By Natalie Veli

Social media has taken the world by storm, people were shocked when President Obama joined Twitter to reach his audience but it became the most successful tool to connect with his followers, it drew so much support and respect as it became a personal contact medium.

Social media has become a critical platform for advertising and marketing and the most cost effective exposure a franchise can get.

The first step to advertising a franchise on social media sites is to do your homework, search for information and advice on how to start up your account and what the best ways are to leverage those accounts. Search for other potential competitor’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs and websites to see what they are posting and tweeting about to get attention.

Do more than join FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn (and hundreds more), people aren’t just going to follow you automatically without knowing you are there, you need to get active and engage, create a presence and let your consumers search for your brand and want to join in on the buzz you create.

As franchisees rely solely on the franchisor’s advertising, the franchisor needs to make sure there is a platform that a franchisee can login to and promote their individual franchise. Using social media for marketing the brand can help the franchisees promote their franchises individually ensuring they have equal exposure.

The franchisor must supply templates and standards by creating a business profile account, the franchisor can give the social media spokesmen from each branch the ability to post their own tweets, posts and messages through the one social media platform by making them all administrators. This enables the franchisees the ability to connect with their target customers online, and the franchisor will have overall control of the messages being sent out.

It would be a wise decision for the franchisor to write up a social media policy that needs to be signed by the franchisees, making sure that they know what the franchisor expects from them and what is and isn’t allowed to be written about.

Franchisors need to start connecting and virtually networking with their target audience. They need to make sure that everything posted and tweeted about in social media connects solely to the business. The objective should be to stand out and be ‘that brand’ and use that to really place themselves as a ‘front of mind leader’ in that industry. All posts and tweets must tie in with brand personality, whether cheeky or conservative.

Franchisees should be active in their community and could recruit social media followers in their community with local competitions and promotions.

If used properly and placed in the right hands, social media and franchises can be the perfect combination, allowing consumers to engage with the franchise as a whole and create a better brand image.

Franchising Plus