Don't Forget Your Franchisees When Building Your Social Media Plan

eMarketer recently reported that 88% of national North American brands were allocating funds for local marketing. That’s a number that makes you take note. And franchises, whose business model already contains built-in local marketing partners with their franchisees, should find local marketing initiatives even easier to execute, right? Not so fast.

Clearly, the attention paid to local marketing is growing, and the variety of traditional and digital media gives franchise lots of choices in coordinating their national and local marketing efforts. And social media doesn’t really have hard advertising costs, which in theory makes it a very appealing medium. So why hasn’t it gained more traction?

The flip side to the built-in marketer argument is that franchisees are the sole vendors of franchise products and services. This makes it imperative that they both work together when conducting local marketing campaigns. So the crux of the issue becomes how do you get franchisees to participate social media? One critical factor is to make sure that local franchisees have control in local marketing messages, not just simply duplicating the same corporate-content in cookie cutter fashion.

Why local control is important

Local control helps optimize franchise marketing.
Franchisees are in the business trenches every day and have their finger on the pulse of their local markets. Environmental variables, anything from a special event to local tastes, can affect their business, and they’re in the best position to capitalize on these issues. Providing the ability to mold marketing to best suit their local area maximizes their effectiveness.

Local control strengthens the franchise relationship.
Franchises understand the value of control, that’s why they have extensive sets of rules and manuals. However, franchisees have paid considerable sums for their license, so giving them flexibility to have their own say in marketing helps reinforce corporate recognition of each franchisee’s business, and emphasize the importance of both roles. This generates a healthy working partnership instead of a business dictatorship.

Managing the local control paradox

Great, so you’re sold on the idea that franchisees should be able exert some influence over their local marketing. Now, here comes the omnipresent challenge: how do you get them to do it? Granting local marketing message control only works when corporate marketing programs are actually being used. And they frequently aren’t. Therein lies the rub.

Time constraints and lack of expertise are the two general excuses corporate marketing hears when fielding pushback on local social marketing, so they key is making the process as painless as possible. While franchisors may be familiar with, and may currently use, some sort of marketing support software, gaining local marketing traction frequently requires additional help. Enter Automated Marketing Program (AMP).

The goal of AMP is to take corporate franchise marketing strategy and transform it into a set of local marketing activities for franchisees that can be activated through one signup. Franchisees can preload local information and customization preferences which will be repeatedly used in any sort of media program, whether social, traditional, or digital. SproutLoud actually takes the process a step further and offers franchisees local marketing experts to conduct social campaigns on their behalf, but that’s completely at their discretion. The important part is that AMPs offer franchisees an easy way to create social media marketing customized for their area, and control it with minimal effort. And therein lies the solution.