Every franchise brand is made up of two components — the national brand and the individual locations. Most companies have no trouble leveraging the power of a national brand, but those individual franchises present an untapped opportunity. According to a research report created by SOCi and the Local Search Association, 70 percent of a brand’s social media engagement happens on the Local Pages.
Unfortunately, standard social media marketing strategies often fail to address the complexities of managing and scaling efforts across hundreds or thousands of franchise locations. That’s why we wrote The Franchise Playbook for Localized Social Marketing — a blueprint for franchisor’s hoping to leverage the power of localized content.
The playbook includes step-by-step strategies for localized social marketing. Here is a preview, featuring four steps to success.
Step 1. Set a social strategy rooted in goals and objectives
A smart localized social marketing strategy fully leverages the power of each franchise as a national brand. Step one is to define the purpose of your localized social efforts, whether it’s increasing brand reach, creating brand consistency or boosting engagement.
Next, set specific, measurable objectives by leveraging available data and/or using marketing tools such as SOCi or Google Analytics. Then build on what is working.
Finally, communicate clear marketing guidelines and give franchisees the resources they need to succeed. Goals are only as good as your communication with your franchise partners.
Step 2. Claim local pages
It can’t be stressed enough: unofficial, duplicate, and unclaimed rogue listings and local pages hinder local search results and wreak havoc on a brand’s overall reputation. Local Pages can hover out there like ghost towns, or take on a life of their own by gathering reviews, incorrect information, and followers.
To avoid this stumbling block, franchisors must obtain access to all social properties that represent the company — across all platforms. Additionally, franchisors should contact franchise owners and social platforms to collect all related URLs and unify channel oversight.
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Step 3. Use boosting to scale your efforts
Social is the primary way to reach local audiences in a highly targeted fashion. According to Adobe’s 2018 State of the Market report, 50 percent of Gen Zers (18-19 year olds) and 46 percent of Millennials (20-36 years old) believe that social media is the most relevant form of advertising.
National franchise marketers and individual franchisees spend a lot of time creating social content. As we discussed in a recent webinar, however, Facebook’s recent algorithm change means organic posts have less than 20 times the reach they once did. This is where boosting comes into play. With SOCi Boost Plus, you can boost hundreds of posts across hundreds of social media pages for all your business locations.
Step 4. Take care of your online reputation
Four in five customers expect a response to their reviews, and 89 percent say they would be willing to change a review based on a business’ response. Any time you ignore a review, you’re wasting an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.
Responding shows consumers that you acknowledge their opinion, appreciate their time, and that you care. Review sites and social media channels are hubs for conversations that your customers are having. Participating in those conversations allows you to influence the narrative.
Once you’ve created and claimed your pages, customers will begin interacting with them. This is where your work begins. If you don’t take control of your page by posting content and responding to reviews, you risk giving control to the customers. At a minimum, you should post brand content to these pages, and always keep key local information—hours, address, services, prices and menu—up-to-date. Any information lapse can impact the brand experience.
The process of claiming local pages and rolling out localized content can be exhausting for franchisors with a large portfolio, but there is help in the form of franchise-focused technology like SOCi. Once you’ve claimed all your pages, take your local strategy to the next level by downloading The Franchise Playbook for Localized Social Marketing.