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Seven steps to social marketing success
Written on the 28 July 2009 by Lorelle Frazer
Having an effective internet presence for your franchise is increasingly important and social networking is a vital part of any online strategy.
The franchise sector is in Australia, New Zealand and other countries of the Asia-Pacific is quite small so social networking is an important tool to enable people to work closely and form links easily.
Even if it seems your customers aren’t purchasing online, eight out of ten are still using the internet to research their purchases and it’s not just Gen Y, Gen X and the Baby Boomer generation are increasingly online.
If you follow the steps below, you’ll be surprised how many people are already talking about your franchise, brand and products online and if you’re not part of the conversation then you can’t have an impact.
Here are seven steps for social networking success in franchising:
1. Join the conversation
Participation is key in the world of social networking. If you’re not in the conversation you can’t have an impact.
Find which groups and individuals are talking about your franchise and join the conversation.
Respond to their blog posts, answer their questions and provide any additional information which will help solve their problem relevant to your franchise/services/products.
You'll also be able to see who your loyal defenders are if any issues pop-up. Visit my blog to learn more about the Gloria Jeans example.
2. Establish a blog
Blogs are fantastic. They open a direct communication channel between you, your franchisees, their customers and potential customers.
As blogs get updated fairly regularly it will also help boost your website’s Search Engine Optimisation.
Once you’ve set-up your blog it’s important to monitor comments, respond where necessary and place regular new posts, aka stay in the conversation.
3. Monitor what’s being said online
By setting up Google Alerts on your franchise name and other key terms you can receive automatic emails every time someone mentions your business online.
4. Join Facebook, Linked In and Twitter
There are already thousands of groups established on Facebook so you can either join a group in your business area, or start your own.
You can also search Twitter and find people who have a need for your product, or even potential franchisees.
5. Be Personal
Have one person, perhaps CEO or someone fairly senior as the figurehead of your social networking.
Also in the content keep it personal and conversational. Don’t just feed your audience marketing spin as it won’t be well received. Add value.
6. Proactively Expand Your Networks
It’s a great first step to establish your social networking profiles and blogs, but you then need to grow your networks.
Provide links on your website and invite franchisees, customers and staff to join or follow you on social networking sites.
Link from your site to your blog posts.
Partner or joint venture with businesses with similar customers with complimentary needs and ask them to promote your blog or business.
7. Streamline posts and save time
There are services which allow you to automatically update your social networking sites by only placing a posting once.
One of these is Ping.FM. You sign-up, upload your log-in details for you various social networking sites, then place posts with Ping.FM and it will automatically upload the posts across your social networking sites.
Although this can be a great time-saver you need to be mindful of the messages you post as they may not be appropriate across all social networking sites.
A message for your franchisees or staff may not be appropriate for your customers.
To read more or (join the conversation) visit my social networking know-how blog post.
Author: Lorelle Frazer