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How Franchisees Can Use Social Media to Connect With their Local Markets

By Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Learn how social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can help franchisees to increase customers and sales. Most franchisees can’t have their own franchise branded websites and must rely upon the franchisor site. Social media sites can be an effective tool to complement the franchisor website.

With Facebook reaching 500 million users globally and other major social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn also enjoying a large share of the social media pie, it may seem counterintuitive to suggest that franchisees can use social media to connect with their local markets.

In fact, it’s just the opposite.  Even with only a website for the franchisor and no individual’s websites for the franchisees, local franchisees can harness the power of the Internet to connect with their local markets.

Let’s take an imaginary example to illustrate how this could work:

You are a sandwich shop franchisee in a neighborhood in Los Angeles.  Tuesdays are always your slow day and you’d like to increase business on that day.

Step 1:  Set up an optimized Facebook page (formerly know as a fan page, which is separate than a profile page) with your location in the title of your page. Note that Facebook (business) page titles are searchable inside and outside Facebook.

Step 2:  Set up an effective Twitter profile and learn how to share information on Twitter instead of just pushing out sales messages.

Hand out a flyer with each sandwich purchased at your shop announcing your Facebook page and your Twitter account. 

On the flyer invite people to sign up on your Facebook page with their email address in order to get a coupon for a free sandwich.  (You will then be able to use email marketing techniques to keep in front of them.)

On the flyer also invite people to follow you on Twitter to find out about last-minute specials that you only offer on Twitter.

Now you are ready to begin using effective social media marketing to stay in front of your customers and increase business.

On a Tuesday announce on Twitter that each Tuesday you will offer a special free item with purchase just for that day.  This Tuesday the free item is [fill in the blank] and when getting it people must mention they saw the offer on Twitter.

Next Tuesday you have a different special free item, and you are now creating excitement with your customers for Tuesdays to come around so they can see what’s on offer for that day.

Then you can create similar social media marketing activities on your Facebook page.

The beauty of all this is that you now have an email permission-based list of targeted people who are already customers and thus the most likely to re-visit your sandwich shop.

And, of course, with strategic planning, you can utilize these loyal fans to recruit new customers for you.

If you’d like to see how an email permission-based system works on a Facebook page, sign up for the free “Power of 3” report that I offer at my company’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/powermarketing (see the left-hand side of the page).  You’ll get the free Twitter report as soon as you confirm your email request (this is called a double email optin system).

© 2010 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic Power Marketing.  For more information on how social media marketing can help franchisees, see http://www.millermosaicllc.com/franchisor-franchisee/ 

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