local marketing franchise mediavine marketing

One out of every 12 businesses in the United States today is a franchise. If you are one of these businesses, you may have great brand recognition and excellent support from corporate (or not), but usually that’s not enough to build up your own customer base. You have to keep working to stay ahead of the local competition and gain and keep customer loyalty. The key ingredient to creating a successful online presence for your franchise starts with “YOU” promotion.

Use Social Media to Build Your Local Presence 

Your franchise is largely successful or unsuccessful because of YOU and your team (if you have one). Yes, there are things about your corporate brand that are out of your control, but customers experience and evaluate the brand by their contact with you and your service to them. Your personality, attention to detail, integrity and how you feel about your customers is what they will remember. Promoting you is a huge opportunity on social media because this is where potential customers can learn about the real people behind the local franchise.

With our clients who are franchisees, we see the highest engagement on social media when we help them share:

  • Photos and/or videos of the owners and employees celebrating birthdays, goofing off, learning something new. For example, one of our clients who owns a franchise of a major cleaning company got great response and reach from a photo we shared of the client’s pet pig wearing a visor with the company’s logo. Yep, a pig wearing a visor. The photo had a clever caption and was very shareable. Another client makes it a point to post a “thank you” on every employee’s birthday.
  • Videos where they or their staff share helpful tips. This is called “edutainment” and helps you become trusted experts. One of our clients loves to create short and often humorous videos where he shares quick carpet and rug cleaning tips.
  • Photos and/or videos of the owners participating in fundraisers and local events. This is a great way to “localize” the brand and let people know that you care about the community where they live.
  • Announcements of awards you have won. A client recently won “The Best of…” for the 11th year, and you can bet that we shared and promoted that post!
  • Reviews you have received from Google, Facebook, Yelp, or other review sites. They’re your reviews, so it’s OK to share them in multiple places.
  • Before and after photos and/or videos (especially for those in a service industry such as cleaning, remodeling, construction, etc). These before and after photos can be very powerful and shareable.
  • Funny or thought-provoking “memes”. Some are shared from other sources; some are created by us with clients’ photos and quotes.

Many small businesses use social media to push out their own content. We have found that it is also valuable, however, to interact with other local businesses and organizations on social media by taking the time to like and share their posts when appropriate. Many of them will reciprocate and spread awareness about your business to their networks. That’s powerful.

Social media can be a great tool to reach people where they hang out. As a franchisee, you have the opportunity to maximize your local audience exposure by promoting YOU through your posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., with local advertising dollars. If you’re using Facebook, it’s almost imperative that you designate advertising dollars to promote your company using Facebook Ads because this will dramatically increase your reach and engagement.

Maximize Your Listings in Online Business Directories

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, business directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and even Facebook are important to a local marketing strategy. Potential customers often search these directories when looking for nearby services, so your franchise must be listed. Your corporate may fill out the initial information for you, but in our experience, they tend to put in generic information and photos for all franchisees.  Take control of your listings and showcase YOU with your own photos and information. Keep your listings updated with hours of business and services you offer. Encourage your customers to leave reviews for you, especially in Yelp, Google and Facebook. Respond to reviews, good or bad, with a personal note on the website.

Stay in Touch with Email

If you collect customer email addresses (and you should), sending out a monthly email is a great way to stay in touch with both active and past customers. This is a great opportunity to showcase services and products, promotions, as well as what’s happening in your franchise. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel; most if not all of the content you share to Facebook, etc., can be used in an email and vice-versa. A few of our clients send out emails at a certain time every month. Many customers look forward to these emails, especially if they are more “newsy” and personal rather than stale and “salesy.”

Create a Local Website if You Can

Not all franchisors allow you to build your own local website. If they do, we recommend that you have one built. You can showcase YOU and your team through photos, testimonials, and news. You can also add in all of the geographic areas that you serve and list out your products and services. Ideally, you would also keep a blog updated on your site so that you are adding content to it on a regular basis (Google likes to see this). Blogs are also great social media content.

Being part of a national or international brand does have its perks and even safety nets. However, your customers usually interact with the brand on a local level. That’s where YOU have an opportunity to create a memorable customer experience.