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Franchise Social Media Strategy Playbook

Take your customers down a new journey using social media as they interact with yourfranchise business.

We help you expand sales, create processes to improve efficiency and scale by focusing on the customer journey.

Franchise businesses are inherently social. You care about your customers more than anyone else does and you want to have conversations with them to learn more about their needs and how your service is performing for them.  Franchises use social media strategies to generate new business, grow their brand awareness and reach, and provide an awesome customer service and experience.

Playbook sections

  • Social Media Foundation For Franchises
  • Organic Content vs. Paid Advertising
  • Facebook Advertising For Franchise Leads
  • Tracking Social Media Results For Your Franchise
  • Corporate Social Media Strategies That Help Your Franchisees

The Customer Journey at your business Starts now.

How do you build value for your customers with social media?

This is the question that I always ask people when they want to use social media marketing for a franchise business.  It seems like a simple question but there are a lot of variables that come into play. Social media marketing is primarily about building connectivity – social media is your channel for conversation, it’s the way that you can share experiences and build important parts of your brand.

Where does social media fit in your conversion funnel?

Can social media be used to drive prospective customers to your franchise? Yes, it can also be a way to close the deal as prospects see that you are a thought leader in your industry. Social media is a great tool for reconnecting with past customers – especially if your business is seasonal like a roof cleaning franchise, carpet cleaning franchise, painting company, or junk removal franchise.  Seasonal businesses mean that your customers will likely need you again during a similar time of year. Utilizing strategies in Facebook, you are able to load up your contacts as a Custom Audience and show promoted posts and ads to those past customers during the time of year when they may need you again. (more on Facebook Custom Audiences Below)

Will Social Media drive leads for my franchise business?

Yes, however you will need to track your leads in 3 different ways.

Direct Leads – these are leads that you can directly track from social media clicks, such as a promoted post or ad on Facebook.  To do so, you will need to make sure that you have the right tracking set up on the ad channel that you are utilizing and the right tracking on your website – by way of setting up a Facebook Pixel on your landing pages.  The advantage with direct lead tracking is that you can relatively successfully track ad spend versus leads or revenue generated.

Indirect Leads or Assisted Leads – When a person clicks on your ad in Facebook or finds your page and engages with your content, they may visit your website but not become a lead right away. They also may have found you through another channel like SEO or Pay Per Click Ads and are now checking out your social media channels. These leads are assisted by another channel and shouldn’t get 100% credit for the conversion. It’s important to understand that social media leads don’t live in a vacuum alone and there is usually some element of assisted conversion in another channel.

Brand Awareness Leads – If you’re a new business and you need to increase the brand awareness in a local market, no doubt you will want to run more generalized Facebook ads that include your trusted franchise brand and your local contact information. Tracking conversions on brand awareness campaigns is tougher and as a business owner you may need to allocate some percentage of social media advertising spend towards brand awareness and accept the fact that you can’t directly correlate a lead to the ad spend.  However, all is not lost… setting up processes in your company where your employees ask where leads originated can help you understand more about the effectiveness of your brand awareness campaign.

 

Read about how we worked with retail customers to grow their business.

Social Media Foundation For Franchises

As we start to explore the different social media channel marketing strategies for a franchise, ask yourself this important question:

How involved do I want to be and will I realistically be in my social media presence?  

As a business owner, you likely have plenty of things going on during the day that will pull your time away and remembering to post to Facebook is just one more thing that can take away time from other important business activities. If you want to be involved in your social media presence, great! We recommend a blend of involvement and hiring an agency like us to manage your strategy and daily activity. We are set up with tools and measurement metrics that can make your social media presence more efficient and better understood. Some of those tools allow you to automate and post-date your updates, while some will show the local influencers that you should connect with on a personal level.

We find through our experience that about 55% of franchise owners want to be somewhat active (a blend of external management + agency management) in social media, while about 27% don’t want to be active at all. The rest manage their social channels internally, often using their office staff for day to day management.

 

Deciding on your important social media channels & engagement

Determining which social media channels your franchise should use is important. You may find that many of your customers simply don’t use Twitter or that your more engaged customers use Instagram.  Facebook seems to be a required staple, but should you build out a LinkedIn profile to help your business with hiring? Perhaps! If you are a senior care franchise, then you likely will need to be actively hiring caretakers on a regular basis – and LinkedIn can be a great place to start.

Consistency is important for your local franchise to be successful in social media channels – big gaps show that your company isn’t too engaged and active. Over posting can be harmful too, especially if it’s overly sales oriented.  Listen to your customers and learn what they are interested in seeing in a social media channel. Different channels will have different content opportunities and engagement levels – for instance Instagram is mostly imagery and if you have a beautiful story to tell with images, then you’re in luck!

Determine the content and messaging that your social media channels use

It’s easy to post articles on other websites to Facebook, but you are sending traffic to other websites and you are not getting the brand exposure opportunity for your franchise.  We recommend breaking your social media post types into buckets and then spreading them out by week or day within a week. The first bucket is easy, it’s business updates and people- think about the news that you might want to share to current or potential customers, this is a great channel.  Also, use social media to connect your people to customers by showing a personal side of them and their own stories. The second bucket can be industry news – you will find industry news that is relevant to share in social media channels, either on your own or it will be sent to you by other franchise owners, your corporate marketing team, or a marketing agency that you are working with.  A third bucket can be lead generation activities – these posts can be thought provoking and are intended to have customers engage with you more beyond social media. And finally, we have the forth bucket, Fun. Yes, Fun. Social media isn’t a formal channel and you should have a lot of fun with what you’re doing! Throw-Back-Thursday or Motivation-Mondays are perfect examples of fun posting opportunities, and don’t forget important holidays or dates.

It’s critical for a local franchise to integrate their marketing channels so that they can do more with less resources and time. If you are writing a blog post, definitely share it on social media and reference it in your next newsletter. Perhaps that piece of content would also work well as a Pay Per Click landing page, test it out!

We have worked with senior care franchise businesses to grow customer leads & improve hiring.

Organic Content vs. Paid Advertising

Video Content in Facebook Drives More Engagement

Facebook is rewarding businesses with more visibility if they use video content versus image content.  They are doing this because they have seen that people that watch videos are more engaged and well, they spend more time on Facebook.  Facebook native videos get 4X more visibility versus YouTube, or Vimeo. This visibility comes from Facebook opening up your post to more people that are following your brand.

 

Video Advertising Tips For Facebook:

  • The First FOUR seconds are where most drop-offs occur.  The 15 second mark is the 2nd largest drop off. Make sure those segments are powerful.
  • Utilize Facebook 360 Videos to show your event space in a different way.
  • Facebook Live videos are gold – they allow you to invite current followers and they also have longevity.

Size matters for your Facebook videos – think about this – Square videos take up 78% more real estate in the newsfeed for a mobile user. For this reason, we see that the average engagement of square videos is close to 2X as much for Letterbox size, and 3X as much versus Landscape size.  Custom thumbnails drive 48% more clicks across all social platforms. Also, keep this in mind, a recent study found that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound – consider captions and creative ways to get your message across that doesn’t require sound.

Facebook Lead Ads Case Study & Example

We created Facebook lead ads for a coffee franchise called Bad Ass Coffee. They are a growing franchise business that wanted to find areas to expand into and capture leads of potential coffee franchise business owners.  We knew that the potential leads needed to be higher net worth, more affluent, interested in investing and entrepreneurship and have an interest or deep passion for coffee! All of these demographic factors were able to be targeted in Facebook Lead Ads.

 

Next, we created 3 different image ads that we wanted to test out. One was the classic coffee barista pouring specialty coffee within a trendy coffee shop. The second was icon style images showing a coffee shop within a street setting. And the third was a coffee cup surrounded by coffee beans with the text “cup full of opportunity.” Can you guess which ad performed better? (more details below!)

 

Setting up the lead forms is the next task on our list – this starts with deciding what type of information you want to collect. Some thought was put into this because in reality, we’re interested in qualifying the person in many ways including income, net worth etc. However, we deciding not to ask those questions in the form (using Facebook’s demographic data we were able to target these people already), because we wanted to vet individual personal and financial situations and look for creative business partner opportunities.  Now that we know the field data that we wanted to collect – we built the lead form by adding imagery and logo information. We decided to run the ads each with a $25/ day budget over a 3 month period.

 

Can you guess which ad won?

With an average cost per lead (CPL) of $8.11, the second image (icon style images showing a coffee shop within a street setting) performed the best. Not far behind was the third image proclaiming a “cup full of opportunity” with a CPL of $9.30. The first ad with the suave coffee master was in last place with a CPL of $12.39.

 

Coffee Franchise Lead Generation Results

All ads performed well in a big picture view – the quality of the leads varied and the franchise was able to connect with different types of people. Over the next 6 months the business was able to connect with at least 15 qualified and very interested leads, discussing opportunities and moving along through the franchising process.  Through this social media channel, had 3 franchises that were either opened or purchased and a combined business value generated of over $425,000.

 

7 things to A/B test in your Facebook ads

When launching a Facebook ad for your franchise, you have a lot of options to sift through, but those options provide you with many different ways to test your ads and increase important ad metrics. Whether you want to increase the overall engagement (likes, shares, comments), brand recognition, or click through rates – try these 7 A/B Ad testing ideas.

  • People in Image vs. Just Product
  • Generic/Stock Photo or Custom Photos
  • Text Call To Action (buy, check out, sign up, subscribe, learn more)
  • Emotion & Immediacy Factors
  • Logo and Brand representation vs. none (experience focused)
  • Light colors vs. darker colors
  • Image Ad Formats like Carousel

Learn about how we worked with one of the world's largest commercial restoration companies to drive more leads.

Corporate Social Media Strategies That Help Your Franchisees

Social media strategies for level franchise marketing are important and, in our experience, it’s more about the processes and communication, than the content.  Content can be taken care of by your local franchisees, but the processes and brand cohesiveness are something that you want to make a high priority.

How can you have a strong social media strategy with franchisees?

Start with an open channel or system for sharing.  Sharing content, stories, images, videos, and other assets is a great first step. With a centralized place for these items, franchisees can get a start with their social media marketing. This also gives them a level of understanding around the brand template that they should follow for their marketing.

Feedback and data driven marketing suggestions for your franchisees can be a game changer.  When we implement a corporate social media marketing strategy for franchises, we make sure that regular emails with best practices and suggestions are being sent to each business owner.  Further, a quarterly round table or webinar can help franchisees share ideas and compare notes on which strategies are working.

Finally, a feedback loop is important. You don’t want a franchisee to go rogue and start posting things to social media that don’t represent your business and brand.  If you see off brand posts, get in touch with that franchisee and let them know that it was great to see their excitement to use social media, but we want to make sure the brand is represented well across all channels.

If you are a smaller corporate franchise, consider setting up a Facebook Business shell account. This will allow you to gain access, manage users, and see reporting for all of your connected franchise location accounts.  This also allows you to share ad sets and ad drafts.

Creating new opportunities for your franchise to find and connect with potential customers.

Learn about how we can work together to grow your franchise business and achieve your vision.

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