Social media is no longer the new marketing kid on the block. The social media landscape is maturing, which means that the approaches and tactics that worked a few years ago may not be relevant. In this edition of the newsletter we take a look at how franchisees and franchisors should think about social media.

The stats

According to a recent study by World Wide Worx South Africa’s social media landscape is rapidly developing, with Facebook now used by a quarter of all South Africans, while Instagram has experienced incredible growth in recent times. Here are some of the stats:

  • 13-million. That’s how many South Africans are now on Facebook – up from just over 9 million two years ago.
  • 10-million. The total number of South African Facebook users, who access the social network on their mobile devices.
  • 2.68-million. That’s the number of Instagram users in South Africa – growing a whopping 133% from 1.1 million in 2014.
  • 27 million. That’s how many South Africans are expected to be online by 2019. Internet traffic has also been forecast to grow six-fold – representing an annual growth rate of 44 percent.

Social media star

Leading franchise brand Nando’s have embraced social media with millions following their updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Google+ and their blog. This means that they have a social media machine pumping out images, videos and text for their social media channels. Incredibly, they have more than 3 million followers on Facebook alone. Nando’s success in the social media space can be attributed to creative content and their active engagement with their communities. Read more about their social media strategy – it’s impressive!


Digital marketing, including social media marketing, is too important to be ignored. While franchisees can’t direct how social media channels are used, they can certainly exert their influence.

1.    Control

Social media provides franchisees and their employees an easy path to embarrass a brand. This means that franchisors need to establish and enforce a social media policy. While this may seem draconian, consider that the impact of a social media faux pas from another franchisee can impact your businesses bottom-line.

2.    Local campaigns

Most franchisors don’t allow franchisees to operate their own social media pages. While this often makes sense, sometimes social media may be the perfect vehicle to execute a local campaign. This means that franchisees need to work closely with head office to make sure that local campaigns run alongside national ones. Franchisors should provide guidelines on running social campaigns to franchisees.

3.    Strategy-led

It’s easy to be ‘busy’ on social media. But this activity won’t yield business results unless it is tied back to strategy. As a franchisee, you need to be reassured that your franchisor is operating according to a social media strategy. This includes focussing on the most relevant platforms to the target audience, what type of content the target audience is interested in and working towards executing a content plan.

4.    Collaboration

Social media is not just about a company transmitting its messages to an audience. It’s about building a community around your brand. This means that collaborating with followers is critical to building engagement and brand loyalty.

5.    Resources

Engaging with customers on social media channels is a double-edged sword. Quick, appropriate feedback is lauded while sloppy social media service is not. This means that social media channels have to be manned with the aim of keeping response times as low as possible. Add to the mix that each social media channel demands a different type of content. What works for Twitter won’t work for Facebook or YouTube. This means that social media can be incredibly time-consuming! It requires a dedicated resource, whether employed or outsourced.