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The Essential Guide To Social Media Marketing for Local Franchises

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Franchise owners face a unique challenge when it comes to social media marketing, particularly in developing a strategy tailored for franchisees that maintains corporate brand guidelines while balancing the needs of the local community and a limited budget of a local businesses.

Nevertheless, it is possible to achieve this with a creative social media marketing approach and by adhering to franchisor guidelines, while utilizing social media as a potent marketing tool to ensure brand consistency.

With numerous social media platforms available, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, it can be overwhelming to determine where to start, especially when the local community requires a personalized approach. By creating a social media strategy and budget in collaboration with neighboring local franchises, you can implement a successful blend of inbound, promotional, and influencer marketing strategies that leverage the power of these platforms to build and maintain brand consistency, while satisfying the corporate office and connecting with your local community.

This guide will examine the advantages of social media for franchisees, how to effectively use social media to maintain brand consistency, and how to measure ROI using social media analytics tools. We will also discuss how to engage local teams with content strategies and social media campaigns, and how to integrate your social media plan with your broader marketing tactics. Whether you’re a social media manager or a franchise business owner, this guide offers actionable tips and insights to help you master social media and grow your business.

how local franchise businesses can leverage Social Media for local franchise locations

Why Social Media?

Fact: social media video receives just as many views as TV.

Developing an effective social media strategy is an essential component of successful franchise marketing in today’s digital landscape. Without a well-planned approach, marketing efforts on social media platforms could be compared to advertising on television without a clear marketing plan.

7 Social Media Brand Guidelines For A Franchise Business

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, maintaining a strong local franchise social media marketing strategy is critical for local franchisees looking to stay ahead of the competition. By prioritizing a well-planned digital marketing strategy, franchises can reach their desired audience more effectively, establish a strong online presence, and build stronger customer relationships. Additionally, monitoring and analyzing local social media data can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing franchises to tailor their marketing efforts to better meet the needs of their local audience.

Here are seven reason why:

1) Customer Service

If you have excellent customer service, showcase it on social media channels such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Statista reports that customers spend an average of 147 minutes per day on social media, so meeting them there, especially when they need customer service, can win you local customers and help you build positive sentiment within the local community.

By responding to local customer complaints quickly, you can show off your personalized service skills and also be more responsive than the franchisor. You can also use social media to persuade potential customers to visit your establishment by providing directions and useful links. And by providing a positive, consistent, and entertaining social media experience, you can improve your local brand reputation.

What about negative comments?

It’s inevitable that a franchise business will receive some negative reviews online. In fact, about half of all consumer complaints occur on social media. However, if you handle these comments well, about half of consumers will share a positive response, and more than 33% will recommend your business to friends.

2) Market Insights

Just as customers can learn about your business online, you can also learn about them. Pay attention to your social media analytics, as they can provide insight into your messaging strategy. 

3) Earn Trust Locally

According to a report by Nerdwallet, 81% of shoppers research online, including social media pages, before making a purchase.

To build trust, post positive feedback and testimonials, and engage with your audience directly. The more they see you as a person, someone they follow online, the more likely they are to trust you.

4) Boost Brand Awareness

You can also reach new customers by localizing your content creation on social media using local hashtags and geotags. For example, if you participate in community events, you can use social media posts with local content to build an engaged community around your local franchise. If you have expertise that is relevant to your brand, showcase it on social media using targeted hashtags. Can you offer tips and advice that would be useful to locals? 

5) Promote Your Products & Local Events

Social media marketing allows you to share important news about new releases, promote locally and sales, share product stories, testimonials, and reviews, and more.

If you have a last-minute sale or local special, you can use social media to promote it. You can also use engagement tactics like contests and giveaways to build excitement in the local community for a new release or opening.

Here are a few more ways to use franchise social media to make your local franchisees stand out:

  1. Work with influencers: Build a social media marketing strategy with a local celebrity.
  2. Offer deals and promo codes: These can be specific to your location.
  3. Use targeted ads: Analyze your audience and keywords, let the creative team work on it, and then publish.
  4. Promote local events: Local events are a great way to engage with the community. Think grade school sports games, high school events, fundraisers, local colleges, charities, and community events. When you understand your local audience, it is easier for your marketing team to develop a digital marketing strategy that resonates with them.
  5. Use content marketing: Blogs and other forms of content marketing can have a hyper-local reach in search results. Even if you have a national audience, you can still use a local voice in your content creation and promote it on social media.

6) Job Recruitment

A positive social media experience can promote positive employee experiences and culture can help attract the best talent to you. In fact, a marketing strategy that focuses on job recruitment is one of the main reasons to be on LinkedIn. Point your digital marketing dollars there and your marketing team is sure to return qualified candidates.

7) Align your social media marketing team with corporate franchise goals

To effectively market at the local level, you need to understand the metrics and data from local-based analytics to improve your social media performance. However, this can be challenging when there is corporate oversight. It is important to align your local team with the corporate team using location-based analytics. With this data, franchisees can gain a deeper understanding of their local market and align with corporate teams. Data-driven decisions are the driving force behind successful brands, so it is important to invest in social media management tools to track key metrics such as engagement, clicks, growth, and views in order to adjust and increase local impact and effectively leverage social media content.

So, how can you make this work for you? Here are some guidelines to base your strategy around:

Guide to Social Media Strategy for Local Franchise Marketing

Best Practices For Creating A Social Media Strategy for Local Franchise Marketing

A Franchise social media marketing strategy has its own unique concerns and considerations. Follow the points below when you’re building out your plan.

Create Detailed Policies With Brand Guidelines For Brand Consistency

Unlike independent businesses which can do as they please, franchisees need to know the parent brand guidelines before they can go about designing local franchise marketing efforts. Enforcing required corporate policies as a franchisor will help franchisees avoid any infringements of corporate policies, preserve expectations for suitable use of their social media accounts, and prevent any legal issues that could arise as a result in the form of a social media crisis.

  • In reality, this can make things easier since there should be an existing guideline to help get you started. All you have to do is chart a course in between the guard rails.

Make sure to thoroughly consider and clearly communicate the dos and don’ts of both your brand guidelines and specific franchise. While you may believe that a meeting or email is sufficient, it is important to create an easy-to-access document or file as a source of truth that employees involved in your social media presence can reference. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and able to adhere to the guidelines consistently.

For example, if you hold local events, you’ll need to let your social media strategy partner know which images are approved. Having an approved social media digital marketing file makes it easy to find.

Here’s a cheat sheet of what to cover:

  1. How you can use your logo

  2. Which colors and fonts make the most sense–this is important to consider especially in college sports, where colors carry a lot of meaning.

  3. Brand-approved local images.

  4. Design and copy templates.

  5. Voice, tone, mission, vision, and values documents.

To manage social media messaging, create a few pre-approved templates. They should be standard enough to please the brand but flexible enough to suit your needs for a local audience.

A social media management tool like Sprout or Hootsuite can help by creating a layer of approval before any posts go live.

Set Clear Goals

Without an objective, social media is a book with no plot.

Defining a few smart, measurable and realistic social media marketing goals puts the goal posts in eyesight. They give you something to work toward and results that make sense.

Start by brainstorming goals and objectives. Get everything out there and then rank them for if they are attainable, smart, and doable, and think about a timeline to see results.

You only want to pick 2 or 3 goals at a time. Three or fewer…

  1. Focuses your messaging

  2. Increases chances of success

  3. Improves content quality

Set too many goals and you never very far on any of them. The same thing goes for too many social media accounts. It’s understandable to want to be the best on every channel, but if your social media strategy doesn’t have the national budget, it’s better to set clear, achievable goals on just a few social media platforms rather than finance a vague social media presence on all of them.

Early-on goals include growing follower counts, boosting engagement, and driving traffic but as your social media presence grows, you can add things like offer redemption and membership sign-ups. Once you feel like you have your marketing strategy running smoothly, try another social media account.

 Design Your Messaging

Your messaging is the engine driving your three core pillars. It’s the value you provide. There are a few ways to go about it from a franchise marketing standpoint.

The brand vision and mission lead everything – they’re steering the ship. To stand out, a franchise has to define an important role on the boat for itself that keeps the captain on course.

Now consider the unique elements of your franchise that support that overall message. There are many ways to organize messaging but four elements stand out.

Vision:

If the overall message is that we improve lives, tell us the story of how you live up to that promise. Make an inspiring video. Come up with funny gifs and memes. Partner with local influencers who share your philosophies.

Utility:

If you are an expert in something, think of how it can provide utility to your followers. Things like tutorials, guides, and how-tos. What is your product’s utility?

Rebuttal:

Audit possible negative responses and workshop avenues for resolution. Get the brand to approve. You may not run every play by the book, but at least you’ll have a library of ideas to get you started and have a North Star.

Action:

Always think about the conversion funnel and don’t turn it into a strainer by putting so many CTAs the viewer has no idea what they should do and bounce. Be bold. What do you want the person to do? Create content that gets them there and use one CTA.

 Consider a Super Budget

One effective way for franchise locations to fund their social media marketing is to combine budgets through centralized asset management, rather than allowing individual franchisees to compete for their local audience. This creates a “social media marketing super budget” that allows all franchise locations to benefit equally. Without this approach, local franchisees may not have the budget of corporate leadership and may be left to pay for their own marketing and social media efforts. A corporate social media strategy can also drive growth for individual franchise locations.

Social media strategy super budget: When a franchisor does not have a budget for its local franchise social media marketing campaigns, regional groups can collaborate to pool resources and create a regional flare for the group of franchises. This allows them to effectively implement social media marketing strategies despite not having individual budgets

As all franchise owners know, you want every other business with your name on it to look good, whether it’s down the street or in another state.

When each franchise is an island, it creates a challenge to your social media presence when you are under the umbrella of a company’s guidelines and want to differentiate your own business from other franchises nationally . Pooling budgets from multiple locations in a given county or radius you can create a super budget for all the locations. So instead of one location paying for social media marketing for hyper-local content, a super budget is created for a more macro social media marketing campaign that adds more return on ad spend and cheaper budgets.

Local franchises that take advantage of a super budget create excellent buzz around their brand regionally, lifting up each location.

Get to Know Your Audience

This can be tough for a franchise business. Brands often have information painted in broad strokes. Local franchises need more nuance in their research.

Pay attention to your audience. Survey them directly. Ask which social media platforms they’re on, who they follow, and what kind of content they like most. You can also wing it by auditing your own followers and looking for trends in the content they respond to, who they follow, what else they like, what they post, and more.

 Choose Your Channels

One way of reaching your goals is to make sure you publish on the right apps.

You’ll always hear that each channel has its strengths and weaknesses. TikTok, for instance, is more viral, Instagram is more polished, LinkedIn is more business.

But it’s really about knowing where your audience is. If they’re on Twitter, explore the best way you can take advantage of that social media platform. Building a dream team to build out your content and get the posts seen.

 How many social channels should you operate?

Here’s what to consider:

  • Matching workload to the bandwidth of the team

  • Not spreading your content too thin

  • Post frequency

Even though it can be tempting to do it all, just having the lights on doesn’t produce any social media marketing magic. The content needs to be purposeful and provide value to the viewer, whether it’s entertainment, education, or inspiration.

You’re a franchise so you don’t have to do it all. Let the brand take care of most of it. Pick one or two you can master and start there.

 Create a Social Media Management Structure

A social media management system ensures your content gets made, approved, and published on time. You spend so much time and energy on making content, don’t drop the ball just as you’re getting ready to throw it. Make sure you have a social media management plan.

Most importantly, make sure you clearly assign the process of review and approvals that takes into account all needs for the content. Who approves of the creative? Who approves the caption? Does the brand need to see certain posts before they go live?

Make sure there’s a process that ensures best practices for your business are being followed.

 Use a Social Media Management Tool

To effectively manage your social media presence, it is important to have a few pre-approved templates that adhere to your brand guidelines but can also be adapted for local use. Tools such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite can assist with this by providing features for content creation, distribution, scheduling, promotion, and analysis. These platforms can also help keep your content organized and flowing if you are publishing on multiple digital platforms. In addition to tracking likes and comments, it is useful to utilize metrics to gain insight into trends over time and make informed decisions about where to allocate resources to reach your target audience. Both Sprout Social and Hootsuite offer a variety of features including scheduling, analytics, engagement, team collaboration, and social media listening.f

The wrap-up

Social media campaigns for franchises can be challenging, which is why many business owners opt to work with digital marketing partners to provide guidance and go beyond traditional marketing channels. Social media networks serve as a critical link between your franchise and the local community, connecting you with consumers and your target audience. They’re also where local customers turn to for online reviews. By ensuring brand consistency across all digital platforms and working to provide an engaging user experience, you can set yourself apart and leave a lasting impression on both local customers and corporate stakeholders.

Kimberly Stricker

Kim Stricker, the founder and lead social media strategist at Social Motto, possesses over two decades of specialized experience in B2B social media marketing. Her expertise lies in harnessing the power of social media platforms to drive business-to-business engagement and growth. Kim’s strategic approach blends innovative social media tactics with in-depth knowledge of B2B marketing dynamics, making her an adept at crafting impactful digital campaigns and social media storytelling that effectively connect businesses with their professional target audiences.
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