Your brand is like your baby, you’ve helped it grow into a blossoming franchise and the last thing you want to do is jeopardise both your online and offline reputation, especially if you are trying to increase that growth. Follow our 4 ways to protect your franchise from a social media crisis.
1. Build an internal network for your franchisees.
This will allow you to identify the online development of the group and assist in developing key messages for the brand. You can also work on how to build an online ‘language’, to coincide with the tone of your brand, to keep yourself consistent across all social media platforms. It’s also a great opportunity to brainstorm some fantastic content and to make sure everyone is on the same wavelength.
2. Create a social media policy
Once you’ve got everyone on board, you need to create a social media policy. By creating a few simple guidelines, you protect the integrity of your brand, employee’s, franchisees and any third parties. Make sure everyone is on board and in compliance with these terms. These can include:
- Approved social media channels: Try not to put your brand on every single social media channel as this can lead to inconsistency in content. Start with 2 and build on achieving your customer engagement goals there.
- Who is authorised to post: As a franchiser, it is up to you who is authorised to speak on behalf of your brand. Make sure that guidelines are clearly stated in your social media policy and that the authorised persons agree. Your policy should also specify what will happen if those terms are breached by any authorised or unauthorised persons e.g. disciplinary action.
- Keep your content acceptable: Always remember to post as your brand and keep the brand values in mind.
- Only post true and detailed information.
- Respond/communicate as the brand, not as a personal account.
- Keep clients, customers or suppliers confidential unless they have agreed otherwise.
- Refrain from engaging in negative debate with frustrated customers who are purely driven towards arguing.
3. Remember the internet is permanent.
Even deleted posts can and will be found. If in doubt, do not post! Monitor your channels. As a franchiser, you have the right to moderate content and remove any inappropriate activity that is posted. These can be posts that contain explicit images, languages or extreme and hateful views.
4. Reach out
Don’t live in fear of your policy. These are the guidelines to make sure your brand has a strong social media backbone. The true merits of social media come with interaction. The Internet has created a powerful voice for customers but it has also created the tools to respond just like you would face-to-face. By being quick to respond to both positive comments and negative complaints, you can build your reputation as a brand that finds the solution quickest and prevent negative responses. By providing good service, your brand advocates will stick up for you along the way.
Have you used any of these steps in your franchise’s social media strategy? We’d love to hear your opinions and ideas, you can tweet us at @SocialBUK.