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6 Steps to Franchisee Social Media Success
I recently gave a speech to a group of franchisees who have a very common problem; little to no marketing budget. Their simple question: How can we use social media to drive more engagement?

To succeed on social media, it’s crucial to connect with audiences in meaningful ways. To do this, brands must strategize their online presence around ideas and goals, not just channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Below are six best practices to drive successful digital marketing efforts, and more importantly, healthy audience relationship chemistry.

Audience Mastery

The first commandment of social media: Know thy audience.

Your social media content should feature much more than updates on your products or brand. Endlessly promoting these things in every update is akin to using a bullhorn — it’s disruptive, won’t drive much engagement, and could even lead to users muting your posts.

Instead, talk about more than just your brand name. Broaden your use of language around what your audience is searching for. They have a problem. You need content that lets them know you can solve it.

Understand when your audience is most receptive. Data can help you identify the best times to post, when your audience is most responsive and much more.

It’s also wise to plan content around key seasonality, to stay fresh and relevant.

Receiving and Passing On

Show up on their terms and turf with a surprise that will knock their socks off. You need to surprise and delight your audience. Do that by celebrating your stars, the loyal users who are constantly sharing and interacting with your content — these people are so crucial for your brand.

So how can you publically acknowledge your loyal customers? Is there an experience or digital currency you can give them?

You must amplify your stars to show them the same love they’re consistently showing your brand. Their unpaid endorsement carries significant weight. Create content that celebrates these loyal customers, then amplify these posts with paid support to gain reach.

Moves to Create Whitespace

Create whitespace for consumers by unleashing the influencer effect. If leads and ultimately conversions are your goals, you must engage the decision-maker. But if your decision-maker isn’t looking to buy right now, at least capture their attention.

Consider partnering with active bloggers or popular (and relevant) social media personalities that can sample your products and give reviews.

Your goal here isn’t so much to gain leads but to simply entertain your audience, and get a nice plug for your brand. That’s the unspoken agreement between you and your audience — you provide the entertainment, they hear your message.

Work with entertaining influencers who enjoy your product. Let them make music videos, parody songs, etc. that tell the brand story. Your audience will love it.

Speed to Market

Using live tools can build audiences quickly and offers instant engagement. Don’t be afraid to use them for unparalleled access to your audience. With Facebook Live, you could hold live videos showing how to use products or answer questions.

You must give to gain. By giving away that valuable “insider knowledge,” you’ll draw a more devoted, passionate and camp-ready audience that now considers you a trusted subject matter expert.

Your audience is hungry. So, satisfy their hunger with snackable digital content that entertains or educates. Good social content provides one or the other.

Great content does both.

Finishing on the Frontlines

Every social interaction (big or small) has the potential to cause a spark. Remember that when you or your team are responding to someone on social media. You want to be the brand, live the brand. Community management is your chance to represent it. Take the opportunity to be helpful, insightful and encouraging, so that people associate your brand with those qualities.

If someone comments on a post, a simple reply is expected. Going above and beyond to interact will truly resonate with your audience and show them you care.

Group attract

Sometimes the most successful content comes from your community. Consider a series of posts that ask your followers to try out something specific with your product.

What you get in return could make for outstanding content, which carries more credibility because it’s not sponsored, branded content, but content provided by just another user. That’s about as authentic as it gets. Be sure to leverage impressive community content.

Social media marketing isn’t easy. In an era where consumer attention is becoming more and more competitive people are more resistant to intrusive marketing now than ever before. So, don’t disrupt — delight. And win their confidence and trust with valuable content.