Sometimes, franchise (and non-franchise) company executives get a bit stuck on the value proposition associated with social media marketing.
To illustrate what I mean, I’ve decided to take on the role of a franchise company executive, who’s a little frustrated with this whole social media scene. Here’s my story as a franchise executive….
As the CEO of the Three Cheez Pizza franchise empire, I’ve really been getting kind of sick of hearing about how great social media marketing is. For example, whenever I ask my marketing director about the ROI portion of our social media strategy, she seems to always get an important phone call within 30 seconds of my question. Maybe I’m being a little paranoid, but never in my 20+ years in franchising have I ever had such a difficult time justifying my marketing spend.
Now mind you, I do read what some of the social media experts write about social media ROI. Pam Dyer provided some good food for thought on her Pamorama blog;
“Before you try to monitor and measure your social media returns, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Having concrete goals and baselines is crucial to calculating your return on investment.”
I’m certainly in agreement with her. One has to start at the beginning. Then I read what Jake Hird of Econsultancy wrote. He stated that “if anyone says you simply just can’t get a return from social media, I’d say that’s not true. Investment in the channel isn’t necessarily financial and subsequently, neither is the return. Secondly, I’m also happy to suggest that even if you are looking for non-financial return metrics and it’s going badly, then you’ve either got a poor campaign going, or the channel isn’t right for you. This goes right back to the importance of any initial strategy and planning for your marketing activity.”
After reading that post, I was left scratching my head as to whether or not we were even doing our social media marketing activities correctly. We had just started with a Facebook Fan Page, we opened our Twitter account, and were even starting some discussions over on LinkedIn. I felt that we were on the cutting edge, but I wasn’t really sure if we were spending our marketing dollars, or even our marketing time, wisely.
As far as I was able to tell, we hadn’t made a dime that I was able to specifically trace back to our social media marketing spend. Major frustration was starting to set in.
Recently, we started investing a few hundred dollars a month on Facebook ads. I like the fact that we can target our ads to other Facebook users by age and location. It’s a little too early to tell if the ads are helping us brand ourselves in the locations we have chosen, but, we’re willing to spend some money to try to make it work. (Lots of other franchisors aren’t.)
I know that some social media marketing techniques are still being tweaked. I feel that I’ve been pretty patient. Our company has been at this for almost a year now. Obviously, I’m willing to try new things. If the social media space is where I’m supposed to be, I’ll stick around – but not forever. Something has to change . . . I think I need a “game changer.”
I would imagine that hundreds of CEO’s feel the same way as my fictitious franchise executive. The social media scene is still pretty new. Some companies have been able to capitalize on this way of marketing. It seems that most have not. I think he’s right. A “game changer” is needed.
That “game changer” may have just arrived on our doorsteps. Twitter recently announced that they’re launching a program called “Promoted Tweets.” Here’s what a “Promoted Tweet” will look like;
Do you think that the CEO of Three Cheez Pizza will be excited to try this out? I do. As a matter of fact, if I was running the show at these types of franchises, I would jump on this bandwagon right now;
- Fast Food Franchises – Tweet out weekly specials every Monday
- Automobile Franchises – Put a discount code in a Tweet for an oil change or a free tire rotation
- Hair Care Franchises – Tweet out monthly promotions, and Grand Openings
- Printing Franchises – Run a special on color printing for a day, and Tweet it out
- Pet-Related Franchises – Have a Saturday dog wash with proceeds going to a local shelter, and Tweet it out
- Fitness Franchises – Tweet out membership drives
- Lawn Care Franchises – Tweet about products and services that are season specific, along with coupon codes
- Tax Franchises – Tweet reminders concerning tax filing deadlines combined with service offers
According to Ben Parr over at Mashable, The Twitter Promoted Tweets are starting to roll out. This is the first phase. Companies like Best Buy, Starbucks, and Red Bull are the first advertisers that are going to be appearing. The folks at Twitter want to roll this out slowly, which is a smart thing to do. I certainly don’t want to see my own Twitter stream overrun with ads.
I’m excited to see how this is going to play out, and if you’re a franchisor, I strongly suggest that you keep an eye on this new social media marketing platform. It could be an important one. And a game changer.
Do you have any ideas of your own with regard to the types of Tweets that could be used by franchise and non-franchise businesses? Would you like to share some of them with the Small Business Trends Community? Leave a comment below, please.
Who is writing these sponsored tweets? The companies themselves or do they get outside help?
Joel: I am sorry I gave you a name! 😉
A “new” name…
That’s a great question. I’m guessing that the paying client is, and then Twitter approves it.
The Franchise King
The Twitter advertising model is intriguing, but I’ll have to see some case studies before I’m totally sold on its effectiveness.
Your article about these Promoted Tweets raises an interesting point about selling and advertising with social media tools like Twitter. Although there are people who search for deals on Twitter, as well as follow companies to hear about their specials, many people don’t want to be sold to on Twitter or other social media sites and won’t follow companies that offer only sales pitches. I would caution a business to watch how often they are Tweeting to make a sale and keep it to just a fraction of the content they put out on Twitter. From reading case studies on how businesses are using social media, it appears that the successful ones who see real results from their efforts aren’t focusing on sales, but rather on keeping their fans and followers informed on what their business is accomplishing and offering helpful, relevant information that will encourage us to want to read their Tweets. The franchise example ideas you used in the article are great to demonstrate the non-selling ways that companies can use Twitter for getting out company information in addition to the weekly or monthly promotions that are just a small part of the franchise message.
A business won’t gain me as a follower by simply promoting specials and discounts. I personally am more inclined to follow a business who is aligned with my values and is offering information to show me what we have in common and why I should support them, i.e. supporting community events, involved in recycling, etc.
Are the Promoted Tweets designed to come up only in search results? Thanks for the thoughtful role-playing, Mr. Three Cheez CEO!
Thank you for your right-on comment! Like you, I really cannot stand promotional-only Tweets, and really don’t do too much business with the companies that choose to only use Twitter for that purpose.
(Remind me to work on the “too self-promotional Tweets, myself)
Anyway, in moderation, I feel that these “promoted Tweets” can, and will work. Twitter is way too powerful now, and Mr. Stone will make it happen.
The Three Cheez King
I don’t follow businesses on Twitter that have promotional only tweets and don’t add any value to the Twitter world. Twitter is not supposed to be a self serving media tool. @jgwentworth
It would seem that the old adage “no advertising is bad advertising” applies here too.The problem is some advertisers thinks they’re the only ones tweeting but the end user is getting inundated.
I was questioning if you already know of your position to build a fine facebook design and style?