Why wouldn’t you? I’m going to guess that your first thought is brand management. That is understandable. But, you let your franchisees market their business now and you have brand guidelines for them to follow. You provide training when they first join your franchise network, and maybe you show them how to use your email marketing system. Why not add a little training about using Facebook for business as well?
If you don’t have the manpower for training, then make sure to add some guidelines to your brand policy. Point your franchisees in the right direction for support, such as Facebook’s Help Center or Twitter’s support center. List a few good blogs for them to follow in order to learn Best Practices, such as Spin Sucks, SmartBrief on Social Media, and Mashable.
A social media policy for your franchise network would be a great addition, not only for risk management but also to keep you, the franchisor, out of trouble. There are many great templates online that you can use as a guideline, which are free to download. I would recommend having your lawyer look over the policy before you distribute it to your franchise network.
After you’ve created a ground base for your franchise system to use Social Media you will begin to see many benefits.
1. Your brand name starts showing up in search more. Social Networks are now crawled by Google, even Pinterest boards are appearing in Search.
2. You now have one more reason why someone should buy your franchise instead of your competitor’s. Not only do you provide marketing training and materials, but Social Media has provided a great network for all of your franchisees. You will have a few who are having great success, which you can use as Case Studies to grow adoption among your system. As for your competitor who doesn’t let their franchisees use social media, it shows that they are not innovative and cutting edge. It really makes you wonder where their business will be in the future.
3. Your franchisees grow their network and sales increase. Social Media allows your franchisees to become better known in their local market, more easily interact with their clients, and leverage their current clients for referrals.
4. At the International Franchise Association conference you are already on board with Social Media and you answer questions that other franchisors have since they have not yet jumped on the social train. You look like a successful, brand-focused franchise system, and are admired by other IFA members.
The real benefits of letting your franchisees use Social Media will start to show in the near future, depending on how active they are, and that is when you will see the true pay off for your time and services.
Are you still hesitant?