Social Media in Franchise Organizations: Who’s Responsible?

I work with many franchise groups in developing and implementing social media strategies. Right now, there’ s a pretty equal split in franchisors handling all social media activities and franchisees participating in the activities. This includes financial and operational activities and responsibilities.

Personally, I believe franchisors should embrace and participate in social media from a brand standpoint. They should develop a basic social media presence and manage it accordingly. Of course, they should be responsible for related costs as well.

As for the franchisees, I believe they should have a presence as well, but with the franchisor’s guidance, training and direction to maintain brand consistency in appearance and message. As for day-to-day activity, franchisees should be responsible for their own posts, which of course, will be complemented by posts on franchisor’s site. Franchisees should also be responsible for the costs involved in day-to-day activity just as they are for marketing activities.

The most effective programs I’m working with include a very detailed, comprehensive social media training program for franchisees. Many franchisors are now incorporating the same into their initial franchisee training. The training provides know-how, basic understanding and the information necessary to move forward in social media effectively and efficiently.

The problem I have found with the franchisor taking on all responsibility, financial and operational, is that franchisees never really realize the effort, nor the results. And, they never truly understand what social media is and they never fully appreciate the benefits of social media. Programs in these scenarios are certain to fail.

Social Media, with involvement and responsibility at all levels of a franchise organization, should provide multiple benefits including creating brand awareness in new markets and improving brand awareness in established markets, generating consumer interest in the brand and building franchise candidate interest in the concept, driving business to franchise locations and generating leads for franchise development, providing firm base for due diligence efforts by both consumers and candidates, enhance marketing efforts through integration of social media activity with traditional marketing to consumers and candidates alike, and develop a foundation for transparent and honest communications and information sharing throughout the franchise organization.

With proper planning and diligence, social media can be a very effective tool for franchise organizations and will be a stepping stone to embracing more and more social media as it continues to expand and develop. Done haphazardly and off-the-cuff, it can be very frustrating and disappointing and as such, will be considered a failure and a waste of time.

*This post was originally published on this site March 2011

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One thought on “Social Media in Franchise Organizations: Who’s Responsible?

  1. Social media communications doesn’t work as a one-way-this-is-how-you-do-it marketing implementation. If a Franchisor thinks they can command the Franchisees to just copy paste messaging and communications, they are in for a rude awakening.

    I agree that the Franchisor should “control” the brand. However, they need to leave room for their units to be creative when it comes to social media communications. They can provide the approved copy, but should allow for some creative execution. This helps Franchisees feel more involved in the process.

    The Franchisor also needs to open the channels of communication for feedback and additional ideas. Their units are touch points for customers. It would be unwise for any Franchisor to assume they know best when it comes to social media.

    In short, both Franchisor and Franchisee are responsible.

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