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How to Use Social Media for the Benefit of Your Franchise

Franchising on social media

Franchising on social media

With all the hypes surrounding social media, not to mention the battle in popularity between Twitter and Facebook, one question arises: Will social media make a difference to franchising? If so, how to use it for the benefit of your franchise?

An early answer to the former question: Social media is making a difference to franchising, right here, right now.

From my experience with social media, if you don’t know what you are doing, joining and be active with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media are only a waste of time, or at least a fun thing to do for the fun’s sake.

Here are some steps to use social media to the fullest for the benefit of your franchise.

First step: Know the reason why you use social media

Firstly, you don’t want to join social media for the wrong reason – Joining because other franchisees or franchisors do it is one of the worst reasons.

You don’t want to waste your already-limited time on social media, unless you want to use social media for fun only. The question to answer: Will the social media benefits my franchise? Just because your competitors join Facebook doesn’t mean you are losing your competitive edge.

Second step: Know which social media to do what

You should learn what the difference between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media.

Quite often, what you really need is to join franchising, business, or entrepreneurship online forums. Social media are different: Their main purpose is to build a community (you can’t build a loyal community with forums) – a community that will evangelise, buzz and fave your franchise to their very own network, and convert your fans/followers and “passer-bys” into customers or clients.

In my own experience, Twitter is great for transmitting your message across to thousands quickly, but lack the sense of community. In the other hand, Facebook is great to build a community, but need time and effort to build a strong community.

Third step: Join social media and build a community

The next logical step is to join a social media site, and learn what you can do with all the features to help you build your franchise.

When you already mastered the basic but important features, start by fan or follow others that have similar interest to you and/or in the market you target. An example: If you are a fast food restaurant franchisee, you might want to fan/follow other fast food franchisees or someone who is related to franchising. Moreover, you might want to target students, pitching them to fan/follow you.

Fourth step: Add value to your community by knowing what they need and want from you

Your community wants to know your updates and love any special, fan/follower-only treatments you might offer. Your community also wants to have a form of relationship with you – A hint of personal updates could be very effective. Information-only is nice, but a gift or two wouldn’t hurt.

Letting them know about your new products launch or special promo will keep them updated on what’s going on with your franchise business. Offering discounts for your community (make them valid only for members) is also a great way to attract new customer and get you buzz your business need (Hint: tell-a-friend program is always effective, especially in social media.)

Fifth step: Convert fans or followers into customers

The last but arguably the most important step of all: Conversion.

You need to follow through – Say a thanks (a sincere one, that is) is the most simple, yet effective way to let your community know you are grateful for their continuing support.

Better yet, offering something as your thank-you gift can create a “mental hook” that attach your community to you and your franchise, in a way that they will actually buy from you and recommend you to their network.

Ivan Widjaya
Social media for franchising

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