Most Americans today use social media, with the majority of older adults going to Facebook and YouTube, while millennials and Generation Z use a variety of platforms, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey. That’s a captive audience of more than 300 million people looking at their smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers.
This has created a wealth of opportunities for emerging franchise brands to get in front of targeted audiences on social media to communicate their franchise opportunity and build stronger brand awareness. The opportunity is expanding, too, as new social media apps are being created all the time. Savvy new franchisors are determining which social media platforms work best as part of their owned media for their franchise development efforts and for generating consumer interest. And, they’re dedicating a portion of their marketing budget to social selling.
As an emerging franchisor, you will want to develop a social selling strategy to tap the expanding potential for new franchisees and customers. Here are some of today’s most popular social media sites and how to harness their power:
A professional, career-focused social site used mainly for business networking, LinkedIn is ideal for generating franchise leads for emerging and established franchise concepts. The social media site has more than 500 million users and is particularly popular among college graduates and high-income households. Brands can create their own LinkedIn profile pages that inform visitors about the company and franchise opportunities.
Pulse, LinkedIn’s publishing platform, also allows franchisors to post articles that position them as experts in franchising, their industry, trends and other topics. Persuasively and authentically-written articles have the power to influence entrepreneurs to pursue franchise ownership with the author’s brand. Franchise brands can also purchase ads and target them to very specific audiences.
Because LinkedIn is geared toward career networking, it’s not an ideal site for producing consumer interest. However, just about every other social media platform is.
Content published on Facebook has the potential to be far-reaching, with 2.27 billion monthly users worldwide and 242 million users in Canada and the United States. Here, not only can the franchisor create a profile page to attract potential franchisees and boost brand awareness, but so can franchisees for their individual locations.
Facebook users can share both franchise development and consumer interest news with their network and “Like” the stories, images and videos they see. Links to what you post on your franchise site (blog articles, for example) or consumer site (new service or product offerings) can lead Facebook users to your owned media sites.
Facebook ads can also be effective. The social media platform has targeting features that include demographics, location, interests and behaviors to get your information in front of the right people. One form of advertising on Facebook, branded videos, is extremely popular among that social media site’s users. Views increased 258 percent between Q2 2016 and Q2 2017.
Once you have franchisees, Facebook also offers a ‘look-alike’ feature that allows you to build a campaign geared toward getting in front of other candidates that look like your existing base of franchisees. This can be a key to continuing to find the ‘right fits’ for your brand.
Branded videos on the popular video-sharing social media site YouTube, which boasts 1.8 million monthly users, are also being looked at more than ever before. In 2017, views of sponsored content increased 99 percent over 2016. The reason is people have shorter attention spans and prefer watching videos that last a couple minutes over reading text.
Because millennials and Generation Z place a lot of value on authenticity, video is the perfect way (short of a one-on-one conversation) to share how genuine you are about growing your brand with the right franchisees and how much you believe in your product or service. In addition to posting videos of franchisors talking about their vision, mission and brand story, brands can also post testimonials by their franchisees. Franchisee testimonial videos can go a long way in validating the franchise opportunity for franchisee prospects.
On the consumer side, you can share videos about new initiatives, demonstrations and even appearances on TV news programs.
Youngest Generations Drive Social Selling
There are several other popular social media sites, including Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and others with millions to billions of users, where franchise brands can pursue franchise development and consumer interest in creative and exciting ways. Because younger generations are more tech savvy than baby boomers and Generation X, and considered ”digital natives,” franchise brands need to dedicate resources toward social selling.
With 30 years of franchising experience and more than 800 franchise owners representing more than 1,225 location for five brands, Winmark Franchise Partners can help you decide which social media platforms work best with your concept and how you can generate franchisee leads and consumer interest with them. Contact us here or at (844) 234-8520.