Whether your franchise is online or offline, your branding is important. Your brand is one of your most important business tools, allowing you to stand out from the competition and differentiate yourself in competitive markets. It also ties your franchises together as a community of businesses working together.
Ensuring consistency across all of your marketing channels, including social media, is essential for protecting and strengthening your brand. If your website looks different to your store or to your social media presence your brand can become fragmented and the impact it has with your customers is diluted.
Allowing franchisees free reign with social media can be a daunting prospect for a franchisor. One of the primary fears is that allowing franchisees to have their own social media accounts may mean that they will lose control of their brand. What if everyone does it differently? How can you keep it under control?
Here we highlight 5 ways that you can maintain your brand consistency within your franchise network:
Ensure that all franchisees are provided with a copy of your social media policy and guidelines and educate them to understand the importance of following them. The guidelines should include the use of images, including banner headings, profile pictures and the minimum quality that you expect to be used, the type of content that they can create and share and the tone that they should use when communicating with their customers.
If your franchisees are responsible for running their own pages, whether they are geo-specific or not, they should use a specific format when naming their pages or accounts and make sure that this is consistent across the entire network. Customers should be able to identify both your brand, and their geography, if relevant, when searching – a long line of results which all have different formats or characteristics can make a brand appear fragmented and it is more difficult for your customer to identify the genuine article.
Build a gallery of product or service images, and make it available to franchisees so that they can dip into it for suitable images as and when they need to. These should be platform-specific so that franchisees don’t have to make adjustments to make them fit. This will help protect the quality of the image that your franchises use. Pixelated or stretched images make your brand look unprofessional.
Provide franchisees with suitable branded content on a regular basis and encourage them to share this with their own audience. Don’t forget – before you share it with your franchisees; make sure that any content you provide matches your own guidelines!
Monitoring how your franchisees are using social media can be difficult if you have a large network, but is essential if you want to measure success and protect your brand. Utilise features such as lists on Twitter and sign up for notifications on your franchisees pages so that you can follow what and when they are posting. Check them on a regular basis and showcase franchises that are really using social media well within your network.
Thinking of allowing your franchisees to control their own social media channels? Consider providing them with some social media training, and feel confident that they are prepared to represent your brand online.