With social media now dominating every aspect of modern life, from what to eat to where we visit – to what we do on a night out – it is now even more important than ever to harness it for your business. Whether franchisee or franchisor, now is the time to embrace the digital world and develop a strategy to ensure you keep a pipeline of engaged potential franchisees and ensure existing franchisees have a growing community of happy customers.
Social media is an evolving format, with new channels popping up and disappearing on a weekly basis. Keeping tabs on what is out there and more importantly what is relevant to your business can therefore be a tricky task. However, when starting out, as with many things, it is worth getting the basics right. The major channels are popular for a reason and should give your business a good starting point. However, never just do something for the sake of it – if you know your business doesn’t have great imagery, maybe Instagram isn’t for you so do your research and understand what works best.
UK social media usage hit an all-time high in 2018, with a hefty 83% of the adult population now using different types of social media. Facebook is dominating the UK social media sphere, with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram ranking as the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th most used networks. The latest estimates from eMarketer suggests that Twitter now only has 12.6 million UK-based users – indicating a significant drop. It’s not all bad news though; the user base is predicted to grow slightly over the next few years, with a long-term forecast of 13.2 million users by 2021.
At Cafe2U, we have developed two separate strategies to reach our target groups. For our franchise customers, we favour user-generated content, giveaways and more engaging content, building a strong sense of community, predominantly on Facebook. With our high-quality coffee product and exceptionally trained baristas, we are lucky that this lends itself to producing some great photography – and as we know people love to share what they are about to eat or drink.
However, that alone will not sell franchises. With that in mind our franchise recruitment activity carries more practical messaging, focused on the many benefits Cafe2U can bring to prospective ‘coffeepreuners’, delivering a mix of approaches to appeal to people whether looking for business or lifestyle reasons. Through our Facebook advertising, we are able to ensure that anybody registering interest is automatically put into our leads management system, helping us to find the next franchisees in a quick and efficient manner.
Training & Support
During each franchise partner’s initial training week before they even get out in their van and launch their business, they undergo intensive training regarding the marketing support offered by head office, the marketing activity they are expected to undertake themselves and the reasons and desired outcomes for doing so.
The training covers the following topics:
- Canvassing of prospects
- Direct marketing through demos of the service and product
- Point of sale library
- Public Relations
- Social Media
- E-mail database building and e-newsletter development
Once complete, franchisees have a strong understanding of what we do as a business to support them and what they can do for themselves.
As well as the overall Facebook page, which has grown to 5,000 likes, each individual franchisee has a page created for them to use in their local area. They are added to the page as editors meaning they are able to post their own content, whilst central content is pulled through to pages that are not updated regularly. Each page is then promoted to the local area in which they are based, developing an immediate interest in the region.
Centrally run campaigns are also promoted to the franchise network, meaning they are encouraged to join and run them on a local level. In the last twelve months, this has seen us run competitions where customers with loyalty cards are entered into a draw to win £1,500 vouchers, encouraging customer loyalty and engagement across the entire franchise network.
Encouraging customer engagement across the network is also key. We encourage franchisees to get involved with national events and days with their customers. This has seen us join in with events like National Christmas Jumper Day, with our franchisees sporting their best festive wear, posting pictures of them with all their customers too.
We understand that marketing is often something done by somebody in a different part of your business. As such, to best support our franchisees, we commit to an ongoing learning process, educating about the latest marketing tools and techniques available, helping them stay ahead of the curve. We also invest in a software package of learning modules, so franchisees can learn more about marketing as they develop their business.