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The Complete Guide to Franchise Marketing


Franchises have a unique situation where they must market to national and local audiences. Franchises need to strike a balance between the franchisor and franchisee, particularly regarding franchise marketing. 


Before moving forward, let’s define what a franchisor and franchisee are. 


  • The franchisor is the national brand that established a licensed business model.
  • The franchisee is a local business that operates using the franchisor’s business model, including its marketing materials.


Together, the franchisor and franchisee need to create a solid and recognizable brand. At SOCi, we’ve helped over 600 multi-location brands and over three million locations — many of which use the franchise business model — create and run a successful multi-location marketing system. 


In this blog, we’ll explain what franchise marketing is and the most important tactics your franchise should implement to find success. Let’s get started!


What is Franchise Marketing?

Franchise marketing is when franchisors and franchisees use specific marketing tactics in unison to build brand awareness, acquire new customers, and increase revenue.

To have a successful franchise marketing strategy, franchisors and franchisees must cohesively work together to create and deploy local and national marketing campaigns. 


Typically, the franchisor has already built a strong and reputable brand. Now, the franchisor and franchisees must work together to maintain and strengthen the brand, resulting in more profits across the board. Below are five franchise marketing tactics that you can implement today to increase your online presence and profit.


1. Install Brand Guidelines and Standardization


An essential part of customer experience marketing and franchises is consistent branding. When a consumer visits a specific franchisee, they expect the same excellent service as they would at any other franchisee. 


This sentiment holds true when they see your franchise’s digital marketing campaigns. Therefore, it’s imperative that a franchisor establishes clear brand guidelines and shares them with all franchisees. Franchisees should have the ability to access these guidelines and any associated images or content easily. These brand guidelines often include:


  • Franchise’s history
  • Mission and vision statements
  • Core values
  • Brand colors, fonts, and logos
  • Customer service and operations instructions


While sharing these brand guidelines is crucial, franchisees are trained on how to implement them. It’s equally essential that franchisees uphold these brand guidelines in their digital content and online marketing campaigns. If individual franchisees do not adhere to these brand guidelines, then standardization diminishes.


2. Focus on Local SEO


Many franchisors worry about their national brand, which is a good thing to do. However, they should also focus on local SEO and attracting local users. Local SEO (search engine optimization) helps businesses and franchisees be more visible in local search results on Google and other search engines. 


The best way to improve your local SEO rankings is by optimizing your local listings and local pages. We’ll explain how to optimize each one below.


Local Listings


Local listings are an online mention of a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). They’re found in local directories like Google, Bing, Yelp, Foursquare, and others. Franchisees are often listed in these directories.


From a local SEO and user experience, it’s important that your franchisees’ local listings contain accurate information. Here’s a step-by-step process for optimizing your local listings:



  • Step two: Ensure each franchise doesn’t have duplicate listings, and report duplicate listings not owned by your franchise to Google and other directories.


  • Step three: Include helpful business information such as NAP, business hours, and contact information; ensure that each listing’s information is the same across all directories.

For a more in-depth guide to claiming and adjusting your local listings, read our blog on optimizing your local listings


If you need help managing your franchise’s business listings, consider using SOCi Listings. SOCi Listings can help you dominate local SEO and search results by syncing and updating your local listings at scale.

SOCi Listings mockup overlayed on a laptop

Local Pages and Locators


Local pages, also referred to as local landing pages, are another way to improve local search visibility and drive more business to your franchisees. A local page is a specific web page for your individual franchisee. Below is an example of a well-built local page from Néktar Juice Bar.

Local Landing Page Example of Nekter juice bar

Similar to local listings, local pages should include any relevant business information a consumer might need, such as your NAP, hours of operation, directions, a list of products or services, or calls to action (CTAs) such as an option for online ordering, and more. You can optimize your local landing pages by doing the following:


  • Incorporate keywords on your local pages
  • Include high-quality images
  • Add alt text or tags to images
  • Create clean URL structures
  • Ensure meta description is enticing and contains relevant keywords
  • Have multiple calls to action (CTAs) to increase lead conversion
  • Highlight user-generated content (UGC) such as reviews or customer testimonials


Read our blog post, How to Create Killer Local Landing Pages That Rank Well, for an in-depth guide to creating and optimizing your local pages. 


In addition to local landing pages, franchises need store locators. Locators are a unique page on your website that list all franchisee locations and link to their local pages. Think of them as an online directory. 


They often display valuable information about each franchisee, such as location, hours of operation, and even special promotions or events. Store locators help convert online visitors into in-person customers. 


Locators and local pages make it easier for consumers to locate and visit your franchisees. While your franchise may already have local pages and a locator, there’s always room for improvement. That’s where SOCi comes in.


SOCi Local Pages and Locator help you deploy branded local pages in less than two weeks. You can also easily make real-time updates to your locator and local pages on one centralized platform. This software makes sharing individual details about your franchisees easier.


Two laptops, one showing a Hertz local page and the other showing Nekter Juice Bar's local page. Also an iPhone showing Hertz's locator page and a tablet showing Nekter's locator page

3. Invest in Social Media Marketing


Social media allows franchisors to create nationwide and local content that reaches millions of consumers. According to one survey, three out of four consumers have discovered a new local offering based on social media recommendations and posts. 


While social media is a great place for discovery, because there are multiple franchisees, you’re likely to receive more mentions and feedback on social media than in any other industry. Moreover, 76 percent of consumers expect companies to respond to their comments on social media.


Therefore, you need a strong social media strategy to strategically reach millions of digital users while also having a best-in-class brand reputation management system in place. Below are four of the most important social media marketing strategies for franchises.


Create Local Content


Previous research from SOCi found that localized content receives 12x the engagement rate of more general or non-localized content. Franchisees need to post relevant local content that consumers can engage with. 


This content can share information about local community events, news, promotions, and partnerships. Ideally, local marketing teams would publish this content since they know the local scene better than the corporate franchise team. The national marketing team should send branded graphics and resources for local teams to use.


For a full rundown of what type of localized content to publish, download our Localized Social Content Guide for Multi-Location Marketers.


Green, black, and white download button for SOCi’s Localized Social Content Guide Description: Green, black, and white download button for SOCi’s Localized Social Content Guide


Establish an Advertising Strategy and Budget


Another vital aspect of social media marketing is having a social advertising budget. Social advertising, also referred to as social media advertising, is when a franchisor puts money behind social media campaigns to increase brand awareness, engagement, or lead generation. Franchisors can create local or national social ad campaigns.


Typically, social ads help with brand awareness and can be used to promote a new product or service. These ads often influence consumers to visit their local franchisees. 


Local social ads often generate leads and are used to acquire more online foot traffic and in-store visitors. Franchisees can also promote community-based and local stories that gain attraction and strengthen brand devotion. 


Franchisors must establish quarterly and monthly budgets regardless of who produces the paid social ads. They must then adjust these budgets based on social ads’ performances — allocating more money behind a successful campaign or duplicating a high-ROI ad for other franchisees.


Interact with Customers


As mentioned earlier, most people expect companies to respond to their comments on social media. Timeliness is also important. Eighty-three percent of consumers expect companies to respond within a day or less.


As you can see, responding and interacting with customers across your social media channels is necessary. You can have local, corporate, or a mixture of the two teams respond to these social media interactions. 


Regardless of your choice, those responding to social media engagements need customer service training and defined policies to adhere to. Poorly worded responses could lead to more unfavorable comments and further disrupt your customer experience and brand image.


Use the Best Multi-Location Social Media Software 


Franchisors and franchisees need a superb social media software to create the best local and branded content, respond to social media engagements, and track organic and paid performance. SOCi Social can do all of the above and more.


SOCi Social empowers both enterprise and local teams to publish localized content, respond promptly to social engagements, and analyze campaign performances. With SOCi Social, it’s easy to publish dynamic localized content across multiple franchisees while maintaining brand consistency.

SOCi's social platform with the scheduler in the background and a post on gardening tips on the left-hand side and a blow up of California with little green location markers

4. Online Reputation Management and Review Response 


Franchises also need to monitor their brand’s online reputation at national and local levels. As a franchisor, an individual franchisee’s reputation can affect the entire brand.


Monitoring and Responding to Reviews


Therefore, franchisors must ensure the reputation of their individual franchisees is being monitored. An essential aspect of online reputation management is monitoring and responding to reviews across all your franchisees. These reviews can occur on review sites like Yelp, Google, and social media platforms. 


Either local or national teams can respond to online reviews, similar to how your franchise divides up interacting with social media engagements. Regardless of who responds to reviews, ensure that they’re well trained and that you have consistent responses across all franchisees. 


Gain Insight from Other Franchisees


Being a multi-location business allows your franchisee to gain insights from different business locations. For instance, if one franchisee continues to receive stellar reviews, you can analyze those reviews and meet with the franchisee owner to learn about what’s leading to these positive reviews.


You can then take this insight and implement new policies or operations across all franchisees, or at the least, struggling franchisees with a bad online reputation. You can also learn from poor-performing franchisees to ensure their issues do not become rampant at other locations. 

For more review response tips and how to utilize data and insight from other franchisees, download our Multi-Location Marketers Guide to Online Reputation Management.


CTA for the Online Reputation Management Guide for Multi-Location Marketers


Review response across all of your franchisees is challenging. SOCi Reviews can help you ease the burden. SOCi Reviews allows you to monitor and respond to reviews on all major review sites across 100s or 1,000s of franchisees. 


SOCi’s review management system also performs sentiment analysis so you can see positive and negative patterns at each franchisee or across the brand. This insight allows you to make immediate changes and get ahead of possible PR crises.

 An iphone, ipad, and computer screen highlighting SOCi's reviews solution


5. Gain a Competitive Advantage with Social Listening


Last, but not least, franchise marketers should utilize social listening. Social listening is the process of analyzing conversations and trends around your franchise, brand, competitors, and the industry in general. 


Social listening gives you a 10,000-foot view of your brand’s online reputation and helps you monitor conversations on social media, forums, and other places. As mentioned, you can also listen to competitors to see where your products or services either lag behind or are ahead of them. 


Data and insight from these online conversations can lead to product or service updates, changes in your customer experience or journey, and other franchise marketing tactics. 


However, it’s nearly impossible to implement a social listening strategy without the right software. Franchise marketers can turn to SOCi Listening for help.


SOCi Listening is an elite listening product that will help your multi-location to mitigate potential crises, gain a holistic view of your brand, and make data-informed decisions around specific franchisees, products, or services.

A screenshot of SOCi’s Listening product on a laptop screen, a news article on a tablet, and a tweet on a cell phone with an enlarged icon

You now have the information you need to take your franchise marketing to the next level. As mentioned, SOCi has various tools and resources to help you improve your franchise marketing at the national and local levels.


To recap, SOCi Listings and SOCi Local Pages and Locator can take your local SEO to the next level. While SOCi Social will help you schedule, manage, and advertise on all major social media platforms. 


In addition, SOCi Reviews and SOCi Listening can help you track and respond to reviews on all major review sites and gain critical insight into customers’ and competitors’ conversations.


Request a demo today to learn more about any of these products or SOCi’s services!


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