Social media has a pretty big impact on many Canadian franchise businesses these days, and this is true at the local and national levels. Before you hit the ground running with your franchise's social media presence, there are three things you need to know.
There are pros and cons
Social media accounts for a franchise are a potential double-edged sword. With them, you can promote your business on multiple platforms with little to no financial cost and connect to an audience that traditional media isn't reaching. You can also directly engage with customers, which helps foster brand loyalty and brand ambassadors.
The downside is probably obvious: bad reviews, even of a location other than your own, can harm the whole system's reputation. People may make untrue assumptions about your location based on complaints about another person's location. Employees interacting with customers online can also do damage if they are not trained on how to respond to customers or post online. Improper posts can harm your company's reputation, so you will need to have firm training and guidelines in place for the staff handling your location's accounts.
Be careful with resales
If you're buying an existing location, check the agreement to make sure all the login information and passwords are included for the franchisee's social media accounts, review websites and other related accounts, such as Google Analytics. You'll also need to have the ability to change this information when the previous owner's networks are closed. Ask the current franchisee to keep his or her related email accounts until you've got the new logins working.
After that is done, take a look at the content that was posted before the ownership change to ensure it still fits the brand. For now, continuing the current social media strategy may be the right move, or you might need to start fresh. Be aware that if you have to dump the existing accounts, your location will lose some of its online following, so you should only do so when the accounts are harming the business.
Know the rules for review websites
Review websites, while not always thought of when it comes to social media, do allow people to see comments from others about your business, and some review sites even permit users to interact with each other. These websites need to treated just as seriously as your social media accounts, and they can also provide invaluable feedback from your customers.
Have properly trained employees answer negative reviews, and stay on top of the terms and conditions for reviews left on these types of sites. Many of them do not police themselves, so if you do have a review that violates the website's rules, you will have to flag it for removal yourself.
Handling social media for your location will take up some time, but it's a worthy investment. Use these online tools to get your brand and your business out there.