Traditionally, social media is a quest for more. More likes, more shares, more engagement. However, when it comes to Facebook pages for a franchised business, less is definitely best.
Why is Facebook so important for franchise business?
With over 10 million Australians with active Facebook accounts, it's often the first place potential customers start when looking for a product or service.
Imagine then, I am one of these 10 million Australians looking for a lawn mowing service I have heard of Bob's Green Grass in passing and decide to plug it into the Facebook search function to see what people are saying about the brand. Up pops hundreds of Bob's Green Grass franchisees across the country. It's hard to know where to start – particularly if they're not able to be sorted by postcode or proximity to my home address. What's even more concerning is whichever of these individual franchisee Facebook pages I click on will deliver my first experience of the brand.
What if they don't respond?
What if they give me the wrong information?
What if I don't like the other comments on the page and decide not to engage at all?
This is why one centralised Facebook page for any franchise business is so important.
One crucial thing to note is that Facebook ads can be geo-targeted, meaning franchise territory agreements won’t be breached – which is, understandably, a huge concern for large franchise businesses.
A centralised social media presence gives you a consistent message. Most social media strategists will adopt a 'voice' for your page. It could be a 40-something lady by the name of Karen, who gives practical advice about your homewares selections. Or, a cheeky 20-something man named Tex, who keeps troublesome customers in check with his clever wit. This voice should be directly aligned with a brand, not the individuals within that brand.
Facebook pages tell your audience everything about your brand, even how long you generally take to reply to Facebook inbox messages. When you're busy running your franchise territory, responding to a Facebook query could take you hours to do. It this lag time that is displayed on your home page,sending a subliminal message that your customer service is substandard. Social media is aimed at a customer base that expects instant feedback. Ideally, a good Facebook page needs a dedicated resource who will respond to queries as they arise.
The soft sell
There's an art in the soft sell, and Facebook is the best place to do it. But not everyone has the gift to persuade someone to buy a product without shoving it down their throat. Facebook is undeniably one of the best platforms to engage, share and educate an audience without making them feel like they're being bombarded with 'buy this', 'buy that'. If a potential customer comes to Facebook looking for information about a brand but is hit with a hard sell, it's difficult to ever win them back.
The good ol' Facebook algorithm
Like most businesses, Facebook is constantly looking for ways to build revenue. As a result, more and more businesses are only able to get cut-through by boosting posts and paying for Facebook ads. If individual franchisees were to pool resources, this would give brands a far greater chance of reaching their target audience and a much higher rate of conversion.
A single, loud voice is best
There is nothing worse than finding multiple sites for a single company. Often when a customer goes to Google and types a brands name, they are faced with multiple sites running off different templates. This is not only confusing and annoying for the consumer, but brand messages are weakened via mixed messaging. Having a digital strategy that is unified through a singular corporate site is much stronger for the brand and it’s all important consumers.
In summary, a franchise business is greater than the sum of its parts – so long as the parts all work cohesively. The beauty with a franchise is you’re working with an established, known brand. Use that to your advantage and treat social media as a part of the marketing mix as part of any overarching campaign – the results will be worth it.