Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Social Media Can Make You Stronger

Social media and social technologies have added a new dimension to our marketing and PR efforts. It has broadened our scope of what it means to provide customer service.


I have found it to be most valuable for building relationships within our organization. There are those that would argue in Franchising that the franchisee is our customer. However the franchisees that I work with are business partners. I support them from the corporate office, providing operational and compliance guidance. A large part of my day to day includes coaching, and some days it is more like cheerleading. It can become frustrating. Our franchisees run their businesses from home, so home comes into the equation a lot and I start to think I should have gotten that Psychology degree.


Using social media has allowed our relationships to become more developed. The franchisees and I follow each other on Twitter and they are my friends on Facebook. You may think that this is highly unprofessional, and if I were a doctor or lawyer you would be right. But in my case, the sick kids, the visiting in-laws and the soccer finals are all directly related to the lives and issues that we deal with in our coaching calls.

Remember when you were a kid and you saw your teacher at the store? It seemed weird, when you realized they didn’t live at the school and had lives of their own. I believe that this aspect of ‘friending’ my business partners has strengthened our relationships too. They now know when I may be dealing with a problem that is bigger than me, or realize that we are experiencing the same things as parents, or adult children. These commonalities bring us closer.

We have built closed LinkedIn groups for our franchisees and for their employees. These are spaces where they can ask each other question about best practices. They share frustrations and challenges. They cheer each other on. The corporate team monitors and participates in these groups with franchisees from all over the world.
Social technology brought us together and spawned a “we are all in this together” culture in which we all help each other to thrive.

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