should not be overlooked in your social media strategy are control and consistency. Unlike non-franchise businesses, franchises give up some level of control to the franchisees, trusting that the franchisees will do a good job of representing the entire brand online. Allowing franchisees to have their own Facebook page or Twitter account can sometimes be problematic if the franchisees are not on the same page as the franchisor.
Consistency is Key
It’s very important for all franchisees to relay the brand’s “voice” consistently in their social media messaging. When posting content and photos, it cannot be expressed enough how important it is for the franchisees to do so consistently. Consistent posting provides relevance, credibility, and engagement with your target audience. If you’re not sure where to start when creating content, try starting with a content calendar.
Whether a franchise or not, a content calendar can be an extremely useful tool when first starting to send out social media posts. This calendar is used for planning and organizing the content you have created. It also helps ensure brand consistency. Your content calendar should include your original content, as well as a list of credible sources. Credible sources help the franchisee post useful content from leading industry publications. The calendar should then be made available to the franchisees so that they always have material to post if they are looking for something to share. Some franchisees will be eager to start posting content and have posts they want to share on the main franchise social media account. There is a solution to this, something non-franchises do not have to worry about.
Franchisees that have newsworthy posts or are hosting events will want any corresponding pictures or articles posted on the main franchise social media accounts. Since the franchisees don’t have administrative access to the main franchise social media platforms, an email account should be in place. The corporate social media email account enables franchisees to send photos and other reliable sources for the content calendar. Heavy social media users will take advantage of this email account and send their local photos to the account where, if approved by the franchisor, will then be posted on the main franchise social media platform.
While a franchise might have a strong strategy for social media, without proper implementation, there will be problems. Non-franchise businesses usually have more control over their social media accounts, making brand consistency simpler to accomplish than it is for franchises. As a franchisor, it is your job to maintain a level of control so there inconsistencies are minimized as your franchisees are posting content on the many social media platforms.