Social media marketing is a great way to build your brand, get your company’s voice and values out to the public, promote your products and services, and connect with current and prospective customers. In 2021, almost 92% of U.S. marketers used social media in their marketing efforts. However, franchise networks face unique challenges when using social media, as the sheer number of stores, local handles, and stakeholders can result in a fragmented, incohesive brand presence.

Of course, every franchise business is different, which requires personalized efforts. However, some universal practices can help you determine the franchisor and franchisees’ roles in social media marketing and maximize your franchise brand’s digital footprint.

Create a national vs. local social media strategy

Franchises have the power to reach a national and local audience. With your national social media presence, audiences can learn who you are as a brand, your core values, what services/products you offer, your brand voice, and so on. At this level, you can attract customers on social media at a larger scale, which helps establish and promote your brand identity. However, one of the greatest assets of franchising is the power of your local footprint, with individual locations’ social media handles offering multiple customer touchpoints and a strong geographic presence within social platforms.

With physical franchise locations often spread out among various neighborhoods and towns, your social media marketing strategy should emphasize those communities, and one way to do so is with local pages/accounts. Rather than relying on one national account or page to represent your entire franchise, recognize the benefits of creating multiple pages or accounts that represent each franchise location. By doing so, you can reach audiences who live in each community, build better customer relationships, and help tailor relevant content to customers (such as local offers, changing store hours, etc.), all of which can help translate customer interactions from online to in-store engagement.

Creating a brand presence (aka the main social media handles for your business) is still very important, as it acts as the first stop prospective customers often make to find out more information about your business as a whole. Meanwhile, local social handles should focus on speaking directly to community members with content that is focused on what’s happening at their particular location and/or with their local teams. This also helps create much more engagement because of the relevancy to their local audience.

Choose Your Local Platform(s)

If managing multiple social handles for every location seems a bit daunting, it helps to first determine which platform(s) a local presence would result in the most engagement. Facebook is a popular choice for many franchises, as users often search that site for a local business’ operating information (hours, address, etc.) and reviews. Local Facebook pages also help with search engine optimization (SEO), since Google highly indexes Facebook content and uses it as a primary source within their results page. Facebook has also created a way for multi-location businesses to structure and manage their Facebook pages all in one place. Facebook Locations allows you to access all your Facebook store pages under one brand page, which lets you manage them much more easily than a platform like Twitter, which would require you to know the password for each local handle.

Resources, ease of scalability, and your franchisees’ digital acumen should all be factored into your decision when choosing the social media network(s) that will result in the greatest return on investment/resources.

Establish Clear Roles/Teams

Will your local social media handles be managed by each franchise location or is there a national marketing team in charge? If the franchisees are doing their own posting, what training and creative assets do they have access to? Are they responsible for posting only, or also for replying to their comments/reviews/direct messages? These kinds of questions are important to ask because any confusion during this stage may lead to confusion later when creating content and managing local social media initiatives.

Before allowing franchisees to access local handles, determine their individual strengths and familiarity level with each social platform. The lead of each social page/account should first have a deep understanding of the business, including its values and brand guidelines that are in place. This will vary for each franchise but having open communication and ongoing training will help ensure a consistent social media presence across the entire brand.

Follow branding guidelines and practices

Beyond social media, franchise locations often follow identical practices that have been established within the business concept/strategy created by the franchisor. For example, brand colors and logos are consistent among each franchise location because that is what has been established by the brand. The same goes for certain services – one location likely wouldn’t offer a completely different set of services than another. The same consistency should be applied to social media.

Any franchise location that is active on social media and managing their own posting needs to follow pre-established branding guidelines to ensure consistency. While this can mean maintaining uniform logos and designs, it also extends to following the brand’s voice and vocabulary. Staying “on-brand” is key no matter how many local social media handles exist.

Adjust your posting schedule

Don’t forget about time zones! If you are a franchisor who is posting to multiple local handles on the franchisees’ behalf, it is important to keep in mind the location of each franchise before posts are made public. If you schedule a post for 9 A.M. EST, be ready for it to show up at 6 A.M. in locations that are in PST. Determine what times work well for posting, which can vary depending on the location.

Engaging with current and prospective customers on social media is a great way to connect and promote your business. For franchises especially, creating hyper-localized content can help create better customer engagement and lead to overall great rates of success both digitally and in-store.

If you are interested in franchising with Dogtopia, check out our FAQ page that provides further details about our franchise system. If you would like to inquire about owning a Dogtopia franchise of your own, please fill out our online inquiry form.