Tag Archives: social media strategy

Franchising Going Digital?

I knew it would come, in fact, I was waiting for one of my news feeds to have brought me a story about it a long time ago. An American serial entrepreneur, Jim Piccolo, has not only jumped into the world of franchising (for what seems the first time), but he has also leaped into the ‘new’ fandango world of digital marketing. Digital marketing is a relatively new field which has grown off the back of the rise of social media and all the channels that it opens up for business owners in marketing their businesses online.

Piccolo reportedly expects to invest $45million in starting the BizziBiz Franchise business, with the franchisee paying $18,000 for  a franchise with two employees and $25,000 for a franchise with unlimited employees. The franchisee will in essence be selling localised digital marketing – i.e. encompassing social media, search marketing, free and paid media, and blogging.

As ever, I am more than pleased to hear of new and innovative franchise models, but I do still hope that certain rock solution keystones are in place:

  • The Franchisor can recoop what he has invested in building the model
  • The franchise model is sustainable long term
  • The Franchisee can recoop his investment within a relatively GOOD period of time
  • The franchisee’s profitability is secured (i.e. the model isn’t based on a loose wing and a prayer)…obviously matched with a hardworking, amibitious franchisee!
  • The Franchisor makes money in the long term success of the franchisee (and not in the upfront fees and/or a wish for a quick exit at a high return)

So, I wish Piccolo the  best – its great to see a digital marketing franchise take to the stage – I will be very interested to watch how it progresses and grows over the next year.

Advertisements

Footfall and Location: Retail Currency

For a bricks and mortar business that depends on people coming into the premises to make a profit, there are two main things that a business owner has to focus on: Footfall and Location.

For any franchise business (or any other business for that matter), especially one that involves having a premises (like a shop, restaurant, office, etc) it is really important to get the location right. I know more than enough businesses that have failed purely because they were a road away from where they should be. Plain and simple. So – franchisors – do your homework! The last thing you want is a franchisee to end up in the wrong location.

Good franchisors will have an approval process built in to their models, so that they have to approve a new premises for a new (or existing) franchisee – purely because of getting the location right (but it also might well be a branding issue ). This is not to be tedious – its to make sure that the decision is well-thought out and not merely based on cost-effectiveness. You may end up with a ‘cheap’ rent…but no customers. Beware!

Next element is footfall (tied closely with location). If you are pretty reliant on footfall in order to get interest in your business, you not only have to be pretty strategic about where your premises is based, but you also have to be clever about getting people into the store. This means looking at your ‘Come to my Shop’ strategy. What is this? Its a mix of branding, marketing and PR campaigns to heighten peoples’ awareness for who you are, where you are and what you do.

Enter a free social media tool that is perfect for driving people to your shop…Foursquare. I hear some sighing. But seriously, if you haven’t looked at this tool – then you are seriously missing out. I have spent some time looking at what Foursquare means for a small bricks and mortar business and to be honest…its fantastic to generate interest and to heighten awareness for your business. I think it is superb for: pubs, restaurants, high street shops, leisure venues, sports events, community locations, etc.

For a quick help on the matter have a look at this video from Mari Smith on the Social Media Examiner tv channel. (She also chats about Flipboard and Facebook, but watch anyhow…its short, sweet & to the point – which I like!)

So, my message for you is: if FOOTFALL and LOCATION are two big issues for you as a business, make sure you are paying enough attention to them and you are also looking at innovative ways to get people through your door. What you do with them when they get through your door – I will leave to you to realise the value of retaining customers!

Let me know how you get on.

Social Media: Branding and Franchise Recruiting Tool?

A good social media campaign will act as a very powerful brand building and recruitment tool for start-up franchisors (or those thinking of franchising their businesses in the next year or so).

One of the first things I look at when a prospective franchisor approaches me is a good brand image (or at least the beginnings of one). The next thing I look at or question is its impact on the customer target market (is it well understood; is it well respected; is it something they will tell their friends about; etc).

For any small business trying to build a brand, it is very clear from the outset that very few can afford to spend a ton of money on marketing and advertising to get their brand in the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Now, with the advent of social media and its prevalence in the new generation of consumer – growing a brand couldn’t be easier. Of course it still takes careful planning, design and message architecture, so please don’t minimise the importance of that!

Now – where do you start? What kinds of social media should you be using? Well – it does depend a bit on what your target audience is:

1) As a franchisor
(i.e. which prospective franchisees do you want to attract), and

2) As a business
(i.e. the target customer of the product or service).

The things I would suggest you look into are:

BLOGGING: This is an often misunderstood platform and a lot of people fear it because they think that they have to be writers to do it. Not so. I mean – yes its important to not make huge grammatical and spelling errors because this will lead to an unprofessional reflection on you and your business by default. The thing about blogging is h however two-fold: the number of blogger readers in the world is staggering (we are talking in the 100’s of millions) and Google loves the constantly changing and rich content.  For some blogging tips have a read of this article – Top Ten Easy Steps to Starting a Business Blog – by Denise Wiseman.

Denise rightly says : ” Blogging should be one of the cores of your business. It should be right in the middle of your social media mix—the bulls-eye, the main target.”

FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE: This is VERY important to set up and I mean VERY important. If you don’t already have a presence on Facebook, then I strongly suggest you get started today. Again – please pay attention to your brand, your message and what you want to get out of the exercise. If you want to know more about what Facebook is about have a listen to my podcast here and it you need tips on how to get started on Facebook, think about buying some very easy to understand guides by Kirsty Wilson of Interim Business Solutions…click here.

Through this Facebook Business (Fan) Page you will be able to engage with an audience, find out what people think about your brand, and run recruitment campaigns for new franchisees! Never minimise the importance of creating (and sustaining) a buzz about your brand or business culture.

I think to start, these two major platforms are good to go with, I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much in one go! As a business you will also need to look into Twitter and some of the social news bookmark mediums – but we’ll save that for another time!

Do let me know how you get on!


A ‘FAN’ yet of my Expert Franchise Guide page on Facebook?
Go to: www.facebook.com/expertfranchiseguide

Social Media – The Business Case

The scary term is “Social Media” – the actual meaning for me is “Community Building and Trust”.

If, like many people you have been dodging the SocMed bullet, I’m here to help you understand it, dispel the mystery and urge you to look seriously at the huge potential this phenomenon has for you as a business owner.

Let’s think back to basic historic business and remember what it used to be called: TRADE. If I wanted meat, I could trade my cabbages for your lamb chops. Business was simple – it was about (a) your word; (b) whether you arrived on time for the trade; and (c) whether your goods were “of quality” to ensure future trade. The things that could potentially scupper trade however was rumour; reputation and remissiveness (if that is a word!) By this I mean that your return business depended on happy returning customers and them referring you on to others.

This dependence forms the foundation of creating a community of people who love you and your business…and are happy to steer more ‘fans’ your way which in turn means more trade for you. Does that make sense? Yes! We have lost sight of how easy it can be to engage customers with truth; vitality; enthusiasm for our business; and the belief (and proof) that we can offer something great to them.

This, my readers, is the basic tenet of community building, a.k.a. Social Networking. The premise of Social Networking is that it is only one small part of a Social Media Strategy…which in turn is part and parcel of your overall marketing plan. Business planning can be complicated however it can also be pretty simple – if you don’t lose yourself in all the jargon. Stick to what our forefathers used to cherish as rudimentary to being thought highly of in their social and business communities: “Attract good customers, be good to them and deliver what you promise when you say you will.”

By sitting down and ‘listening’ to what Social Media has to offer – you will soon learn that it is in essence a FREE and hugely comprehensive business attraction tool that can mean a boost to your business’ bottom line. Please do take heart and know that I wouldn’t support this if I didn’t believe it works, but I am very strict about also advising that social networking and community building has to be done responsibly and with a clear focus on message, audience and content. No-one wants to collect more spam – so don’t be a spam spewer!

For franchised and non-franchised businesses Social Media represents an ideal way to not only build a national brand and listening for your product/service; but also an opportunity to connect with the local (and international) community and drive customers to your website and/or business door.

With Twitter, you attract ‘followers’ and with Facebook Pages you attract ‘fans’ – these people become your prospective lead generators and/or customers. Consider that each fan or friend you attract may have 200 to 300 friends (on average) and if they like what you have to say they will very easily pass a link on to their friend base. It is obvious what the ramifications are: exponential exposure to an ever growing audience.

Be smart: review your offering, see where you can take advantage of having a captive audience and tap into this new way of doing business – which isn’t really very NEW, so much as the re-invention of an old lamb vs. cabbage trade situation…but online.

If you would like to have your finger on what is going on in the world of Social Media, here are some resources you may find useful to follow:  Social Media ExaminerMashable