Social Influence for Non-Social Franchisees

Ford Saeks HeadshotThis week’s blog post comes from Ford Saeks, a Business Growth and Internet Marketing specialist and SPEAK! team member.  Ford helps franchisees find, attract and keep more customers through innovative local area marketing and social media strategies that are profit generating and easy-to-implement!   How important it is for franchisees to engage in their local ‘social’ conversations?  According to Ford, it’s critical.  In this great article, Ford helps explain the leading Social Media channels and how they can be used to drive more traffic into a franchisee’s location.

Check out one of Ford”s interactive and action-oriented recorded speaking sessions below.


Social Influence for Non-Social Franchisees

By Ford Saeks

Customers have changed the way they think and act when it comes to selecting companies to do business with on both a local and national level.  People trust their friends and the opinions of complete strangers more than they trust advertising or typical “push” marketing messages.  They are influenced by their circles of influence, news sources, blogs, and rely on social proof.  This holds true for franchisees that have retail locations, service businesses and everything in-between.

Now, take into consideration how buyer behaviors have changed and it becomes clear that franchisees have many opportunities to capture top-of-mind awareness to influence, engage, connect and convert to grow their businesses.  Many franchisors have support or even basic training for social media, and while that certainly helps and is an asset, it’s not fully possible for a centralized approach to have local marketplace impact.

My son and I were boating on a large lake the other day, and he said, “Dad, why are all those boats huddled in one area of the lake when there are so many other areas not so crowded…” I said, “They’re fishing… and that’s where the fish are…”  It’s the same with social media, your prospects and customers are using social media.  The internet is social media.  Your website is social media, and so is Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and blogs.

When I’m presenting to franchisees, I champion the marketing efforts of the franchisor, while dissolving the myths, mysteries and misconceptions of how an individual franchisee can leverage social media, even with their immediate business operational demands.  Once they see real-life examples and understand how to develop locally-oriented engagement campaigns, franchisees consistently get excited about the possibilities!

Don’t get seduced by technology… this isn’t about technology… it’s about communication.  Social media websites are just communication tools and when you take a closer look at your specific marketplace and buyer behaviors, you’ll better be able to select the right strategies and specific platforms that make the most sense to utilize for your business.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.

    • YouTube is the second largest search engine and has over two billion searches per day.  Video marketing works for franchisees and it doesn’t have to be complicated.  Use YouTube videos to connect with your customer base and it will help you get top rankings in Google too.  There are literally hundreds of ways franchisees can take advantage of videos on YouTube and those embedded and syndicated to other platforms.
    • Google Plus and 1. Recent changes in Google’s algorithm and Google places combined with the new Google “ 1” button are transforming how sites rank on keyword phrase searches.  Google is now adding a social layer to everything it’s doing, making social engagement a serious factor in rankings and traffic generation.  Franchisees need to authenticate their local listings, enhance their Google Plus and Google Local (formally Google Places) profiles.  This helps them get top rankings for users searching on Smartphones because of GEO-location search results.
    • Facebook has over 600 million users.  Facebook seems to work better for B-to-C relationships, but can also be effective for B-to-B companies too. The key is to take advantage of the new changes to Facebook company pages that allow you to extend your brand’s reach on a much more targeted franchisee local level.
    • Linkedin has over 161 million users.  Targeted more for B-to-B relationships, it’s also very effective for establishing “social proof” and having a keyword-rich compelling profile that communicates your value-propositions will help attract search users to your profile, and ultimately your business.  Amazing for prospecting and lead generation, Linkedin allows you to connect with potential buyers in ways that traditional methods simply cannot match.
    • Twitter has over 150 million users.  By itself, Twitter is useless.  What makes it so powerful are the search and filtering programs, like Hootsuite or #hashtags that allow you to monitor just the conversations you want.  Works well for customer service and gives a franchisee the ability to engage customers in special deals, discounts, and contests that drive sales.  Twitter is a great viral marketing tool because it’s
       

      so easy for the conversation to spread instantly.

    • Pinterest joins Twitter and Facebook as the newest self-expression engine and is now the third most popular Social Network with 10.4 million users.  Pinterest etiquette suggests that pins are most useful when they have links back to the original source.  If a franchisee’s customer pins a picture of your latest flavor, slice, service or special, it will be immediately become visible to their entire network.  How’s that for free marketing?  Women are flocking to Pinterest, and in a recent test, total same-store referral traffic from Pinterest to five specialty apparel retailers rose 389% from July to December 2011.  Wow!

Ford helps franchise companies customize social media action plans that combine brand initiatives, best practices, leverage national efforts in local markets and show franchisees how to identify opportunities to listen, engage with, and influence their target prospects and customer base on a local level.

We love working with Ford.  His keynotes are engaging, informative and fun.  Feel like your franchisees need more Social Media and Local Area Marketing tools in their tool belt?  Ford also delivers fantastically fun breakout sessions, as well as ½ day or full day workshops – all custom designed to help your franchisees engage more authentically with their target customers.  Your franchisees will thank you for giving them the right tools.

Let us know if you’d like to set up a call with Ford.  He’ll leave you with some great ideas of how to help your franchisees get over the fear and overwhelm so often experienced around Social Media.

More soon!

Katrina

PS. Here’s what some recent franchise client’s had to say about Ford’s session:

“We just had Ford Saeks as a keynote speaker for our convention and I’m already hearing rave reviews. People are taking his ideas right now and figuring out how to take them back to work in their businesses so they can do great things with them. I highly recommend all of [Ford’s] work!”

Mike Ferretti, President and CEO, Great Harvest Bread Company

“Thank you for your awesome presentation to our PostNet dealer network. You left them energized and filled with strategies and tactics that they can use to improve their business centers.” 

Steve Greenbaum, President & CEO, PostNet

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