Facebook alone has over 500 million active users spending over 700 billion minutes per month on the site, social media is one of the first places customers go to when looking for a product or service. If a business does not have an online presence, it does not exist in the consumers eyes. Research shows, consumers are becoming increasingly impatient and expect responses from social media within 30 minutes. It is vital to the success of a business that they have a current and relevant social media strategy.
There are so many benefits of having a social media presence, including:
- Search Engine Rankings
- Data Tracking
- Real Time Results
- Brand Recognition
Franchises are in a unique position when it comes to social media due to the nature of their business structure. Franchises are independently owned and operated, but still need to establish a consistent, solid recognisable brand that builds trust, and much like a website, their social media is a representation of their brand.
Franchise agreements generally include a social media policy. It is essential that all marketing materials remain consistent, a strong strategy will lead to a cohesive brand voice.
If franchisors fail to include a social media policy, and do not regulate what is posted, the brand will have many unrelated voices, this will cause the brand identity to become murky and unclear, which is less than desirable.
So how do franchisors control social media across multiple owners and locations? Here’s our guide on setting up your own social media guidelines:
Franchisors: How to set social media guidelines
Before social media was invented and as significant as it is today, franchisees had been following brand standards for many years, and were confident with the process of having all marketing material approved of before it went to print. However now with the prevalence of social media it can be difficult for franchisors to manage, without their brand voice becoming inconsistent. The social media guidelines should not be a list of what not to do, rather a list of what they should do. Remember that most franchisees are not experts in social media, so be sure to make your guidelines and advice clear and helpful.
Visuals are the most important element for brand recognition, the guide should include clear information on how to use the following: Font, Colour, Logos and Images. Franchisees have access to millions of photos on Google, which opens up the possibility of copyright infringement, as well as poor quality images which could be damaging to the brands efforts. Franchisors should provide franchisees with access to a digital image library containing approved photos.
In order to create a consistent brand, the appropriate language and tone of voice should be identified (Casual, comedic or formal for example). The tone of voice is also used to address questions, complaints and reviews should also be identified. Keeping all the same tone of voice across all franchises is key to establishing a unified brand.
Static information found in the ‘About Section’ of each platform, should be standardised and consistent across all pages. This will help customers identify it as a legitimate brand.
In order to keep an eye, and maintain consistency across all franchises regular scheduled check ins should occur. This is an opportunity for the franchisor to monitor the progress of the franchise, as well as monitor their social media to ensure it is staying within the guidelines. It is also an opportunity for them to provide encouragement and offer feedback.
The purpose of each platform should be identified, and the activities expected on the page should be clearly described.
Eg. Instagram is for posting high quality photos, and posting short snippets of day to day activity in their stories function.
Lastly, the guide should contain how franchisees are expected to engage with customers online. Outlining what comments they reply to, how to answer reviews and general day to day engagement with customers.