Social media ROI is one of the most pressing issues for marketers in 2019. This is especially pertinent in the franchise space, where national franchise brands have to develop an all-encompassing strategy to manage social pages for both individual locations and the corporate entity.
Maximizing social ROI starts with understanding the localized movement happening across social media. Each franchise location now has its own page on major social platforms, making it difficult for corporate teams to maintain on-brand messaging across all pages. Facebook gives each franchisee a local page. Google has local Knowledge Panels that populate search results with location-specific information. Even Instagram is now testing individual profile pages for each franchisee.
Franchise brands can thrive in this local social landscape by implementing localized social marketing (LSM), and convincing individual franchisees to adopt this strategy. LSM requires that each franchise location contributes to its own local social presence, but still allows corporate teams to maintain oversight.
Empowering local franchisees pays dividends. According to a collaborative research report from SOCi and the Local Search Association, the top brands that excel in LSM are experiencing revenue growth at 3x the rate of their peers.
Below, we’ll provide talking points that will help you communicate the importance of localized social marketing in a way that appeals to franchisees.
The Three Models for Franchise Social Media Management
Before you can implement a localized social marketing strategy, you’ll have to determine which kind of management model you’re currently using. Here are the three most common models:
Centralized: The corporate team posts social content for every franchise page and responds to all reviews. Local franchise owners provide no input.
Decentralized: Each franchise location is responsible for creating and posting their own social content on individual local pages and responding to all reviews. The corporate team provides little to no oversight.
Hybrid: The corporate team provides a baseline amount of social media and reputation management for all locations, but also empowers franchisees to post localized content and respond to reviews on local pages
Both the decentralized and hybrid models allow for LSM, but the decentralized model comes with risks. Without corporate oversight, individual locations may post off-brand content that reflects poorly on the national franchise brand. The decentralized model also doesn’t provide support for individual franchisees, and local teams may get overwhelmed and forego social efforts completely.
The hybrid model allows corporate teams to support local franchisees, while still empowering franchisees to leverage the power of LSM. The hybrid model does require buy-in from franchisees, which franchisors can obtain by mentioning these five benefits:
No. 1: Social Media is a key component of any marketing strategy.
Try framing the message this way; whether the franchisee participates or not, local customers are having conversations about their business on social platforms. Franchisees can either be a part of that conversation or allow it to happen outside their control.
Social media is no longer an optional marketing strategy; it is a key component of the sales funnel, and one of the main channels customers use to find out more about local businesses. In fact, 2 out of 3 Facebook users visit a local business page every week. That volume of traffic simply cannot be ignored.
No. 2: LSM allows the corporate team to provide resources to local teams.
If you’re going to convince your franchisees to adopt LSM, you’re going to have to make it easy for them to do so. The franchisor is responsible for adding value to the franchisee. Examples of added value — as it related to LSM — include:
- Social media guidebooks
- Monthly training webinars
- Branded design and messaging templates
- Social content that can be repurposed and localized
- Social media and reputation management software
Success stories also go a long way towards convincing franchisees that LSM is worth their time. It’s up to the franchisor to find social media success stories and disseminate these stories throughout the franchisee network. Franchisees are busy, and often need to see success stories before they’ll commit to LSM efforts.
No. 3: LSM adds a human touch to your business.
When franchisors provide all the social content for a franchise’s local page, it causes the franchise to appear inauthentic; a faceless corporate entity that isn’t in touch with its local customers. 63 percent of consumers deliberately buy from authentic brands, and LSM helps franchise brands build brand authenticity in every market by empowering franchisees to post store-specific imagery, highlight local employees, post about local events, and promote in-store specials.
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No. 4: Franchisees benefit from reputation insights gained through LSM.
Localized social media and reputation management tools like SOCi gives franchisees access to valuable customer insights and data, including feedback regarding their product, customer service, employees, and overall brand experience. SOCi even consolidates all this information into an easy-to-read dashboard with sentiment analysis, giving franchisees a quick overview of their online reputation.
SOCi also empowers users to monitor competitor reviews, a key component of reputation management that most franchisees would never have time to monitor otherwise. This tool reveals how in-market competitors are handling reputation management, and helps franchisees identify opportunities for improvement.
No. 5: LSM helps franchisees simplify reputation management.
Franchisees that adopt localized social marketing benefit from better customer care, as corporate and local teams coordinate review response strategies. Social listening tools provided by SOCi allow corporate teams to manage reviews, respond to comments quickly and pull in local teams when necessary.
Without a localized strategy, corporate teams aren’t able to respond to every review across every location. According to a research report created by SOCi, 87 percent of consumers express a willingness to change a negative review depending on how the business responds. Not responding is a wasted opportunity to improve your star-rating and make things right with an unhappy customer.
Localized social marketing facilitates collaboration between corporate and local teams when it comes to social media and reputation management. Consumers respond to localized content; research from SOCi and the LSA shows that 72 percent of brand engagement happens on Facebook’s local pages. Through localized social marketing, franchisees can take control of these local pages, and corporate teams can provide oversight to ensure on-brand content.