By Oliver Brainerd
Whenever I think about franchise marketing, I can’t help thinking about the Roman Empire. It’s sort of an over-grand analogy, to be fair, but there are a lot of advantages to it. The expansion and smooth running of the Roman Empire depended on maintaining a balance between bringing Roman stuff to faraway places. Then, at the same time, they encouraged those faraway places to keep doing things how they liked. It was a balance between the high school chants “do it and you’re cool!” and “you do you, dude.”
Franchise marketing has a lot in common with that. There’s the corporate brand, and there are localized needs.
Social media marketing works great for franchises because it’s relatively cheap and it’s incredibly versatile. How cheap and versatile it is to run social media marketing depends on how it’s managed.
A further nuance of digital marketing for franchises is the two different marketing goals that franchise marketing has. Those goals are:
- Selling products at franchises
- And selling franchises to franchisees
These two different goals require different approaches to social media marketing. So, is social media marketing for franchises profitable? That’s the question to ask.
The answer is, that depends on how you run it.
We’ll do a thousand-foot overview of what you need to do for both marketing for your franchise locations and marketing your franchise to potential franchisees. Starting with social media marketing for franchise locations.
Social Media Marketing For Franchises to Bring in Foot Traffic
Social media marketing to bring customers into franchise locations requires two levels of strategy.
At the higher level, it will be effective in some cases to run social media campaigns for the entire company. Brand awareness campaigns are designed to make the general public aware of your brand. Marketing on social media at this level can take a handful of forms. (EvolveMedia) For example:
- Creating YouTube videos with a creative brand approach. For this, think of PR angles that will appeal to viewers based on what your ideal customer is searching for.
- TikTok shorts and Instagram reels built around UGC (user-generated content) that customers have provided because they think you’re cool (that, or you’ve created contests or incentives to encourage UGC.) Additionally, TikTok shorts and Instagram reels that include how-to demonstrations and creative, relatable content.
- Themed photo and written content for Instagram and Facebook that revolves around a core topic or feeling.
- Promotional posts for sales, new product alerts, etc.
There are no wrong ideas, really. Consult with your marketing team about your ideas, though. There are ideas that make more sense for use as digital marketing across an entire franchise versus individual locations.
You may also run social media marketing campaigns for each location. Some ideas for building those posts include:
- Is there an employee who’s been rocking their job in some cool way? Do an Instagram story or a TikTok video about them.
- Do you have locations in close proximity to sports arenas or the location where the Magic the Gathering World Tournament will take place this year? There’s an opportunity to create content specifically oriented to that.
- Is the location supporting a local youth sports team? Create feel-good stories about involvement in the community.
- Maybe you’ve done some market research and discovered that the people in the area of one location really love a particular product. The people across town, though, don’t care for it. That’s okay! You can run social media marketing targeted to one neighborhood and not the other one about the new product.
Social media marketing can be an effective solution to these versatile, hyper-focused problems. The puzzle is figuring out when to run which kinds of social media marketing and where.
A complicated-sounding question. With a lot of different answers.
The good news is that all of those answers are data-driven. If you collect and analyze data right, there’s not much uncertainty in the decisions about running digital marketing. That is the other excellent power of social media as a marketing tool for franchises: data capture and analytics. All the numbers are there. It’s just a question of how you parse that data. Correctly parsed, data makes a lot of marketing decisions more obvious.
Well, we think it’s obvious. Maybe obvious is the wrong word. Intuitive? That’s a good word for it.
Marketing is a fiddly science, but it is a science. If you get the numbers right, you reduce a lot of the uncertainty in it. (Franchising) It also helps you decide how to allocate an ad budget when you want to amplify your social media marketing.
That’s a very quick overview of getting people in the door. If you own a franchise, then you have another concern that social media marketing can help with: selling franchises.
Franchising Franchises from Franchisors to Franchisees
Have you ever heard a word so many times in a row it stops sounding like a real word? No idea why I thought of that just now.
For franchise owners, one of their most profitable avenues of business is selling franchises to franchisees.
What potential franchisees have in common with any other kind of customer is they are people. And almost all people hang out, at least part of the time, on social media. Or if they don’t, then they have people who hang out on social media for them.
Creating digital marketing campaigns targeted at potential franchisees presents unique challenges.
For example, the demographic is far narrower. So it’s not necessarily about broad targeting. Targeting these potential buyers is a precise science. A real interest in buying into a franchise is its own specific niche. The buying behavior is different, though. Most customers might pop in and grab a pizza on a whim just because of the two-for-one deal. Potential franchisees take more of a considered approach.
Which isn’t bad. It’s not even harder, necessarily. It just takes longer. In marketing terms, “longer” means more expensive. For most potential customers, you need about 7 touchpoints to convert them into buyers. However, in this case, you’ll need more touchpoints. Because of the potential profits, spending money to develop these leads still leaves a healthy profit margin.
Social media marketing works just as effectively for franchise owners who want to sell franchises to potential franchisees. There’s more calculation that goes into it, but that’s as it should be. The rewards far outweigh the efforts.
ARC Creative Co. Does Franchise Marketing Pretty Dang Well
Hopefully, you’ve gotten the impression that marketing for a franchise is as much a science as it is an art. You need your brand consistency maintained across the board, but you also need those numbers parsed so you can make precise marketing decisions. Marketing across franchises requires a balanced approach. You need people who respect your brand as much as you do. And you also need people who geek out over optimizing numbers in your favor.
Over here at ARC, we do both of those things well. We’re a full-service franchise marketing agency that has our processes dialed in. Talk to a representative to find out more.
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