Franchise Development: 4 Social Media Blunders to Avoid

Author Nick Powills wrote a feature in the December 2011 issue of Franchising World about the "25 Things to Avoid When Using Social Media for Franchise Development." This "new frontier" is often something that business owners shy away from, but being that there is no cost to using these social platforms and given the mobile nature of the Internet, there really is no reason NOT to be leveraging these tools to support your business objectives. Here were a few of the key things that Powills noted about franchise development and what to avoid:
  1. Not understanding SEO as it relates to social media. Search engine optimization, or SEO, has evolved and it's not just about your Website anymore, but rather your digital footprint in its entirety - including social media. When prospective franchisees are researching business opportunities, Google is often where their journey begins. Powills rightfully points out: "If your Facebook page, if active, isn't appearing on the first page of Google, get it there."
  2. Not using Facebook tabs to communicate with leads. This powerful point hit home: "A recent Wall Street Journal story stated that 46 percent of those with a million dollars or more in investible assets are on Facebook." Ensuring that you not only establish a presence there, but also leverage custom tab functionality to enhance the experience for franchise prospects, can make a world of difference. As Powills put it, "Why wouldn't your company have a tab to increase the interaction potential?"
  3. Not merchandizing existing franchisees. Few can tell your franchise system's story better than your franchisees. Having a training program in place to get your franchisees maximizing social opportunities is so important. And an added bonus? They can help build that emotional connection with prospects and consumers alike.
  4. Not creating social policy for franchisees. Giving your franchisees the training and resources they need to leverage social media starts with a good social media policy. A policy not only ensures a cohesive strategy and consistent brand message, but can also be an opportunity to provide "best practices" and guidelines that will be helpful for your franchisees and their local teams.
In my book, I talk about our early investments in technology and innovation because this was pivotal to supporting our ambitious and aggressive plans to grow. It's a brave new world and social media and other new technologies aren't "just a fad," so this is one bandwagon on which to hop.