Tag Archives: Franchising

How can a Franchise be successful with Social Media Marketing?

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Tasti D-Lite celebrated their 25th birthday last week in NYC. I joined BJ Emerson, VP Technology, and the CEO, Jim Amos, to celebrate.

Social Media has played a huge role in the growth of the Tasti D-Lite franchise and I wanted them to share some advice and tips for other franchisors or business owners on how they can be successful with Social Media.

BJ Emerson suggests that the content needs to come from the local level, not the corporate office, in order for your business to be relevant online for your customers. You need to get your franchisees involved, provide them with training and give them the tools to be successful.

Jim Amos says that the most important factor at the strategic level is that you want to be involved in the dialogue online. A company needs to be willing to be transparent and talk with the people who are already talking about your brand.

What advice do you have?


The intersection of Direct Mail & Social Media

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As I observe many major brands’ social media strategy to gain “likes” and followers on platforms such as Facebook & Twitter, I see a number of correlations between Direct Mail & Social Media marketing.

First, some grounding. I have been in direct mail & franchising for the past 16 years and here’s what I see:

• Direct Mail arrives in your physical mailbox whether you asked for it or not.

• Social Media requires your permission.

• Direct Mail can be most effective when used to either acquire new or retain existing customers.

• Social Media can be most effective to retain existing customers and perhaps ask for referrals.

• Direct Mail has a physical & resource cost.

• Social Media has a resource cost.

• Direct Mail incentive strategy typically is to try the product/service.

• Social Media incentive strategy typically is to gain permission to market to or branding.

So it seems to me there is a fair amount of effort for Social Media to get to the same place Direct Mail starts!


Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Social Media marketing, I simply believe that there are significant considerations that need to be made and thus opportunities to use both more effectively and in concert with one another.

Let’s look at it from a consumer perspective: They are conducting their normal digital life and they stumbled upon the “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter” messaging that, by the way, EVERYONE is asking for. If there is a relationship and at least positive sentiment, the click may occur and the marketing can begin. If there is no relationship, perhaps an incentive might get them to click. A discount, a coupon, a cause, etc. Many marketers have gone to this tactic and the research indicates this can work, but with potential negative consequences if not done correctly. Here’s another crossroad with direct mail. If you can incent the consumer to try the product (remember this is critical), have a positive experience, and then tell people about it, you’ve won the day.

I believe consumers are becoming fatigued with liking or following brands, having them show up in their social media streams, and will only do so with products they love. So you better show them the love when they do sample your product.

Opting-in-to-be-marketed to is so 2011. Get your holistic strategy together and use a combination of marketing tools to achieve the ultimate goal of having a large, loyal, and loving customer base for your product or service.

Here’s what I would do:
Launch a direct mail campaign targeted (did I mention I work for Valpak). Put a good incentive together to get people to try your product. When they do, ask them, no REALLY ask them to follow you on social media. Ask them to do it right there on their smartphone. Give them a follow up (lesser) incentive to do so in combination with the incentive that brought them in. Or give them a business card or magnet to remind them to do so when they get home.

Then with these new found customers, begin to add value to their social media lives by creating content that doesn’t try to sell them anything but remind them of your product or service. Ask them occasionally to refer you to their friends within their social media graph. Depending on your type of business, offer them an incentive to pass along to their friends. Schedule this out and stagger the marketing messages with normal social media content. For some examples of how to schedule these, read the Engage121 blog or watch this webinar.

At the same time, of course, you are doing the fundamentals of listening and responding to customers who use the platforms to talk about your product/service or the category you operate in.

If you have a customer, you’re much more likely to get them to “like” or “follow you” and the way to get customers, is through acquisition marketing strategies. Direct mail of course is just one tactic to use.


-  Todd Leiser, CFE; Director/Franchise Sales Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Inc.

Franchisees & Social Media: Driving national brand standards to the local level

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Traditional wisdom says that consistency is the key to building a brand. But we’ve found that when it comes to franchising, maintaining consistency at the local level is an ongoing challenge.

True, in a national franchise model, there are many messages which just wouldn’t make sense coming from the brand at a national level, or from every affiliate in the network even at a local level. That is especially true in the real estate industry in which local market conditions drive the business.

But with the advent of social media, brands and franchisees have the best of both worlds, leveraging new platforms to deliver content that is both branded and local.

ERA Real Estate weighed in on this topic earlier this summer at the 2012 Consumer Business Relationship conference, which took place in Boston, Mass.  Historically an academic conference, this year the agenda featured a panel of practicing marketing professionals who brought to life many of the concepts studied and researched at the academic level.

The panel, which included ERA Real Estate’s brand and social media manager Carla Hayes, explored the dynamics of the consumer/brand relationship within a franchising model.  A portion of the discussion revolved around social media for its ability to amplify the brand experience at both the national and franchisee level.

In our experience, social media can help build brands because of its ability to penetrate at the hyper-local level with market-appropriate content, giving franchisees a chance to strengthen customer relationships, promote themselves as a local resource and establish their expertise. Consumers engage with information they need, on a platform that is accessible on their own time, and that maintains and increases brand loyalty by marrying the cache of a global franchise with the local expertise of our franchisees. 

So how do you get the right mix of brand and local content on individual franchise social media profiles? Providing brokers with access to a nationally managed content library as well as a scheduling tool that simplifies the process and saves time has allowed us to drive standards to a local level while giving brokers the chance to be unique to their local market.  We also have the ability to disseminate system-wide posts from the national office to augment local efforts and extend the brand into spaces we normally would not penetrate.

One of the great things about deploying a national social media strategy at ERA Real Estate is that social media by its very nature is consistent with the core values of the ERA community: from our founding, our franchisees have established a culture of collaboration like no other brand in the real estate industry. In addition to facilitating connections to customers, social media also allows our franchisees to connect and keep up with each other, further strengthening that which has served to distinguish us for more than 40 years.   From that perspective, what’s not to “Like”?

-Charlie Young, President & CEO, ERA Franchise Systems LLC

Weekly Social Media Roundup, April 6th

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Today’s recap consists of Google’s Project Glass, you can check out the cool video here: http://youtu.be/9c6W4CCU9M4 & the upcoming FranCamp. FranCamp is a must-attend for those businesses who have multiple locations, such as franchisors. You can learn more here: http://fransocialcamp.com/

What did you learn this week in social media?

We’re here to help . . . Facebook

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It has been almost a year since Facebook announced support for “Parent/Child” businesses. The businesses this functionality targets, which include franchise companies, multi-store retailers, dealerships and the like, are typically nationally branded companies that distribute through local outlets. In other words, the very same companies that are just like many of our clients here at Engage121.







While Facebook widely publicized its support of Parent/Child pages at the recent International Franchise Association conference in Orlando, this functionality is not yet well understood. So, let’s clarify what Parent/Child can do:

• Perhaps most importantly, the administrator of a corporate (“Parent”) page can efficiently upload multiple local outlets to Facebook, automatically creating local (“Child”) pages for each of their outlets. In the past, we have had to manually create local pages. And, that was time consuming and expensive. Facebook has now made this as easy as completing a spreadsheet and hitting a button.

The Parent page is automatically linked to all Child pages. This enables some useful functionality, especially on the Parent page. For example, check-ins from all Child pages are aggregated, users can search for the location of the closest physical outlet and a tab is created detailing all outlet locations. Also, each Child page links back to the Parent, and consistency of branding is enabled among all the pages by sharing images.

Facebook provides a great start. And there is a lot we can do to help.

Let’s start with the content creation process. It is well known that social media content gets stale, fast. And, as previously noted, EdgeRank conspires against dated content by increasingly limiting the distribution of content as it ages. To complicate matters, operators of local business come to work every morning ready to sell shoes, make pizza or fix cars. They don’t come to work thinking about social media, or any other kind of media for that fact. Engage121 allows corporate teams to create content that can be localized to each local store or office, providing a continual flow of new, fresh and relevant content.

What about Facebook apps? How many local stores care to manage the development of Facebook apps? Engage121 enables a corporate team to create contests, coupons and more that each local store can customize, if desired, or post to their fan page as is – engaging their local fans with technology and sophistication equal to any of the big national brands.

And, Facebook ads are lost on most of the local stores we know. They are turned off by Facebook’s complicated interface and intimidating process. Inside Engage121, however, local stores follow a simple wizard that produces a variety of paid promotions that play an increasingly important role in today’s social media world.

My bottom line – Facebook’s Parent/Child provides targeted companies a great start. And, we can help make Parent/Child even more usable for nationally-branded companies that maintain local stores or outlets.


How do I participate in a Twitter Chat?

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Let me show you! I will be moderating a Twitter Chat on Thursday, 1.9.12, as a Q&A about the 52nd Annual IFA conference. Deb Evans, CEO Computer Explorers, will be our guest to answer any and all questions you may have regarding IFA. Deb has been involved with franchising for the last 16 years and has attended more IFA conventions/seminars than she can count!

Some of the questions you may have could be:
Will there by WiFi?
What should I wear?
What is the Taste of Franchising?

Please tweet any questions that you have regarding IFA or the IFA Tweetup. We will start at 11am EST and take the first 10 minutes to introduce ourselves and get settled in. An example of an introductory tweet is “@jennimacdonald Director of Community & Client Engagement 4 @Engage121. I have been in franchising for the last 3 years. #IFAtwtup”

We will wrap up the Twitter Chat at 11:55 am EST to leave a few minutes to say goodbye and thank Deb for sharing her experience and knowledge with us.

Please tweet any questions that you have. Once I see your tweet I will format the question as you see below. This is to make sure everyone sees the question and everyone sees Deb’s answer.

@jennimacdonald Q1. What should I wear while I am at IFA? #IFAtwtup
@debevans A1. Dress pants, a nice shirt and COMFY shoes. #IFAtwtup

DO NOT forget to include the hashtag, #IFAtwtup, in ALL of your tweets. This is the only way that your tweets will show up in the Twitter Chat stream.

Let’s get tweeting!


Franchise Social Media Summit

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I am thrilled to be speaking at Franchise Social Media Summit 2011.  As part of Social Media Week 2011, organizers Paul Segreto and Jeremy LaDuque have put together a one-day virtual conference for franchisors, franchisees, and any one involved in franchising.

Date: September 21, 2011
Time: 8am – 4pm (CT)
Place: Online and everywhere!

Here’s what you will learn at the summit:

> Why social media is different for franchising than other business models

> How to develop a social media program, including policies and procedures, specific to the franchise organization

> How to integrate new technology with traditional marketing and why you shouldn’t be afraid to do so

> Why today’s consumer and franchise candidates act differently than from years past

> How to create multiple benefits to the franchise organization through powerful brand awareness methods

> How to generate genuine interest in franchise opportunities and why a seamless transition from virtual world to in-person is essential to closing franchise sales

> Why improving communications and information sharing at all levels of the franchise organization is necessary for stability and future growth

Summit Speakers:

Keynote: Lon Safko, author of The Social Media Bible

Jon Carlston, Vice President, Process Peak

Joe Caruso, President, Capital Area Franchise Association

BJ Emerson, VP Technology, Tasti D-Lite

Jack Monson, Vice President, Engage121, Inc.

David Murray, Social Web Communications Director, re:group

Lee Plave, Partner, Plave Koch PLC

Nick Powills, CEO, No Limit Media Consulting

Debra Vilchis, COO, Fishman Public Relations

Paul Segreto, President & CEO, franchisEssentials

Jeremy LaDuque, President & CEO, Elements, Inc.

Register Here!