While I’m a complete believer in franchise-wide social media systems, you simply may find that you buy into a franchise without something in place.
That means it’s left to you. So, what are you going to do about it?
Well, for starters, you have to commit to just doing it. With or without franchisor support, social media is a place you need to be.
And…it does not have to be as difficult or as time-consuming as you think. Here’s a simple 6-step process to get you started.
Step 1: Determine which platforms to use.
You do NOT have to participate on every social network. That would be insanity. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are my customers engaging on this social network?
- Are my customers talking about my industry on this social network?
- Is my competition here, and are they engaging with their customers here?
If yes to these, you should likely be there. However, take one step at a time. Choose the one where your audience is most engaged with your industry and start there.
Step 2: Setup your social networks.
Get as much for your franchisor as you can, and make sure you have well-branded images that are sized appropriately for the space. Your social channels are a reflection of your franchise. They need to look the part.
Step 3: Create your content strategy.
Consider what type of content will get your audience engaged. You want to inspire them, entertain them, inform them and give them useful content that is beneficial. Your content should be related somehow to your franchise (remember these are not personal posts here). However, you’ll want to limit promotional activity and keep it helpful and fun instead. Content to consider includes:
- Articles (think of blog posts from your corporate website, for example)
- Quick tips
- Memes (text on top of a photos – http://shareasimage.com is a great tool for these)
- SlideShare presentations
- Jokes (in good taste and industry-related, of course)
And there’s so much more.
My recommendation is that you choose 1 day a week and you create your content for the upcoming week. That way, instead of sitting there each day beating your head against your desk because you can’t think of what to post, at least you’ll only need to beat your head one day instead of all 7. 🙂 Plus, you get in the creation zone and it takes much less time this way.
Step 4: Distribute your content to social networks.
Remember that different users on different social networks want different things. So, you won’t post the exact same content on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For example…Choose lots of images, videos, and fun, engaging conversation-starters for Facebook. Quick tips, articles, and multi-media go over well on Twitter. On LinkedIn, post helpful information from articles and other professional resources like SlideShare.
To make the content distribution manageable so that you’re not tied your computer to post content all the time, use a tool like http://www.hootsuite.com to schedule your content in advance. It’s a huge time-saver.
Step 5: Provide customer service.
Make sure that your notifications are set to send you emails if someone mentions you or comments on your page or post. Then make sure to respond in a timely manner. This is essential.
Step 6: Engage with your audience.
Social media is not a “set it and forget it” type of thing. Every day you need to log on and pro-actively engage with your audience.
Take a look at what your network is talking about, and talk back. Retweet some posts that your supporters have made. Like some other companies’ Facebook posts. Answer a question in LinkedIn. You have to be present in order for it to be meaningful.
However, you don’t have to be present all day long. Set a timer. Really. Log on, engage for 5-10 minutes, and log off. Save the personal social media chit-chat for off-work hours.
While it may be overwhelming at first, once you get into the groove, you CAN do this! Hopefully your franchisor will jump on board soon. In the meantime, don’t wait. Do what you need to do for your business…social media engagement is one of those things.