This week I participated in Social Media Atlanta, which is a week-long event featuring various speakers and panels on topics such as social media best practices, as well as new technologies that can aid participants with their personal and/or business social media success. The kickoff event was a full day titled Social Fresh, which is a one day conference targeted for marketers and focused on case studies relevant to a variety of different industries. There were several panelists throughout the day; however one of my favorite speakers was Michael McCathren, who leads Chick-fil-A’s interactive digital marketing team. Since I work with several franchise clients, I am always curious as to what other brands are doing to enhance their social media presence and often look at Chick-fil-A’s social media presence since I am a huge fan of its chicken nuggets. Michael was very honest about the importance of all brands being involved in social media in some aspect, whether that be internally or externally. The primary focus of the conversation was on best practices for businesses choosing to engage with consumers through Facebook. Whether you have one location, or 1,500 such as Chick-fil-A, Facebook is an excellent tool in communicating with those who are truly passionate about your brand. Here are a few takeaways I received that are helpful for businesses out there looking to insert themselves into the social realm.
Engagement vs. Number of Fans
Although having a large fan base looks great on paper, it is more important to have those customers that are true fans “like” your page, rather than focusing energy on gathering the most fans you can get. People who complain on your Facebook wall can’t do so without “liking” the page, so make sure you are seeking out more quality fans versus pushing out deals/offers just to get people on the page.
Treat Your Fans Like Friends
Especially at the local level and with small businesses, it is very important that businesses work hard to treat the fans on their pages as customers or friends. In local communities, it is essential to build relationships with customers and to ask them relevant questions about your business, respond to any questions or posts that come through on the wall and showcase the same customer service excellence that you aim to display within your four walls. Great tip: Honor one of your employees by creating a special just for them. An example is “It’s Nancy day, so we are giving away anyone that comes into our store and says Nancy, her favorite, chocolate brownie with ice cream.” Not only does it enhance the morale of the employee being featured, but it also encourages customers to get to know someone in the store that they frequent, making it a more personal experience for them.
Franchisors, Empower Your Franchisees
If you are a franchisor, you have the responsibility to provide the tools necessary for your franchisees to succeed in social media at the local level. A couple of things you can do include:
- Create template/custom tabs that your franchisees can add to their own local Facebook pages. Franchisees get excited about these new tools and it will allow them to enhance their own page, all while keeping the same brand standards as corporate.
- Give them ongoing training. Social media changes so often that it is important to give franchisees the training necessary education to implement social media at the local level. This could include webinars on setting up their pages, providing them simple instructions and/or showcasing best practices and new tools that keep them motivated to be involved with social media.
- Ask for suggestions on how to improve the corporate/local presences on Facebook. Franchisees love the opportunity to help with creative ideas and many are very tech-savy with social media experience. Poll them on some of the trends they would like to see the company participate in so that they have the opportunity to contribute to what corporate is doing. Each franchisee has a large stake in the success of the brand, so some may contribute ideas on what can happen on social media to keep the concept fresh.
The bottom line of everything I learned is to stay active. Social media is changing everyday and it is important to stay focused on the properties that work best for you, whether that be Facebook or through a blog you created for your company website. New tools come and go, so it is important to keep reading and make thoughtful decisions about which properties to take advantage of for your brand.
By Kelly Ronna