Do franchisees need Facebook?
Some say, “Why, of course! How else are they going to market locally?”
Others, however, say, “My God, no! How would I manage such shambles and disorder?”
While still others say, “Where am I?”
To the last: welcome to Localmark blog, the blog that publishes creative and critical articles on topics you like.
To the former two: you’re in luck! In this article, I put these voices in dialogue, looking at the pros and cons of a franchisee Facebook.
From the get-go, let me be real: I am totally for franchisee Facebook pages. So, on the cons side, I add my response.
Let’s dive in.
The Pros of Franchisee Facebooks
First, why franchisee Facebook pages?
A supporter of franchisee Facebook pages may say this:
“Certainly, you should have a brand page, or an official page dedicated to your franchise. But your franchisees need pages, too. Yes, there’s some control issues. Yes, there are management problems. But these should not stop franchises from creating franchisee Facebook pages. For, they create local spaces that encourage feedback, share information, and remind customers of their existence.”
Let’s break this down further.
1. Keeps Franchisees Local.
Franchisees with Facebook pages communicate directly with local customers. Below are three ways they do this.
Emergency Closing: If their specific branch closes unexpectedly, franchisees can put this on their Facebook page. Inclement weather, power outage, freak zombie attacks, UFO invasions: who knows when these will happen. But when they do, franchisees have a page to tell customers “we’re not open today.”
Promotions, Sales Events, and Coupons: Ever used a clown to promote your product? Unless you’re McDonald’s, we didn’t think so. And those of us that are coulrophobic (afraid of clowns) are happy you didn’t. Clowns can gather crowds fast. But Facebook does the same. In fact Facebook promotes sales directly, without the balloons and makeup and potential “It” story plot. You gotta sale? Post it on Facebook. You gotta promotion? Tell it on Facebook.
Local Events: Beside emergencies and promotions, Facebook enables local event promotion. If you’re on Facebook, surely you’ve seen these notifications: “Tonight, LIVE SHOW with local musician!” “You’re invited to BIG PIG BBQ” “Dubstep Night @ 12:00 am!”
If you take anything away from this section, take this: all the above can only be posted to a local franchisee page. Surely, you can use your brand page to promote a franchise sale or an overall closing of stores. But to get to the local, to promote to a specific city, to create events for a specific location—this can only be done (reasonably speaking) through a local page.
2. Organizes Phone Number, Address, and other pertinent information.
With just a brand Facebook, franchises are unable to adequately organize information about several branches.
Don’t get me wrong: they can do this. But the information is hard to find, hidden in the “information” tab, or just not in plain sight.
Several Franchisee pages, however, display this information clearly and obviously.
3. Builds a Database of Interested Customers
If customers can only “like” the brand Facebook page, background disappears. Location does not matter. Anybody can “like” the page, despite if they’re from Cleveland, Compton, or Portland.
But with franchisee pages, ideally, the page has customers in a specific area.
Thus, a franchisee page builds a database of potential customers. By “liking” the local page, these people already show interest. These are people the franchisee can reach out to, market toward, and talk to. These are people who the franchisee needs: an audience of committed customers.
4. Allows Easy Feedback and Comments
This is an obvious benefit. Facebook allows customers to share experience, post concerns, or ask questions. In turn, Facebook also allows franchisees to answer these questions, address the concerns, or thank the customer for commenting.
5. If you don’t do it, someone else will.
If you don’t create a Facebook for your franchisees, eventually someone will. And when that happens, you get into legal shambles that could have been avoided.
The Cons of Franchisee Facebooks
Now let’s move to our cons. With the cons, I’m going to do something a little different. In addition to the “con” I’m going to give a response from the “pros” side.
1. Too Hard to Maintain
The biggest problem franchisers face is maintenance. This problem can be broken down into three issues:
Grammatical Errors: Remember Super Bowl XVIII? JC Penney’s supposed “drunk text?” Many franchisers fear grammatical errors. And why shouldn’t they? Grmmticl erors rlly ennoi oar reeders. Thy mke us look unindeligant. Many franchisers think, “I don’t have time to edit and check my franchisee’s copy.” I honestly don’t blame them. As the former editor-in-chief of a newspaper, I know how tedious copy editing can be.
Brand Misrepresentation: Another issue is speaking poorly with the brand’s voice. This goes hand in hand with the political and religious zeal of some franchise owners. When there’s an issue in the news (like, gay rights), the zeal comes out on Facebook. Many franchisers fear franchisees may be tempted to mix opinion with local marketing.
Ghost Town Facebook: While some worry about grammar, and others about their brand, many think about the real logistics of the Facebook. Do franchisees actually have time to keep up a Facebook? Will the page turn into a ghost town?
Response: Use Third Party Help
a. SocialApps HQ and Hootsuite: Maintaining a Facebook can be tedious. But several third-party apps help daily operation. For instance, Socialoomph, SocialApps HQ, and Hootsuite all help manage social media accounts.
b. Interns: An even better approach is to hire interns to support social media accounts. These can be students at a local school/college or people looking for experience in social media marketing. Either way, you trade experience for social media maintenance.
c. Facebook Management: Lastly, as to the “ghost town” concern, Facebook provides a scheduling function. You create a post then schedule it days or weeks in advance.
2. It’s a Flawed System
Another common criticism is the “social media is full of flaws” critique. Just as smokers didn’t foresee the harmful consequences of smoking cigarettes, so, too, businesses that hop on the social media wagon will reap what they sow. Although Hubspot’s social media reports have made this criticism less significant, some still hold it.
Response: Yep. So what?
True, we cannot tell the future. All great empires fall, and when we finally inscribe Facebook’s epitaph, we will look back at Facebook in vainglorious nostalgia.
Honestly, this criticism seems like a coverup for laziness and inactivity. If you’re not on Facebook because it’s flawed, then you probably have ulterior motives for avoiding it.
3. Too Much Content to Post
A last criticism is the “that’s too much content to post.” And, yes, I completely agree. When you have a business to manage, you don’t want to spend time on Facebook, posting photos and comments, finding customers, and maintaining events pages. On average, you want to have one-two posts per day. Thus, opting out because of time is a valid criticism.
Response: Hire College Students
As said above, to ease this pain, hire college students. Many students are looking to beef up their resumes. Offer them experience—and maybe a little cash—and you will have yourself a content marketer.
Franchisee Facebook Pages: What do you Think?
Now it’s your turn.
Do you have Facebook pages for your franchisees? Why or why not?
Can you think of anymore pros/cons?
Are you a franchisee using Facebook? How has it benefited you? Or has it?