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Franchisors Must Use Social Media

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Franchisors need to get on the social media bandwagon. Reports that measure social media indicate that its use continues to grow and that it’s is being used by more and more people. Following is what some experts have to say about the use and effectiveness of social media and its role in franchising.

 

A new report from eMarketer for the period ending June, 2011 indicated that most adult Americans with Internet access use Facebook at least once a month, and a full 42.3% of the entire American population uses the site as of this month. All indications are that Facebook and other social media sites will continue to grow. This seismic shift in marketing venues needs to be addressed by franchisors.

Aaron Shapiro, in a recent article in The Harvard Business Review, entitled Users are the New Growth Engine cites the importance of a company knowing who their users are. Following are a few eye catching statistics and comments from his article:

“Forrester Research predicts that by 2012 half of all consumer purchases will be either transacted online or digitally driven in some way — influenced by search, social media, or emerging digital platforms like location-based services and digitally augmented store environments. “

“Fifty percent is a number that's symbolic of the rapid change that's happening in our society and economy. Part of this change is the adoption of broadband internet, smart phones, cloud computing, and social media. But the bigger shift is behavioral. The purchasing habits and attitudes of today's teenagers and twenty-somethings are completely different from those exhibited by today's mass market. This younger audience is "post-digital"; they don't remember a world that is pre-internet. They live in an always-connected, never-offline world where everything is digital, everything is social, and everything is mobile and with them all the time. Digital is their first stop for everything: their preferred place to shop, communicate, socialize, research, and be entertained. It's their preferred place for everything.”

 

A report from Buddy Media and Booz & Company indicates that 95% of companies are planning to invest more in social media. Based on input from more than 100 leading companies, the report looks at the business use of social media the platforms being used and which company departments are handling and using social media the most. Facebook (94%), Twitter (77%) and YouTube (42%) are the basis of most social media strategies, and have the highest priority

The implications for franchising are obvious: Now is the time to implement, utilize, measure and develop social media as a key component of their marketing strategy.

Nick Powills, CEO of No Limit Media Consulting a social media consulting firm that specializes in franchising has shown how social media can be a cost-effective and successful method for recruiting qualified franchise prospects. According to Powills, Facebook can be utilized to attract qualified franchise candidates more effectively than the traditional franchise advertising portals. Facebook can be used to pre-qualify franchise candidates making the franchise sales process and costs to recruit highly productive.

Warren Sukernek, social media expert states: “Don’t expect a case of build it and they will come. Sukernek compared it to building a brick-and-mortar store and not putting a sign on the outside. You’ve got to promote it. Cross promote your web site with the pages you set up on social media sites. Warren Sukernek advised integrating these social media sites into your business’ offline activities. For example, a retailer should list their fan page URL and Twitter name along with its company’s web site.” Sukernek said small businesses think that if no one is talking specifically about their company on social networks, they don’t need to be there. He disagrees.

Finally, for some simple strategies for implementing and managing a social media program read Social Media Marketing: A Small Business Primer at http://www.lauraroeder.com/social-media-marketing/

The use of social media continues to grow and franchisors need to implement their social media strategy. As is the case with advertising, franchisors need to evaluate and measure the results of their social media programs and adjust when necessary.

© 2011 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com

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