Crush Your Franchises Localized Marketing Efforts With SOCi
There are approximately 790,000 franchises in the United States. There are also over one billion searches that contain the phrase “near me” every month. As a franchise, what are you doing to ensure your brand stands out at both the franchisor (national) and franchisee (local) levels?
Franchises face the unique challenge of marketing to both national and local audiences. 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 the local business owner that operates their franchise location(s) using the franchisor’s business model, including its marketing materials.
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 localized marketing strategy.
Within this blog, we’ll dive into what it takes to build a robust localized marketing strategy for your franchise, how SOCi can help, and also touch on SOCi’s relationship with the International Franchise Association (IFA).
Critical Components of Franchise Marketing
If you’re not already familiar, localized marketing is the process of creating and implementing a marketing strategy that is distributed at the local level. For franchises, this requires franchisors and franchisees to cohesively work together to create a localized marketing strategy and deploy these tactics at the local level across all locations.
Now, let’s get into the three main areas of localized marketing: local search, local social, and reputation management, and explain how your franchise can build a strong strategy for each.
Many franchisors worry about their national brand, which is essential, but your local franchisee locations are just as crucial. Without local customers, your franchise can’t maintain success. That’s where local search and SEO come into play.
An emphasis on local SEO can help 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.
Local listings are an online mention of a business on local directories like Google, Bing, Yelp, Foursquare, and others. Local listings often include basic information like your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP).
From a local SEO perspective, each franchisee must have its local listings claimed and updated with accurate business information. It’s difficult for your franchisees to have their locations rank on the search engine results page (SERP) or in local packs without updated and accurate local listings.
Once you’ve claimed and updated all franchisee locations, you can begin to optimize them by adding in other helpful business information, such as links to social media profiles, additional business information, photos, and more. Jersey Mike’s Subs, a franchise, does a great job of this.
For a more in-depth guide to claiming and adjusting your local listings, read our blog on optimizing your local listings.
Local pages are another way to improve local search visibility and drive more business for your franchisees. A local page is a specific web page for each franchisee location.
Typically, local pages are published from your website, giving you complete control over what you post to them.
When creating local pages, they should include similar information to what is found in your local listings. You can also optimize your local pages by:
- Incorporating keywords
- Including high-quality images
- Adding alt text or tags to images
- Creating clean URL structures
- Ensuring meta description is enticing and contains relevant keywords
- Having multiple calls to action (CTAs) to increase lead conversion
- Showcasing user-generated content (UGC) such as reviews or customer testimonials
SOCi client Nekter Juice Bar, another franchise, does a great job of optimizing its local pages for each business location, as seen in the image below.
The more you optimize your local pages for local SEO, the more likely you are to rank higher in search results, boosting online visibility. Read our blog post, How to Create Killer Local Landing Pages That Rank Well, for more detailed information on local pages.
Social media is often a challenge for franchises. Finding a balance between promoting the national brand and individual franchisee locations is no easy task. When it comes to social media, your franchise must have both a national and local presence.
Each franchisee should have a local social profile on the most relevant social platforms, like Facebook. Research from SOCi found that localized content receives 12x the engagement as non-localized content, emphasizing the need for local social profiles.
While your franchisees may share some content about the national brand, local content is a must. When planning content at the local level, franchisees can share various types of content, including:
- Special promotions or discounts that are happening at their location.
- Positive customer reviews from local consumers.
- Pictures of live or virtual events happening at local stores.
- Current events that are happening in their local area.
- Ways the franchisee is giving back to the local community.
It’s up to each franchise to determine how much ownership of local social profiles they want their franchisees to have, and what oversight is needed from the franchisor. Finding a solution that allows both parties to manage local social is important (hint — SOCi Social), but we’ll get more into that later.
If your franchise is starting to build its local social presence or wants some fresh content ideas, our Localized Social Content Guide can help!
Last, but certainly not least, franchises must monitor their online reputation. According to SOCi’s Google State of Reviews, businesses with higher star ratings on their Google Business Profile (GBP), are more likely to be chosen by consumers over the competition. Conversion (phone calls, website clicks, or a request for directions) improves by 44 percent when a business increases its average star rating by one full star.
When it comes to reputation management, monitoring and responding to reviews is a must. These reviews are often found on review sites like Yelp, Google, and social media platforms.
As a franchise, you must decide who will be responsible for reputation management — the franchisor, the franchisees, or a combination of the two. When it comes to reputation management, many franchises often prefer a decentralized model, meaning each franchisee is responsible for managing their online reputation.
While this takes some of the responsibility off of the franchisor, it’s still their responsibility to provide franchisees with the tools needed to manage their online reputation. We’ll dive more into localized marketing solutions available for franchises next.
For additional insight into what it takes to effectively manage your franchise’s online reputation management, download our Multi-Location Marketer’s Guide to Reputation Management.
How SOCi Can Help Franchises
Now that you understand what goes into a comprehensive localized marketing strategy, it’s time to develop and execute it. As a franchisor with 100s or 1,000s of business locations, it’s challenging to manage these efforts at scale. That’s where SOCi comes in!
SOCi has a commitment to supporting franchise marketers. Our listings, local pages, social, and reputation management solutions can help you achieve a robust digital presence at national and local levels. SOCi has all of the tools you need to successfully manage your localized marketing strategy, all within a single login!
We are the only tool built specifically for multi-location marketers, including franchises. For instance, Kumon announced SOCi as its platform of record in 2022, leveraging our platform to simplify and streamline its localized marketing strategy.
Our platform allows both franchisors and franchisees to take responsibility for their marketing strategy, allowing your franchise to customize a plan that works best for you. Get more insight on how SOCi can help your franchise here.
SOCi’s Partnership With IFA Explained
We’re also thrilled to announce that the International Franchise Association (IFA) has selected SOCi as its preferred marketing platform provider for local listings, reviews, and social media. IFA recommends SOCi as a vetted localized digital marketing toolset for franchise marketers looking to optimize their online presence.
Learn more about SOCi’s partnership with IFA here. We’re also excited to share that we will be at the 2023 IFA Annual Convention from February 26th – March 1st. If representatives from your franchise plan on attending the event, come see us to discover the 7 keys that are driving local traffic and sales!