By Bernard Perrine
Q: Why is social media important today for franchised businesses?
Social media gives you the power to localize your message in your own backyard. Franchisees can take the power of a regional, national or international brand and make it relevant to the community in which their business operates.
Businesses need to look at social media in terms of return on investment (ROI), not just as a ‘brand voice.’ Monetization is important, as time is a precious commodity that franchisees shouldn’t be spending on anything that doesn’t contribute—either directly or indirectly—to the bottom line.
Twitter, especially, is a public forum where businesses can listen to users’ intent at the local level and then convert those users into customers through real-time conversation. Software can help businesses find these potential customers and help them solve their problems, making for an easier sale.
Q: What are some examples of how well-managed social media can achieve specific results?
Engagement is the key to success with social media. By listening to what individuals are saying, businesses can enter one-to-one conversations with people who are looking for specific products and services. The goal is to surprise and delight the customer.
A clothing retailer, for example, can reply directly to a user tweeting, “Going clothes shopping this weekend,” with “Let us make your shopping a little sweeter: here’s a 50% off coupon for your purchase,” with a link to an e-coupon. This provides a call to action that can convert the Twitter user into a customer.
Not every social media platform is right for every business and it is important to target your audience by finding out who is interested in your franchise’s products or services. Employees can also serve as brand ambassadors by liking, retweeting and sharing company information through their own channels.