Does your local franchise business have a compelling social media strategy? If not, your social media marketing efforts aren’t likely to cut through or convert your ideal local customers.
Instead of posting social media content in the moment, a social media strategy ensures every post you share is working towards a business goal (whether that’s to boost brand awareness, drive engagement or increase in-store visits).
Along with the 753,770 franchise businesses operating in the US, you have the added advantage of a franchisor’s brand name that can help you win business and trust on social media. But, you need to spend some time getting to know your local market to ensure your social media and content marketing engages with your local community.
Ready to craft a winning social media strategy that drives meaningful results for your business? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about building a franchise social media marketing strategy.
What are the benefits of social media marketing for local franchisees?
There’s plenty of reasons why a whopping 96% of small businesses say they use social media as part of their marketing strategy. With a strategic social media presence, local businesses can reach new local customers with ease and at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing channels.
Plus, customers use social media as a way to research products, services and businesses before they decide to make a purchase. Take this stat: 41% of brick and mortar buyers read online reviews (including social media reviews) before making a purchase.
Essentially, social media marketing is a powerful tool to win business, grow your team and boost the chances of long-term success in your local franchise business.
Still not convinced? Here are a stack of benefits of using social media marketing as a local franchisee:
- Build connections with your local community and win trust at scale: by launching a local presence for your business on social media you can use location tags, hashtags and a localised social advertising strategy to build an engaged community on social media. Think of this like digital word of mouth that will boost your profile and reputation in your local community.
- Be seen as a leader in your local area to boost market share: with so many other brands to choose from, crafting a winning social media strategy will help your local business stand out from the competition. Plus, you can use educational and thought leadership content to position your brand as an authority in your local area.
- Gain a deeper understanding of your target market: one of the biggest benefits of social media marketing is your ability to access in-depth analytics and insights into audience behaviour. This will help you understand what content is and isn’t resonating with your ideal customers to make data-driven decisions about your social media strategy.
- Showcase your latest offers and products in real-time: social media marketing allows you to instantly share new posts with your audience in seconds. This real-time access to your ideal customers can help you promote local events or timely offers and sales.
- Provide prompt and proactive customer service: more and more potential customers are using social media as a way to get in touch with local businesses. So, by having an active social presence, you can ensure you provide prompt answers to customers’ questions and improve your brand’s customer experience.
Where does social media fit into your local franchise businesses’ overall digital marketing strategy?
If you’ve already created a marketing strategy (that includes SEO and other digital marketing efforts) for your local franchise business, you might be wondering where social media fits in.
While every business is different, social media marketing works across the board as a powerful marketing tool to increase brand awareness, drive in-store traffic and inspire sales.
Depending on your business goals, you can decide to use social media as a:
- Recruitment tool to attract new team members or expand your operations.
- Sales tool to showcase your business, your team, your products and services.
- Customer service tool to provide timely and accurate responses to customer inquiries.
The good news? You can actually select different social media platforms to hit each of these different marketing objectives. Keep reading to discover exactly how to do this in our step by step guide below.
Your step-by-step guide to creating a social media strategy for local franchisees
Ready to bring your franchises’ social media strategy to life? Here’s a handy guide to what you need to include in your social media marketing strategy as a local franchise business.
Step 1. Set goals and objectives for your local business on social media
All the best social media marketing efforts have one thing in common: they are anchored in business goals and objectives.
Goals and objectives are what give your social media content purpose, direction and a framework to measure success. They help you narrow down which social media platforms are the right fit for your business, what types of content are more appropriate and allow you to set KPIs to track your performance along the way.
No matter what industry or niche your business is in, make sure your social media goals are:
The more defined and prescriptive your social media goals are, the more likely you’ll be to achieve them. That means giving your goals a single focus, using metrics to define what success looks like and setting milestones or deadlines to achieve these goals.
And remember: your goals and objectives are likely to evolve over time as your local franchise business grows. Your initial social media goals might be to:
- Grow your follower count to a certain number
- Boost your engagement rate to a certain percentage
- Drive a certain number of website visitors from your social media marketing
- Receive a certain number of job applications from social media
As your business becomes more established, your social media goals might look like:
- Hit a certain number of offers redeemed in-store through a social media marketing campaign
- Boost membership signs-up through a social advertising campaigns and initiatives
- Partner with a certain number of local influencers to boost your reach
Remember: it’s hard to hit multiple goals at once. So, when creating your social media strategy, keep your objectives to three clearly defined goals that you want to reach in the near future.
Step 2. Decide which social media channels to use
With your goals and objectives mapped out, it’s time to decide what social channels are the best fit for your business. Every social media channel has its strengths and weaknesses, which can help you narrow down your marketing efforts to only the channels that will drive results for you.
Not sure which social media accounts are right for your business? Let’s give you a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each social media platform:
- Instagram: a visual-first social platform perfect for direct-to-consumer marketing.
- Pros: driven by visual content, stacks of content formats, driven by hashtags and user-generated content.
- Cons: harder to drive results for business-to-business marketing
- Facebook: a powerful social profile for social advertising.
- Pros: offers a comprehensive ad platform to help you target your ideal customer demographics and audience.
- Cons: almost zero organic reach for businesses, making it a ‘pay to play’ platform.
- LinkedIn: the leading platform for business-to-business social media marketing.
- Pros: huge organic reach opportunities and a fantastic platform for recruitment.
- Cons: offers limited opportunities for direct-to-consumer brands.
The number of platforms you decide to launch really depends on the size of your team and the resources you have to dedicate to social media marketing. If you’re a small team with limited time, focusing on one social media platform is your best bet to see maximum results from your efforts.
Plus, now is a great time to consider how often you want to post content to social media, too. Again, consistency is better than sharing huge volumes of content infrequently.
Think about what goals you’re working towards, how many platforms you plan to use and land on a number of posts per week that are manageable and sustainable for your team over the long term.
Wondering what times you should be posting on social media? Check out our guide to the best posting times for businesses on Instagram.
Step 3. Get to know your local franchise businesses’ target audience
Another key step to developing your social media strategy is this: understanding your franchise location’s ideal audience.
Each local area and business will have a different target market that they are trying to reach. So, you need to spend some time figuring out:
- Your ideal audience demographic (such as their age, gender, location etc.)
- What pain points or challenges your ideal audience is facing
- What aspirations or goals your ideal audience want to achieve
- How your business can solve your ideal audiences’ problems and provide solutions
There are stacks of different ways to figure out your ideal target market as a local franchise business. Some strategies can include:
- Reviewing your social media analytics to see who is currently interacting with your brand
- Checking your customer database to see the demographics of your customers
- Running customer surveys to find out who is currently buying from your brand
With this information on-hand, you’ll be able to craft a compelling brand voice and visual identity for your local business (more on that next!).
Step 4. Flesh out your local businesses’ brand voice and visual identity
As a franchise business owner, you’ve already got a leg up in this department. That’s because your franchisor should already have a set of standardised brand voice and visual identity brand guidelines for you to leverage.
The best brand voice guidelines cover:
- Your franchises’ mission, vision and values
- Your franchises’ brand voice characteristics and brand messages
- On-brand and off-brand phrases when writing in your franchises’ brand voice
- Examples and templates to help you achieve your franchises’ brand voice
When it comes to visual identity guidelines, these should include:
- How to use and apply your franchise’s logo
- Your franchises’ brand colours, fonts, and graphic elements
- A library of approved brand images for your franchise
Plus, you can go one step further to flesh these out for your local franchise team. By developing a few extra guidelines and frameworks, you can speed up your content creation processes and ensure your brand shows up consistently on social media.
Our tip? Design a stack of templates, using graphic design software such as Canva, that your team can customise and download at scale. From testimonials to product launches to sales, make sure you create easy-to-use templates that you can replicate and edit as needed.
Step 5. Develop your local businesses’ content pillars
Speaking of content types, it’s a wise move to include a set of content pillars in your franchise businesses’ social media strategy.
In short, content pillars are broad topics or themes that you use to anchor your content on social media. These pillars can help make it easier to manage content creation on a month-to-month basis and create a sense of consistency between your social media posts.
The best content pillars always link back to your social media objectives and goals. Take this example: if your goal is to increase DMs on Instagram, you might have a weekly content pillar that encourages your followers to answer a question or guess the answer to a question on Instagram Stories.
In broad terms, your content pillars should align with these topics:
- Content that educates and informs: such as how-to tutorials, guides and carousels.
- Content that inspires and engages: such as memes or inspiring quotes.
- Content that drives sales and action: such as discount codes, product demos and sales campaigns.
Step 6. Decide how you’re going to manage your social media workflow
With your social media strategy coming together, a key piece of the puzzle is to figure out your social content workflow.
This piece of jargon simply means deciding who is going to manage specific tasks related to your franchise businesses’ social media presence.
Generally speaking, the key steps of your workflow will include:
- Who is responsible for planning out your social media content: from picking post topics to launching social media campaigns.
- Who is responsible for creating your social media content: including designing graphics, capturing or curating imagery, writing captions and selecting hashtags.
- Who is responsible for reviewing your social media content: this could be someone in your local team or someone from your franchise brand’s head office.
- Who is responsible for scheduling your social media content: using a social media management tool (such as Sked Social) can help your marketing team schedule all your posts in one go to reduce the chance of missed posts or content mistakes.
The earlier you plan out these roles and responsibilities, the better off your local franchise business will be when it comes to staying consistent with your social media marketing and onboarding new marketing team members.
Step 7. Review your analytics and pivot your strategy as needed
Last, but not least, is the final step of every social media strategy: setting check-in dates to review your social media results.
The best way to check if your social media strategy is working is to set time-sensitive KPIs and schedule regular meetings to review if you’ve reached these targets or not. This could be to reach follower growth rates, engagement rates, or other content interaction goals.
Make sure to review your best and lowest performing pieces of content and draw insights from your social media analytics, too. Then, use these insights to help you pivot and change your strategy to ensure you’re continuing to drive increased engagement and results from your social media marketing.
And that’s a wrap! When it comes to building a social media strategy as a local franchise owner, the key is to understand your local audience and develop content that is based on clear goals and objectives. With the backing of a larger franchisor, your local-level business has the advantage of an established brand name to help you. build brand awareness. Like any local business social media strategy, you need to set KPIs to measure and track your businesses’ progress towards your social media marketing goals along the way.