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How can Social Media Help New Franchise Launch?

Social media can help new franchisors to create the buzz necessary for the launch of their franchising concepts… and for attracting franchisee candidates.

New franchise launch 2.0

New franchise launch 2.0

I have just written an article on my other business blog, Noobpreneur.com, about social media ROI. To my surprise, 5 minutes after I posted the article, I received 2 comments. Both of them manage social media activities for small business clients, and one of them is actually helping with the social media of a newly-launched franchise, Naples Tomato – a popular local restaurant in Naples, Florida (read the press release.)

In my Noobpreneur.com blog, I question whether the social media have a justifiable ROI (return on investment) or not. Both of them are positive about the social media impact on small business (including franchises.) To quote the comments:

As a former Chamber Exec, I can say that small businesses are truly missing the boat if they don’t figure out how to engage in social media.

– Mary Kurek, Professional Networker-PR & Social Media Specialist

One of my small-business clients, a popular restaurant in Naples, Fl, began a small social media program in April… The program has been well worth the investment — in fact, far beyond what we anticipated… Coincidentally, Naples Tomato just today announced that it will offer franchises. The social media program will be an important part of our marketing.

– Janice brown, Janice Brown & Associates, Inc.

Apparently, social media can help new franchise launch, largely in creating buzz, attracting customers, enhancing reputation and building brand. The question is, how?

How exactly social media can aid the launch of new franchises: A case study

First of all, consider this diagram, courtesy of Intersection Consulting (I also use this for my Noobpreneur.com article):

Social media ROI

Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, can help you with the above: Efficiency, reputation, differentiation, and so forth… including opportunity creation and immediate revenue.

Naples TomatoFor a case study, let us explore what Tanya Fox of Naples Tomato, who manages the social program for the restaurant, do to maximise the ROI of their social media activities in her interview with Ms. Brown I mentioned above.

What she did for Naples Tomato is building buzz (and customer base) on Twitter (@naplestomato – 5100+ followers) and Facebook (facebook.com/naplestomato – 215+ fans), and managing reputation by tracking customers’ feedback and reviews from OpenTable (224 reviews, 4.5 stars), Naples Tomato Google Maps’ Place page (39 reviews, 3.5 stars), Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zagat, and Chowhound. All of those were started in March 2009.

The ROI?

Dozens of new guests who found Naples Tomato online, mainly referred by Twitter and OpenTable. But those are not the biggest upside. Tanya explained that the biggest ROI is on the business operations, where Feedback and reviews are kings – she further explains, “It’s like having 200 mystery shoppers watching us every day.”

What’s the meaning of all those?

With established social media presence, creating buzz for a newly franchised established business is made easy. What’s more, franchisees of the new franchise will be able to enjoy the benefit of low cost but new, effective, marketing and branding media.

What’s more, not only guests, social media can attract franchisee candidates, especially those who are active (and avid) social media users – those who understand the power of social media.

ROI-wise, Naples Tomato’s 7-month effort is already paid off even before the franchise concept launch.

Any social media success stories in franchising? Please share yours by commenting on this article.

Ivan Widjaya
Social media for franchising

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