It’s Franchise Social Media Time!

To those of you who have been able to wrap your arms around social media, congratulations. You are learning  what it can potentially do for you, and your company.  In my industry, our arms haven’t been moving too far from our hips. Yet.

Will social media marketing start to penetrate every industry, and every industry segment? Or, is it already?

Franchisors join social media express

I try to keep up on marketing and advertising trends, and over at the Media Transparent blog, I was reading “The Leading Trends In Social Media.  One of them {#4} says;

“The 2009 Recession Will Elevate Social Media Marketing as a Corporate Cost Control Measure”

This section goes on to talk about “branding,” which really came from Madison Avenue in the 1950’s, because of an increasingly popular medium called television. It became a visual world, and advertising agencies were scrambling to capitalize on it.

But brand advertising is expensive for several reasons as the article points out.

With the current recession in full swing, {but hopefully bottoming out now} franchisors are trying to find less expensive ways to get the message out about their franchise offerings, as they try to keep their systems in growth mode. Franchise companies must sell new franchises, during good times, and not so good times.

Some franchisors are starting to use social media to get their messages out, but it has been a painfully slow process to get things implemented. That is because social media is still really hard to explain. Heck, Twitter is hard to explain!

In conversations that I have had with franchise company executives, a lot of the same questions come up;

  1. How many leads will we get with a social media marketing program?
  2. How qualified are they going to be?
  3. What will my ROI be?
  4. Why should we have a blog?
  5. Why should we allow negative comments to stay on our blog?

As those of you who have been hawking the advantages of social media marketing know, these are very common questions, and concerns.

One answer comes from the Social Media Explorer blog, but it may not make those same cautious franchise execs spin in their chairs and say, “Yes! Yes! I want to do social media! Where do I sign?”:

“The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.”

I am not sure if I want to try that line, but I feel that it is probably right on the money.

I feel that more and more franchisors will join in this social media conversation as time goes on, and it will mesh perfectly with what I discussed here in March: Franchise Transparency

I tend to see things in black and white-no gray areas. I feel that if the franchise industry is really going to continue to become more transparent, then the individual franchisors need to go full speed ahead, and adopt that model too. Setting up a simple blog is one way. How about a Fan Page on Facebook?  An intern can set one up in a half hour. A Twitter account? Why not? Welcome comments. Embrace them. Don’t worry about the negative ones. The negative ones may help you and your brand get even better.

Most franchisors will wait until the “other ones” climb aboard the social media bandwagon train. It is a train. A really big, really fast, really serious train. All Aboard!


Joel Libava Joel Libava is the Franchise Expert for Small Business Trends. Joel, The Franchise King®, equips today’s prospective franchise owners with time-tested, proven techniques designed to increase odds of success. He does this through one-on-one coaching, and gobs of useful content that can be found on places like Small Business Trends, SBA.Gov, and his award-winning franchise blog, The Franchise King Blog . He’s been featured in Entrepreneur® magazine, and is frequently called upon by national media outlets and publications for his no-spin insights into the world of franchising.

26 Reactions
  1. Joel,

    A question for you… do they ask the same questions for other marketing tactics that they currently use?

    I also think you can measure the ROI if you ask questions and do some tracking and research. This might be a good opportunity for a research company to undertake.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    I think that franchise companies should be really interested in social media due to the fact of the importance of building a brand recognition in a smart way. If for example some of the big restaurant chains are jumping on the train, they would see that they could start to connect with their customers, reach out to fans and “ambassadors”, get the conversation going and receive valuable tips on how to improve their business. And, I bet that other companies, competitors, and news media will pay attention to this.

    Do you have any good examples of franchise companies that have started to use social media in a good way?

  3. Susan,

    Yes, of course they ask the same questions. Social media marketing is just darn new, it IS hard to answer in the same way. I would imagine that some research and tracking firms are working on your great suggestion.

    Martin, thank you for commenting! If you dig around, you will find that some franchise companies are doing some social media stuff. Burger King does a nice job, Naked Pizza, now with Mark Kuban’s financial backing used a Twitter sign erected in front of their restaurant to get entrenched in Soc. Media.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  4. If I’m right, you’re saying that the franchise company should use social media to get more franchisees? I agree with you, but for a large company with a lot of franchisees out there in social media, do you try to get them all on the same page with their efforts or just let them pursue things in their own way?

  5. Robert,
    Great question! Part of what a franchise could use social media marketing for is to attract new franchisees.

    The other part can involve branding, and also provide nice local online networking opportunities. Brands are being discussed on the social networks anyway. May as well try to control them a tad.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  6. Regardless of specific benefits, I think it’s important for companies (including franchise companies) to embrace social media. Because the benefits are numerous.

    If it’s the possibility of negative comments that holds you back, I look at that as an opportunity to correct the situation, learn from it and possibly cater to the customer by making any necessary changes so that there’s a better experience in it for them. Then – they can talk about your company in a very positive manner and tell their story about how you assisted them and they brought about a change 🙂

    Either way, they’re going to talk about you.

    At least this way, you have a forum to respond in and can publically rectify any negativity – in other words, you can do something about it.

  7. Martin Lindeskog


    I have to test Mark Kuban’s pizza dough called Naked Pizza when I am visiting USA the next time. Do you have it in your area?

    Today I received a letter that has a strong connection for my future plans.

  8. RedHotFranchises

    Despite the current economic conditions
    Franchises continue to do very well. Most have a proven track-record of success, and with the social media advertising strategy, this will take away a lot of risk.

  9. Franchises tend to be doing fine without the need for intense social media. Those who jump in could really largely benefit.

  10. Part of the experience of being part of emerging technologies, or leading edge processes, or … social media … is that when you start out you don’t know everything about it and you don’t know how best to work with it or get the best out of it. With social media, many of us are learning how best to use it.

  11. Why should we allow negative comments to stay on our blog? — Why Joel?

    Well, what’s important for me is how we react on those negative comments. I always instill in my mind the 90-10 principle and it works!

  12. Franchise Opportunities

    Social Media Marketing is the way to go this days! This will greatly benefit entrepreneurs into franchising their business. There are a lot of investors who are seeking the right path. With this media, interested parties can be lead to the right direction with the right people and the right product.

  13. I agree wholeheartedly with the post. As a social media enthusiast, I stand by the opinion tht a brand can no longer ignore the power and influence of social media. There is simply too much utility and potential to be derived out of it. Similar concern has been taken up by Dave Evans-the social media pro on how to link social media tools with business in his series of webinars. You should catch the latest one Thursday by regsitering at

  14. Hi Rose,
    Thank you for commenting. I have no problem with negative comments. When they get mean, I delete them.

    Anyway, I would much rather have a negative comment than a spam comment, left by someone who just wants to promote their website of blog. I delete THOSE immediately.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  15. Local Internet Marketing

    There is no denying that marketing your business online is a necessity in today’s market and social media networking is more effective way for new small business popularity.

    Nice Post…

  16. I am a franchisee and it’s good to read articles like this periodically to continue to justify putting the time into our blog and two twitter accounts. We’re convinced the blog is working but you cannot put a dollar figure on it. Twitter…well the jury’s still out.
    @wildbirdsunlmtd and @zenbirdfeeder

  17. Thank you for the compliment, Local Internet Marketing person.

    To The Zen Birdfeeder;

    Nice TYPEPAD blog.

    I am kinda partial to TP. Keep up the nice work!

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

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