Home Franchise Concepts Adapts to Covid with Virtual Consultations and Social Media
We asked Meribeth Gunn, Vice President of Marketing at Home Franchise Concepts: "After adapting your social media to Covid, what changes are you considering as restrictions lift?" HFC has 6 home service brands: Budget Blinds, Tailored Living, Concrete Craft, AdvantaClean, Kitchen Tune-Up, and Bath Tune-Up.
2020 was a roller coaster ride for everyone. Initially, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding all our brands and our franchisees when Covid-19 hit: What would the restrictions be? How long would it last? How would we navigate our business through the crisis? It was a scary time for us all. Every industry was hit differently, but we looked to how we could guide and help our franchisees through this time.
One tactic that has proven to be key to our continued success during the pandemic is social media. Long part of our marketing toolkit, social media took on even greater significance during 2020 and helped us grow our potential client base and stay engaged with existing customers.
With almost everyone sheltering in place staring at the same old walls and windows, homeowners decided it was the perfect time to make needed updates. All those upgrades no one ever seemed to have time for were suddenly the main focus in the home. What better time to make changes to their biggest investment and to make their homes more comfortable?
Budget Blinds, the largest window covering franchise in North America, provides custom window coverings for residential and commercial consumers. Franchise owners did this through in-home and in-office consultations that allowed them to serve customers while adhering to social distancing and other virus-prevention practices. But as this new wave of consumer demand arose during the pandemic, some franchisees saw an increased opportunity to serve their customers in new ways.
In response, the brand implemented a new virtual consultation service so customers could work with their local franchisee to design their window coverings 100% online. The service allowed homeowners to show their homes and windows to their local Budget Blinds designers virtually, making it an easy process for everyone. So we took to social media to adapt our strategy to bring inspiration to our audiences.
At Tailored Living, our whole home organization company, where franchisees also focused on local, in-home consultations, some franchisees also took on virtual consultations to serve their customers.
Throughout the pandemic, we continued to leverage our social media platforms to provide motivation and creativity, maintained a consistent voice with our national social media, and grew our audience dramatically throughout the past year. As a result of that success, many owners will continue to offer the virtual consultation as a convenient option to consumers.
So even though our social media strategy shifted, one incredible thing that became apparent over the year was the resiliency of our franchise owners and their ability to innovate and stay positive during a crisis. When a brand and its franchisees show that kind of perseverance during a crisis, the possibilities are almost limitless for even better performance moving forward.
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