Social Media 101
Too many platforms, too little time? Start with the basics to begin building your franchise’s social media presence.
By Karen Spaeder, Rallio
As a franchisor, you likely know the importance of having a social media presence for your business — both at the corporate and franchisee level. However, if you’re new to social media, it can be difficult to know where to start.
With so many different platforms, where should you focus your energies? First off, know that it’s important to have a presence on all the major platforms. According to the Pew Research Center, roughly seven out of ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news, share information and entertain themselves.
That being said, each platform varies in terms of demographics and usage. As such, you’ll need to approach each platform a little differently for the greatest impact.
Facebook remains one of the most widely used social media platforms, with Pew reporting that approximately three-fourths of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day. No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a place for your business on Facebook.
There are ways to generate organic engagement on Facebook, such as posting hyper-local content like real-life photos and videos. However, businesses that advertise tend to have a wider reach and increase their following and engagement.
How to use it:
Create or claim business pages for corporate and for each location (business pages are separate from personal pages.
Syndicate branded corporate content to locations.
At the location level, post photos and videos, customer testimonials, special promotions, local events and other types of local content.
Initiate demographic-specific campaigns, boosted and sponsored posts, job listings and events to increase reach, generate leads and grow the number of followers.
Respond to all your reviews.
For eye-catching images and videos, Instagram is the place to be, especially if your target demographic is 35 and under. Although Instagram recently made some changes where the number of “likes” on posts will no longer show, those likes aren’t the only success factor. Rather, other data points like click-through rates, engagement and followers are more telling as to a brand’s success on Instagram.
How to use it:
Post visually appealing photos and videos with great captions.
Tag people and use hashtags to increase discoverability.
Hold contests — either on your own or in tandem with complementary brands — that increase your following and engagement.
Use Instagram Stories to post ephemeral content, increasing the urgency to view and interact with the content.
Include “shoppable” posts — particularly powerful for product-based businesses.
Again, boost and sponsor posts.
With LinkedIn, you have access to a massive network of like-minded professionals, many of whom are senior-level decision makers. Pew reports that more than 50 percent of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, putting you in a position to connect with elite experts and thought leaders.
LinkedIn also has both personal and business pages, but the business page will be used by the franchisor, not individual locations. The business page will help to attract potential partners, franchisees and employees. Individual franchisees can (and should) have a personal LinkedIn page to engage with various groups and pages.
How to use it:
As the franchisor, create a corporate business page that serves as a professional social space for your brand.
information and updates to showcase your expertise.
Engage with LinkedIn groups, keeping the focus on providing value rather than selling.
Tag other businesses anytime
you mention them in updates.
Twitter is designed for short-form copy, where each “tweet” must be no more than 280 characters. In just a sentence or two, you can allow your personality to shine in clever commentary as well as informative and helpful tweets.
Franchisees, should they choose to be on Twitter, may find it more challenging to build a local community on the platform. However, franchisors can find success on Twitter by creating a corporate profile and focusing on brand awareness and lead generation.
How to use it:
Share industry-related images, links and GIFs.
Use hashtags to jump into timely conversations.
Join “tweet chats” to showcase your expertise and gain new knowledge.
Follow up with customer service questions and feedback.
Engage by replying to posts and retweeting content.
Check the trending hashtags for ideas of what to post.
Follow key industry leaders.
Don’t Ignore Other Platforms
The platforms above are just a few of the major players. There are many others that may be worth exploring, such as:
YouTube: The second-largest search engine behind Google; a video-sharing platform where you can create a channel for your business and upload long- or short-form how-to, informational, inspirational and funny videos.
Pinterest: An idea-sharing and shopping destination where users create “boards” based on different topics, in which they can “pin” various links.
Snapchat: A photo- and video-sharing platform popular among younger audiences, focused on ephemeral content shared between users and via Stories.
Any social media platform can work well with the right approach and advertising strategy. With trial and error, you can learn which platforms resonate best with your brand and your franchisees. Additionally, expect employee advocacy to play a huge role in social media going forward — where your employees become loyal advocates and post content by and about your brand.
By taking an active part in your brand’s social media strategy, you can help franchisees succeed. Ultimately, you’ll be helping the entire brand.
Karen Spaeder is the Vice President of Communications at Rallio, a top supplier of social media technology and agency services for franchise organizations. Find out more about Rallio here.