One Brand to Rule Them All: Unite Your Franchise Fellowship on Social Media

September 17th, 2015 by Search Influence Alumni


So you want to be successful in online marketing? Well…your franchise needs to get social.

More than 70 percent of franchise CEOs and marketing executives voted Facebook as the most effective social media channel for franchises, according to the 2015 Franchise Local Marketing Trends survey conducted by franchise software company FranConnect. In fact, franchises are giving their customers close attention and spending more time on social media compared to other small businesses overall. That’s according to this year’s report on franchises from market research firm BIA/Kelsey.

But who is managing that social media voice? In 2013, 23 percent of franchisees said their franchisors were “somewhat involved” with their social media presence, BIA/Kelsey reports.

“We encourage franchisees to take a role in community through clubs or sponsoring baseball teams, but we supplement that through posting activity on Facebook to communities near the restaurant. We localized that but from the central base,” Mark Hardison, vice president of marketing at El Pollo Loco told BIA/Kelsey at its national conference in March.

One Search Influence client manages the overall brand voice on social media for its 10 locations while also allowing each location to supplement with additional localized social media posts. This not only ensures a consistent social media brand voice, but it also ensures that all locations have frequent social media posts with no gap in activity.

So how can franchisors and multi-location businesses manage social media posts from a central base? What’s the best way to manage a consistent social media message across multiple business locations? Follow these four steps to take the headache out of managing a consistent social media message, no matter the number of business locations.

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Step 1 – Schedule Your Posts in Advance

It can be hard to keep track of one social media account, much less a whole slew of franchised business accounts. Fortunately, there are a number of web tools available to help you out. Specifically, websites like HootSuite and Sprout Social allow for users to schedule posts across a number of profiles and platforms in advance. That way, you can easily craft and lay out the meat of your social media campaign in a single, unified stream without scrambling to make sure you post to every page.

Step 2 – Track Your Brand Mentions

First, let’s talk about what a brand mention is. Basically, whenever someone (with a public account) mentions either your company name or another one of your “brand keywords” (more on those later) on a social media platform, that’s a brand mention, and you should probably know about it. By keeping an ear to the wind, you can know what your fans do and don’t like about your business, which in turn gives you the opportunity to better cater to the needs of your customers.

So how do you pick your brand keywords? We recommend selecting your brand keywords based on variations of your business name or specialized, branded products and services you offer. Some online services allow you to target these branded keywords to specific locations so that you can see what people are saying about you in certain areas. So, for example, if Search Influence were a franchise throughout Louisiana, we would want to include branded keywords for “Search Influence” that are targeted in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, etc. It’s worth noting that if the user has not updated their settings to allow for location services to locate them, this feature will not apply.

Some online services, like Sprout Social, even allow you to monitor for the tone you’re interested in hearing. So if we only wanted to know the positive things people were saying about our company (which is not necessarily recommended), you could change your settings accordingly with the simple addition of a “:)” at the end of your brand keyword.

Step 3 – Respond to Your Fans and Followers

Your customers are bound to have questions, complaints, and praise for you. At times, this may feel like a lot to respond to, but the best way to garner a strong following is to build a relationship with your customers.

In fact, a recent study found that customers who engage with companies via social media spend 20–40 percent more money with those companies, and that nearly one-third of customers turn to branded social media pages on Facebook to ask product questions. Further, 71% of people who have a positive customer service experience through social media recommend the brand to their peers.

So what’s a franchise to do? Tracking mentions helps, but having all of your direct messages, wall posts, and Tweets in one unified stream can take the stress out of being a responsive company. Perhaps one of the best features of Sprout Social is their convenient Smart Inbox, which is found under the “Messages” tab of the website. Here, you can view all “messages” from your connected profiles on a single screen. Messages, in this case, can consist of Twitter mentions, Twitter direct messages, retweets, new Twitter followers, Facebook wall posts, Facebook comments, and Facebook private messages on any and all of your profiles. Their filtering options allow for you to adjust which profiles, brand keywords, and types of messages you want to see.

Step 4 – Learn from Reports

As with all aspects of business, it’s important to know your clientele. A number of online services offer ways for you to keep track of how your franchise’s social media pages are doing through monthly reports. Reports allow you to dig into profile and post-level insights, and they also let you see trends across messages and responsiveness to better understand your brand’s performance.

There are a number of different reports out there, so you can choose to focus on the exact parts of your social media campaign that you’re most interested in. For instance, certain profile reports allow you to dive into some specific statistics on your specific platforms and pages. They can also provide information on your total likes/retweets, amount of new fans/followers, the breakdown of your impressions, fan demographics, how people are sharing your content, and a breakdown of each piece of content you post.

Other reports focus more on the trends related to your Twitter accounts and offer insight into what’s being said to your brand on Twitter—and who’s saying it. See the topics and hashtags that are frequently mentioned with your brand, chart relationships between them, and keep an eye on the people and brands that frequently mention you—as well as those that are mentioned with you.

Get Social

Managing your brand’s voice on social media can seem overwhelming at first, but it only takes a few steps to ensure a more consistent voice—and the best part is that these steps can be taken right from your central base. If working through the complex process of multi-location and franchise marketing still seems overwhelming, contact Search Influence to streamline your marketing strategy.