In April 2010, McDonald's helped cement the realization that if franchises want to continue succeeding in this consumer-driven world, they must get involved in social media.
According to Advertising Age, the hamburger giant ramped up its efforts by naming a director of social media, its first. The new director is tasked with using social media to build the business, manage customer problems, and beef up outreach to their target groups. This is exactly what every franchisee can--and should--be using social media to do.
Today your customers are online. They are connecting with their friends on Facebook, chatting up brands on Twitter, and spending quality time with companies through videos on YouTube. They are writing and reading blogs, listening to and participating in podcasts, and connecting on LinkedIn. If you want to reach them, you need to be there as well.
Social media can seem overwhelming. But by taking the time to do your research, you can choose the networks that are right for you and your audience. The first place to start is to learn the difference between the different types of channels.
The whole point of brands getting involved in social media is to connect with their target audience. Do you know where your target audience is? If you are a daycare franchisee and looking for potential new clients, take the time to research where busy moms and others are connecting online. Are you trying to drive people into your stores to try your new sub sandwich? Before you can effectively market to them through social media you must learn where those sub lovers are connecting online. Some great places to find demographics include Quantcast and Oneupweb's Pretty Good Scenario Survival Guide: Social Media, available at oneupweb.com.
One of the things many companies get entirely wrong about social media is that it's easy to set up and free to use, something your 14-year-old daughter can help you with. Please, don't make that mistake. Effective social media campaigns require a clearly defined strategy. You must determine what your goals are, consider the time and resources you have available to help you reach those goals, and understand how the social media campaign will be integrated into all of your other marketing tactics. And don't forget, you also need to determine how you will measure success. And remember, it's okay to ask for help.
Lisa Wehr is CEO and founder of Oneupweb, a digital marketing agency. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or send her a tweet @LisaWehr.
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