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How Franchises Should Manage Their Social Media Properties
You might be wondering if social media is worth it from a business perspective, and it’s a fair question. Essentially, social media can provide a handsome return on investment… if it’s done correctly.
Back in 2013, BIA/Kelsey released a report showing 23% of franchisees said their franchisors are “somewhat involved” with their local social media presence. Local franchisees have permission to use social networks like Facebook, but there are rules and boundaries around what that engagement looks like. This is the exact setup we recommend: The franchisor maintains a corporate Facebook account, and each franchisee may also have their own Location Page to maximize local social reach.
The benefits of this approach include:
- The ability to control the content being shared, which helps maintain brand consistency.
- Managing Location Pages through a main account allows for managed efficiencies, which is proven to increase performance in paid advertising.
- Ease of content management, including publication consistency (which is vital for getting the most out of Facebook and other social channels.)
- Easier marketing for franchisees — they often have good intentions to maintain their social media properties, but struggle with execution.
If you’re ready to revamp how your franchise business approaches social media, here’s how to get everything set up for success. We’ll focus on Facebook since it’s the most popular social media platform, though these principles can be applied to other platforms.
Facebook Locations page management and set-up
First, you’ll need access to Locations, which can be done here. Once you’ve done that, navigate to your business’s Facebook Page and follow these steps:
- Click “Settings” near the top right corner.
- From Settings, click on “Locations” at the bottom left of the page.
- If this is your first time adding locations, and your Page has an address, there will be a warning message asking you to remove the address from your main Page. This is how
- Facebook helps you manage locations — the corporate account will be the “parent” page, and the locations are the “children”.
- If your page has reviews and ratings, you’ll be asked to hide them or move them to a new Page.
- Clicking “Add a Location” makes it easy to add locations one at a time. From the drop down menu, you can choose an existing Page or create a new Page.
- Or, use the Import Multiple Locations tool to upload several franchisee locations from a single spreadsheet.
This brief outline of the process should help you get started, but Facebook also has more detailed instructions here (including how to set up a spreadsheet to import multiple locations.)
Understanding the value of social advertising
Now that you have Locations up and running, it’s time to harness the true power of Facebook: social advertising. With Facebook ads you can:
- Utilize powerful demographic targeting to deliver the most relevant ads to the correct audience.
- Target ads based on location, interests, and more.
- Test and refine ads, allowing for maximum performance.
- Have a national ad strategy with flexibility at the local level.
Many franchisors opt to hire a digital advertising agency to manage their Facebook accounts, especially if they want to tap into the platform’s ad network.
Should franchisees post their own content on Facebook?
Local brands have deep insights into their own communities, so it is worthwhile to give franchisees the go-ahead to post locally relevant content on their Pages. In the spirit of consistency, you might even create a “Best Practices” document that outlines:
- Suggested posting schedules.
- Ideas for posts and content.
- How franchisees should interact with national-level content (for example, suggest that they re-share content from the main business Page.)
The goal is to provide franchisees with the guidance they need to get the most out of their social media efforts. Without this support, they’re more likely to neglect their social media properties.
Tying social media into your other digital marketing efforts
Facebook advertising can get complicated, but not everything about social media requires an in-depth knowledge of paid advertising. You and your franchisees can also use social media for another helpful social tactic: re-sharing and repurposing content.
One strategy you can use is to post blogs and other content on Facebook, and then ask franchisees to re-share it on their Page to their local community of brand enthusiasts. It’s a great way to maintain a consistent posting schedule while encouraging participation amongst franchisees. As a bonus, this process represents yet another way to maintain brand consistency.