Social Media Marketing at the Local Level: Cousins Subs
1) What are you doing with social media at the local store level now, and what are your plans for 2018?
Social media is an important component of our annual marketing plan both nationally and locally. We are currently active on three platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These channels are managed by my internal digital and social media team and myself. Over 2 years ago, with the many changes in social media, and more specifically Facebook, we made the decision to partner with a vendor that would allow us to manage local Facebook pages for our system. Today we distribute national, regional, and location-specific messaging and advertising not only to our brand page, but also to optimized local pages for all locations. This will continue in 2018 and has proven to be an extremely effective tactic for our locations on the local level and to increase engagement in all forms on Facebook.
2) How are you educating your franchisees about the value of social media marketing, and how do you get them to actively participate in it?
We communicate the value of social media in our media mix to our franchisees through regional advertising cooperative meetings, newsletters, memos, and field staff. We use social in a variety of ways, from simple engagement initiatives to advertising campaigns to sales pushes. In each of these instances, we have thorough reporting mechanisms in place to share how these efforts impact the ROI on our key performance indicators.
3) How do you train your franchisees to work with new platforms and channels?
We manage all digital and social media platforms for our franchisees. After many discussions, the vast majority of our operators prefer for us to manage these platforms so they can continue to concentrate on the many challenges they face on a day-to-day basis simply operating their locations. We do have a social media training course available for interested franchisees that gives them some additional access to participate in the management of these platforms along with my digital and social media team.
4) How do you enforce brand standards at the local level?
Given that we manage these platforms for the system, the controls are already in place. In the rare instances that one of our franchisees is working with us, we monitor any activity and also have policies in place that require the approval of any posted material to ensure brand standards are met and social media best practices are being followed in terms of interaction with our guests.
5) How do you integrate social campaigns into your overall marketing strategy?
My digital and social media team work with my creative team to develop engaging content that targets guests both on a national level and in a more personalized way on the local level for all campaigns. Social is a component of every campaign or promotion we have at Cousins Subs. Whether it is a new product, contest, or promotion, I work with my digital and social team to develop tactics that will support any of these initiatives and then execute in this space. We have been working on the rollout of a new POS system to our entire organization, developing and readying a loyalty program for launch, and working to integrate all the components together. This has proven to be a lengthy and sometimes painful process as we look to coordinate and align multiple vendor platforms into our technology ecosystem. However, the time and effort being put in now will allow us to use each of these tools in a more effective way to the benefit of our franchisees and guests.
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