Franchisors - Social Media & Your Company
In the current world of business it is a given that companies will be present on Social Media. With social platforms now easily accessed through a consumer’s smart phone - Social Media enables a highly-accessible two-way communication avenue between businesses and their consumers. But what does this mean for a Franchisor when a franchised business is representing the company across a widely accessible and a occasionally ‘viral’ environment?
RETAINING A BRAND ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA -
Every company’s marketing goal is to increase the impact of their brand whilst educating consumers and the wider community on the brand’s services, products, or business opportunities. In a franchise environment this action is greatly facilitated by its Franchisees. The role and responsibilities of a Franchisee is written into their franchise agreement - but when operations and the representation of a brand cross over into the digital space, lines are easily blurred. The question is: how does a Franchisor monitor this activity and retain its brand values and image?
The easiest and most effective way for a company to retain its image, brand values, and reputation while being represented by others is to implement a system of quality control. For example – when our company (Cody Thomas Public Relations & Communications) was contracted by SafePower Test & Tag Systems Australia to develop and manage a digital strategy for the company, including developing and monitoring their Franchisee’s social channels - we sought to implement a best practice plan that included guidelines, rules and processes by which each franchised business are to operate by in the social space. These guidelines not only protect the SafePower brand, but also educate the Franchisee on how to effectively operate a Social Media presence under the banner of a larger company.
“Social Media is an ever-growing landscape for our Franchisees to develop a relationship with their customers – the SafePower Social Media Best Practice Policy not only facilitates the growth of our brand online, but also ensures that all Franchisees represent and uphold the values of the company whilst expanding their own presence” – Roy Ridge, CEO, SafePower Test & Tag Systems Australia
ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY -
• Outline ways in which a Franchisee, employee or contractor should and should not participate across Social Media when representing the business or themselves as an affiliate of the business
• Clearly define what is and isn’t acceptable social behaviour including posting information, commenting on other businesses and competitors, and revealing sensitive company information
• As a Franchisor, retain administrator access to the channel and the right to review the social presence of a franchised business when representing the Company across a social or digital platform
• Create a process or appoint a contact such as a department or external agency for when a potential social media crisis or legal issue may arise so as to approach the issue at hand in a timely and appropriate manner
• Outline key points in your customer service strategy that are to be carried across from everyday operations and into the social space.
Every business has a different approach to Social Media, but the most important thing to understand is that Social Media isn’t just another fad – but rather a new and evolving media landscape. In order for a company to stay relevant in business today, they need to have clear guidelines on what their social approach is.
Franchisees: Be sure to check back soon for our guide to Social Media for your business.
Cody May is the head of Cody Thomas Public Relations & Communications – a Publicity and Social Marketing agency with experience across both local and international franchised brands. Delivering strategy driven campaigns designed to leverage the business of both Franchisors and Franchisees is a primary focus for CTPR.
For more information visit: www.CodyThomasPR.com.au.