Social media is one of the best ways for franchisees to market themselves. While social media is a very powerful option for connecting with customers, plenty of franchisors have concerns related to platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Given the immediate and widespread nature of social media, these concerns are completely valid.
Fortunately, there is a way for franchises to fully harness the power of social media and simultaneously protect their brand. The key to striking this balance is to create a social media policy for franchisees. Here are some of the most important elements to keep in mind as you work on creating this policy:
The Basic Objectives of a Social Media Policy
The three basic objectives of a social media policy are branding protection, legal protection, and customer engagement. While many franchisors initially assume that their policy will take the form of a list of what not to do, that approach generally doesn’t lead to the best results. A better way to approach the development of a social media policy for franchisees is to give lots of examples of what they should do.
Best practices for desired content recommended frequency of posts and similar guidelines can be extremely helpful. By empowering franchisees while also reminding them of what to avoid, you’ll be able to give them all the tools needed to make the most of social media as a marketing platform.
Additional Tips for Developing the Ideal Policy
It’s often useful to divide a social media policy into sections that are focused on the main areas of emphasis. This often begins with brand identity. You want franchisees to fully understand exactly what your brand is all about, as well as steps they can take to protect it online. A great policy will create a set of guidelines with clear expectations of how franchisees and their employees should act on social media so that they are great stewards of your brand.
Legal protection is a good choice for the next area of emphasis within your social media policy. You’ll want to explain why franchisees cannot make statements on social media that can be interpreted as misrepresentations, including misleading or over-promising a product or service. The same is true for not disclosing confidential information about the franchise system.
The last tip we want to cover is integrating customer engagement into your policy. Useful guidelines may include describing how franchise owners can comment on reviews, thank customers, answer questions, and leverage public relations. These guidelines and examples will go a long way towards boosting the overall reputation of your franchise system.
If you want expert help crafting a highly effective social media policy for all your franchisees, be sure to take a look at how Michelle Hummel at Web Strategy Plus can help.
Michelle has been a franchise advisor for 15+ years. She also holds a valuable Internet Marketing Degree – however, with the ever-changing world of web marketing she strives to learn something new every day. Michelle can help you develop marketing, sales, and lead generation strategies that produce real results.
Michelle Hummel is CEO of Web Strategy Plus a full-service digital marketing agency focused on Franchise Marketing. She was recently nominated for the Woman-Owned Business of the Year! She’s a passionate Social Media Trainer with 15+ years of successful online business development, sales, and marketing experience.
She travels Nationwide visiting her 22 Social Media Enthusiasts Chapters she developed Nationwide delivering in-depth social media training. She also provides Social Media Certifications through founding Web Media University. A current contributing editor to The Franchise Dictionary Magazine and she has written 3 books in her series called, “The Social Media Magnet: Everything You Need to Know to Attract Customers with Social Media”, where she shares her best-kept secrets to success. She also specializes in helping Franchisors and Franchisees develop an integrated web marketing program to drive leads. She’s available for interviews via email, telephone, Skype video, news segments on location, and more. Just let her know how she can help!