• Jun 03, 2015
  • Richard Dancy
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Why YOU should be interested in what I had for breakfast: What is social media and why should franchisors care?

Do you remember back in the late nineties when everyone was banging on about the millennium bug? If you ever mentioned internet marketing you’d get the standard reply “Yes, we’re actually just looking at launching our new website” blah, blah, blah.

Everyone knew that the internet was going to be massive and they should do something about it. It just so happened that nobody really knew what or how it was going to happen nor did they have a strategy to approach it. The millennium bug never arrived and between 2000-2002 $5 trillion was wiped off US stock value with less than half of all dot-coms still existing in 2004.

We lived to tell the tale and the internet went on to touch every part of business with websites and solely internet based businesses being the norm today. So what’s on the table now?

Social media and internet marketing misunderstanding has followed a very similar pattern ten years on; Only a few years ago you would hear many an SME’s response to Facebook or Twitter as “I’m not interested what you had for breakfast!” It was seen as little more than idle gossip at the very best and at worst people believed the tabloid social media scare headlines painting the phenomena as a 1984 like Orwellian dystopia. Thankfully the majority of businesses have moved on in 2015 and acknowledge that having a presence on social media is important if not essential to having a serious on-line brand presence. Google certainly won’t take a brand seriously if it doesn’t have a wide spread of relevant and up to date content listed across pages on different websites including social networking platforms.

What’s on the menu for your franchise’s brand?

True to form, history repeats itself as although we aware of its importance, how many of us really can admit to having a joined up strategic social media marketing plan as part of our overall business plan? The answer I regularly hear is “Yes, we’re very busy on Twitter and we have lots of ‘Likes’ on Facebook” but very little ROI context with any idea whether the business can afford to be dining at Heston Blumenthal’s or ordering an Egg McMuffin.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is about making our brands relevant to the everyday lives of our customers. Truly targeted messages that are served up to customers in a way that they choose without feeling inconvenienced or offended in any way; It’s not just Kellogg’s who should be interested in what I had for breakfast but every brand that has me as a target market. It is in their interest to understand my interests, preferences and activities including my politics, demographic and the kind of places I travel to eat my meals with the type of people with whom I choose to dine. That is where you will get a brand message to me and if it’s relevant, it will not just resonate, I will more than likely love it because I’ve grown up with millions of irrelevant messages I am conditioned to ignore.

Social media sites know all about me and can give this data to your organisation’s brand marketeers and advertisers. It’s targeted and efficient and can be completely analysed to see whether it has worked or not.

The old adage that 50% of all advertising is a waste of money (we just don’t know which 50%) is no longer true thanks to social media and internet marketing.

file2431263262839Mine’s an oat granola with strawberries then waffles and maple syrup

The social media world we live our lives on can connect products and services to their customers in a consensual and non-threatening way. I have even been known to take photos of my meals and post them on Facebook whilst ‘checking in’ to the restaurant I’m at (and before you think I’m odd, I am not alone!). This information is gold dust in the right hands and I really don’t mind!

Making Social Media Relevant to Your Franchise Business

Having relevant conversations about products and services that customers want is not a problem for people. So the challenge for a franchise brand is having a strategy that regularly interests and engages potential customers in conversation. Better still, simply being part of the conversation that your target audience is having in a place they have opted to be.

We are all consumers and we are all on social networks every day from the minute we wake up to the last thing we do at night. The UK has 38 million active social media accounts with a population of 64 million (Source: WeAreSocial 2015) and whether you are a franchisor or a franchisee in business to the consumer or to the trade then the human beings you are communicating with are spending time on social networks.

Calling all franchise businesses – YOU SHOULD CARE so let’s get social!!

Connect with Richard Dancy

Franchise Intelligence Senior Consultant

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