Posted on January 14, 2018
BY MARY ZAVELL 02:00 PM • 01/11/18 Industry Spotlight
In today’s world, it is essential for businesses to be present and active on digital platforms. This often includes creating an appealing website and establishing a strong social media strategy. In the world of franchising, this strategy should be distributed amongst franchisees in order to help the entire system succeed online.
1851 spoke with Paul Pickett of Wild Birds Unlimited and Sarah Troutman from Workout Anytime to get the scoop on how a business can help its franchisees thrive in a digital space.
1. Offer comprehensive training programs for franchisees.
“We have a gentleman on our team who works independently with franchisees to help them determine what types of posts will resonate and get engagement, learn how to create videos and offer advice on the frequency of posting,” said Pickett. “He helps them learn how to find a balance between promotional content and focusing on what’s happening in their own backyards.
Pickett explained that for a B to C retailer, social media is also essential for connecting with a target demographic and accessing a virtual community.
Workout Anytime also places a high value on network-wide social media usage. Sarah Troutman said, “Our social media team has daily contact with our network and is available at any time for support matters. All new franchisees go through extensive social media training that continues long after their locations open.”
2. Stay true to your company’s mission, values and foundational message.
At the end of the day, this is often why a consumer has connected with a business in the first place. Highlighting these points of differentiation will help establish loyal fans on social platforms.
“Our focus is on our mission, vision and values. We filter everything that we do through this when we teach our franchisees how to engage with their local communities. This way they share the joy of backyard bird feeding, beautiful images and stories with their audience in an authentic way,” said Pickett.
“Our foundational message is that of genuine support for, and service of our members,” said Troutman. “People join Workout Anytime for many different reasons, all of which are personal and important to them. Our goal at Workout Anytime is always to learn what that reason is and to do everything we can to help our members reach those personal fitness goals.”
3. Publish content that resonates with your audience.
While sharing promotional content is important for many businesses, it is best to balance this with more consumer-centric material.
Pickett noted that posts focused on education and engagement of the hobby receive the most positive response from fans. He noted that these could include photos of rare birds visiting feeders or videos of different birds.
“We also find ways to make promotions more consumer friendly by building helpful posts such as ‘Top 5 Holiday Gifts,’” said Pickett.
Troutman explained that for Workout Anytime, fans gravitate towards member spotlights, community involvement and health tips. She also explained that “anything involving Lift for the 22 is very powerful.”
4. Encourage franchise locations to engage directly with their local audience.
Wild Birds Unlimited encourages franchisees to adopt a hands-on approach to social media.
Pickett said, “Starting a location page is a part of our strong recommendations for franchisees. When they sign a lease, they are encouraged to start their page and connect directly with their audience. These pages are important because people often look at individual store pages to validate their feelings towards a brand.”
At Workout Anytime, community is key. Troutman noted, “The daily goal for each location is to simply share what is already happening on the ground with anyone who might join us through the “window” that IS social media. We invite our communities to join the excitement, fun, success, and actual results that our members experience every day within our clubs.”