• Aug 17, 2015
  • Richard Dancy
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Building franchisee network sales though social media – Horror stories

Don't shoot the messenger!

It has been well established in our recent articles and those by many other respected marketers that social media can be an excellent tool for building franchise and franchisee sales. However, there are a number of horror stories out there where social media has had entirely the opposite effect by promoting poor practice and bad PR.

Two important points to consider here:

  1. Control of your brand and all those associated with it is your priority as this should be something you can control to a large extent.
  2. Social media is simply the messenger and can rarely be blamed for bad PR. Social media once it gains momentum is far harder if not impossible to control.

startup-593310_640Your brand will have a presence on social media whether you are trying to manage it or not. A recent real life example in the UK franchise industry demonstrated the issue with all the associated horrors very well. One Friday afternoon in June 2015 a franchisee saw fit to do something in public in a branded vehicle that in anyone's definition brought the brand they were representing into disrepute. On many occasions this may have gone unnoticed however in this instance a member of the public decided to video the situation on their smartphone and upload it to Facebook. Just 48 hours later the video had gone 'viral' with almost 0.7 million views, thousands of 'shares' with hundreds of comments and the franchisee concerned had had their agreement terminated. The brand and the entire network had received extremely bad publicity in the very specific customer sector that they were targeting. So, what can we learn from this unfortunate example?

Any brand is only as good as the last customer experience they had and as we know, that reflects on the entire network of hard working franchisees who in an instant can lose reputation through no fault of their own. What can be done to minimise such issues?

  1. Make sure all those representing your brand know the risks of doing anything that is not following the system.
  2. Have a good social media policy in place and not only that; make sure that your stakeholders understand it and have been trained on it.

Someone once said to me that they didn't use Twitter because "People just go on there to slag is off". If that is happening then social media is not your biggest problem. Don't shoot the messenger.

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Franchise Intelligence Senior Consultant

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