Unless your head has been buried in the sand these past few years, you're likely aware of how social media is dominating communication.
Perhaps you're not aware, however, just how it also dominates business. Let's take a look:
- 91% of purchasers have made buying decisions because of an online experience.
- 78% of users purchase from brands they follow on social networks.
- 77% of companies that are online have acquired customers through social media.
Customers are also turning to social media to resolve their customer service needs rather than picking up the phone or sending an email. This means that more and more complaints are right out there in the public eye for everyone to see.
What does this mean for you? If your customers are there (which they are), you need to be there.
As a franchise, however...you need to be there in every local market. Does that mean that you literally have to have pages and profiles for every social network for every franchise? Not necessarily.
It does, however, mean that you need to be present on the platforms where your customers want to engage with you and that you need to be, at minimum, listening to the online conversations in the local markets so that you can manage customer service issues should they arise.
However, you can't stop there.
Today's franchisees are smart. They understand the importance of social media, and without guidance from you, they're going to establish a system of their own. They know that social engagement will drive business, so they will setup the pages and profiles, invest the time and make it work however they can...even if it's done badly, which despite great intentions, often it is.
Both to protect your brand and to support your franchisees, you need a franchise-wide system in place that provides guidelines and guidance that will help your franchisees leverage social media successfully.
Franchises are attractive to buyers for many reasons, one of which is the fact that they are buying into a proven model - a working system that they can duplicate for success. If social media is such a crucial component for business success today...consider how it impacts franchisees when this is not a part of the duplicatable system.
Then consider the impact on the entire franchise when franchisee after franchisee has to invent his or her own system for something the franchisor does not have in place.
This could be devastating for the brand overall.
Franchisors, are you willing to risk damage to your brand (and to your bottom line) when that same risk can be eliminated by something so simple as putting a franchise-wide social media strategy in place? It's not as big a task as you may think. The bigger task will be the major brand cleanup required down the road if you don't put such a system in place.
It's a risk that isn't worth taking.