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Jun42018
OWNERSHIP

5 Social Media Marketing Strategies for Franchisees: The UPS Store

Franchise owners typically have pretty long to-do lists: order supplies, finish next week’s schedule, make sure employees are providing excellent customer service and all of the other tasks that come with running a business. With all those responsibilities, it can be tough to find time to market your business.

While many franchise brands provide national marketing support, local-level marketing is an important layer to complement the broader, national message. For franchise owners, social media marketing can be an effective vehicle to make sure your brand’s messaging reaches local consumers.

Why Social Media Marketing is Valuable for Franchisees

As a franchisee, establishing a robust social media presence allows you to:

  • Leverage the power of the national brand to develop trust with consumers in your market.
  • Build and expand a base of local consumers.
  • Strengthen your relationships with customers by engaging with them online.
  • Showcase your location’s products and services.
  • Promote local events, specials and limited time offers.

Social media platforms also provide franchisees access to a massive audience. More than 70 percent of internet users in the United States used social media in 2017, according to eMarketer – that’s an audience of more than 194 million people! And, depending on the platform, social media provides access to several types of audiences:

  • Looking for as much coverage as possible? Facebook is the way to go. The social media giant has almost 170 million U.S. users across a wide range of age groups and demographics, according to eMarketer.
  • Want to reach professionals and fellow business owners? Time to up your LinkedIn game. The social media platform for professionals has 133 million users in the United States.
  • Are you looking for a more engaged user base? Twitter has an active community of roughly 70 million users in the United States.
  • Need to reach younger generations? Consider Snapchat and Instagram. By the end of this year, eMarketer estimates that among internet users ages 12 to 17, 68 percent will use Snapchat and 44 percent will use Instagram on a regular basis. Even if this isn’t your target audience, you’ll be ahead of the game as channels like these often start off popular with younger demographics and gain adoption with older generations later (e.g., Facebook).

How to Use Social Media Marketing to Promote your Franchise Business

When it comes to social media marketing at the franchise level, it’s better to start small and work your way up. Here are five ways you can establish and grow the social media presence for your franchise location.

No. 1: Set up social media profiles for your location

For franchise brands, the first step for building a social presence is to have location-specific profiles set up across the various platforms. This can be handled at the franchisee level, but it works better when the brand leads the charge and sets up a parent-child relationship between the brand’s profile and each location. Luckily for franchisees, many franchise brands offer marketing and advertising support to take care of things like local social profile and listings management.

No. 2: Build your audiences by sharing content with local fans

Once your social profiles are set up, it’s time to fill them with engaging content that’s relevant to your target audiences. This can include sharing content from the brand – blogs, infographics, e-guides, etc. – or curated content from experts in your industry. Make sure to also include your own posts like event invites and business updates specific to your location.

No. 3: Use video to engage audiences

One way to take advantage of Facebook’s preference for personal content and make sure your posts reach as many people as possible is to use video, especially live video.

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook,” according to the head of Facebook’s News Feed, Adam Mosseri. “In fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”

As you create video posts, and other hyper-local content designed to generate conversation (i.e., go viral), make sure you follow the guidelines set forth by the brand. If your corporate marketing team doesn’t allow franchisees to create social media posts, try asking for some video content to increase organic engagement.

No 4: Have a conversation with your social followers

Social media marketing isn’t about just pushing information out, it’s about being a part of the conversation. Here are a few tips to help you get the process going:

  • Reply to comments on your posts, even if it’s just a simple “Thank you!” This interaction gives your business a personal feel and builds relationships with your customers.
  • Respond to reviews, especially if they’re negative, to make sure your customers know you appreciate their feedback.
  • Encourage people to interact by offering prizes and discounts for those who engage with you on social.

No. 5: Launch paid social media campaigns

Unfortunately, Facebook’s News Feed has made it tough for businesses to get the word out organically – that is, without investing money behind a post or ad.

“Recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” said Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post earlier this year. “The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media.”

To spread the word to large audiences, it might be time to look outside standard posts and consider paid ads. There’s no shortage of ways to advertise on social media sites - here are just a few examples:

  • Pay to boost standard posts. You can do this on several social media platforms. For example, Twitter’s “Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers… Promoted Tweets act just like regular Tweets and can be retweeted, replied to, liked and more.”
  • Promote offers and specials. An example of this is Offer Ads on Facebook: “Offers are discounts you can share with your customers on Facebook to encourage people to shop on your website, at your physical store, or both places… When people see your offer in their News Feed on Facebook, they can save it, like it or comment on it.”
  • Create video ads. As an ad or a boosted post, video is a great format to increase engagement, especially on more visual platforms like Instagram or Snapchat. With Instagram video ads, you can “get the same visually immersive quality as photo ads – with the added power of sight, sound and motion.”

If you need help using social media to promote your franchise location, talk to your corporate marketing team to see if there are any programs in place to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the brand’s support system. If you’re not a franchise owner but are interested in becoming one, make sure to choose a brand that offers marketing support to help you connect with consumers in your market.