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Why franchises must use social media debate

Written by Frank Milner on Monday, 11 February 2019. Posted in People

Awesome social media strategies can bring both budding franchisees and customers closer to your brand

Why franchises must use social media debate

Do people really use social media in the franchise buying process? There are no two ways about it – yes they do. This means us franchisors must adapt our marketing strategy to ensure we’re getting ourselves onto people’s device of choice – whether that’s a smartphone, tablet or the old-school desktop. With a recent survey indicating that 41% of franchisors find social media particularly important for franchise recruitment, it’s evident that it’s being solidly implemented into the process by many. But it also poses the question: why don’t the other 59% use it? 

Some brands don’t think social media is relevant to them – B2B particularly. But that doesn’t mean social media should be discounted altogether. Social media is defined by the Oxford Dictionary of Social Media as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” We can no longer limit our perception of social media to the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Sure, social media includes the usual suspects but don’t forget about Twitter. The once mighty platform, now often overlooked, is still a great tool for producing and sharing bite-sized content. LinkedIn, which many consider to be strictly business, has morphed into a place to share blog content, expert advice and is perfect for networking. Google's recent Google My Business project brings relevant information to people in their local area. Curating content for all of these platforms can present your opportunity to prospects with even the most remote web search. I’m not saying that people use social media to directly buy a franchise – that would be absurd – but it certainly helps. Social proof, exposure to the brand, being part of a community and building relationships can all come, in the first instance, from meeting your prospects on their platform of choice. 

As we all know in this digital age, prospects like to access information at a time that suits them, which usually means on a commute, on a lunch break or in the evening. Those little pockets of time present a golden opportunity. Whether it’s an interesting blog post, a thought-provoking infographic or even a fun picture designed to get shares, getting your brand in front of people will help build recognition, credibility and trust. Social media allows us to create multiple touch points around the internet which can directly influence an investment down the line. 

And that influence can be monitored. By taking advantage of even the most basic built-in reporting functions, you can easily see what works and what doesn’t. What’s getting a reaction? What’s driving audiences to your website? What’s compelling people to engage? Using this information, we can tailor our messaging to aid our marketing and PR efforts and support recruitment.

Responding to changing consumer trends and the continued rise of social media, Tutor Doctor’s strategy focuses on content creation and delivery. Research shows increasingly savvy consumers engage more with brands that provide valuable content rather than just selling. We achieve this through regular content production tailored for specific platforms. That includes infographics, videos, monthly advice blogs and we even launched our own podcast series. 

I trust that prospective franchisees will conduct their own due diligence, including checking social media platforms, before getting stuck into a more formal process. Think: employee testimonials, customer reviews and even how ‘digitally-savvy’ you appear as a brand will all form part of someone’s decision-making process.

There’s no hiding on social media, perhaps that’s what puts many brands off. Customers, employees, affiliates and prospects can - and do - have their say in the open. But if you operate ethically, demonstrate great customer support and have quality products or services, you’ve little to fear. 

About the Author

Frank Milner

Frank Milner

Having worked as a stock broker, built a successful insurance business, acted as a sales coach and then taken on a vice president role at WSI, the digital marketing franchise, Milner has an impressive and varied background in business, franchising, sales and marketing. In his current role as CEO of Tutor Doctor, the private tutoring franchise, he's seen the company grow globally to include 500 franchisees spread across the world, including the UK.

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