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One of the advantages of owning a franchise is that you can always rely on your parent company to provide marketing advice and resources. When it comes to social media, however, there's no reason not to branch out on your own, and come up with social media solutions tailor-made for your needs. If it's not already one of your most frequently-utilized franchise tools, it's time to embrace the many advantages and opportunities that social media has to offer.
While your customers may know your business through your parent company's reputation, they may not be aware of the unique qualities of your storefront. Social media gives you the chance to build a community dedicated to your particular business, and it is one of the most potent franchise tools in a modern business' arsenal Creating an identity and a following on social media will allow you to introduce customers to your business in a more personal and engaging way than traditional marketing tactics will allow.
Consider, for example, a business owner who decides to add blogging, Facebook and Twitter to her list of franchise tools. She already has a website, but begins blogging regularly about the latest industry developments and maintains ongoing discussions with her readers. She creates a Facebook page for the business and conducts monthly promotions to keep expanding her network of Facebook contacts.
She uses Twitter to announce each new blog entry and online promotion, and hosts "Follower-Only" nights at her office. Rather than relying solely on her parent company's marketing campaigns, this franchisee built a social media-based framework she can use to express her personality and expand her business. It also strengthens the bonds between business and consumer, and gives her customers even more reasons to keep coming into her franchise. With just a few relatively easy steps, she's translated a basic franchise tools into more sales, and greater customer loyalty.
Although social media affords great opportunities to small businesses, it does offer particular challenges for franchises. As a franchisee business-owner, it's absolutely critical to understand and follow all of the legal requirements regarding social media that are a part of your franchise contract. It's important to safeguard the corporate brand and stay within the parameters required by your parent company. When in doubt, check with the head office or your attorney.
Although part of a larger whole, each franchise represents a unique niche in the business world. Make the most of yours by developing a strong social media presence.