Thursday, March 31, 2011

Social Media Savvy? maybe not...7 steps to getting started

I read an article yesterday equating social media savvy franchise systems with facebook fans, friends or likers (for the purpose of this post I am using the terms ‘fans’). They were trying to draw a correlation between them and the ranking of the system in the Entrepreneur Magazine top 500 franchises. The idea was interesting, and the fact that I don’t think the idea holds much water is not sour grapes. I don’t believe that the number of fans equates to social media savvy.

There are some franchise brands that are so well known , and so large that they will garner a facebook following without even trying. McDonalds, Subway and the like have huge advertising budget s, they are everywhere and everyone knows them. More power to them, they use their facebook pages to offer specials and coupons. AWESOME! I love a deal on a Big Mac as much as the next girl. But the question still remains “Does a well fanned facebook page equal a social media savvy franchise system?” No.

• If you go to a local branch with your Foursquare check-in and the staff has no idea they are suppose to honor a special, that is not a savvy system.

• If the social media strategy consists of one person posting updates on a facebook page that is not a savvy system.

• If a customer looks for a Facebook page of their local store only to find there is no activity, or only a corporate page, that is not a savvy system.

So how do you build one?

1. GIVE UP CONTROL! When it comes to social media, the corporate office has never had control, the customer has, and all you can do is monitor and interact.

2. Webpages: Does the franchisee or someone on their team know how to update and keep their site current? Is there a facebook Like button? Newsletter sign up? If not question how much your web designer knows about the current marketplace.

3. Google Places & Merchant Circle: As long a s Google is returning business locations front and center of searches, these sites need to be claimed, updated and tagged. If you don’t know how to do it, ask a reliable service like AK Stout at Saying It Social or Thomas Scott at Brand Journalists.

During the next steps your job as a leader is to guide, monitor and support.

4. Email Signatures: If a franchisee doesn’t get social media, yet maintains email contact with their customers, they will need links in their signature to corporate maintained sites.

5. Blogs: IF and only IF a franchisee is a fairy good writer and understands the corporate mission, blogs are a wonderful way to build brand understanding.

6. Facebook: Building & maintaining a local or regional page with other franchisees. If they are unsure of what sort of things to post, encourage repurposing corporate postings or those of other franchisees

7. Twitter: If a franchisee is too verbose, I wouldn’t encourage it. However, if they are very social and understand the tools available to use it with ease then tweet on! I believe that twitter is a great tool for potential new franchisee to see the personality of the system and the interaction between team members.

Once these things are in place and you can see the entire thing working as a whole, then you see a social media savvy franchise system.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Cleaning With a Little Help from your Friends

As I got ready for bed the other night, I tripped over a craft project knocking beads all over the floor, followed by knocking over an OPEN bottle of antacids as I tried to set my alarm. It’s time for spring cleaning. Now my cleaning habits have been entertaining one of my friends for years, she loves to watch as I move something to the room it belongs, to then pick up a magazine that needs to be put away, realizing I haven’t finished reading it – I then sit down to read. Needless to say, I never get ahead. I know I need someone in the room with me as I tend to these horrible tasks. I don’t want them to do the work AT ALL. But in order to not be overcome with the desire for a nap, or the urge to watch a 15 year old romantic comedy. I need a friend to help me focus. And that friend is visiting me this evening.

What does it take to spring clean your business? Is your website up to date? Is your inbox spilling over? Are you tripping over equipment? Are you just having trouble getting out of your own way? Maybe you need a cleaning buddy too? Sometimes admitting the issue to yourself isn’t enough. Maybe it is time to admit your organization issues to a friend. By friend, I mean FRIEND, someone you won’t judge, has no vested interest other than your success. Let them in, let them help you. Let them move the shiny things so that you are not distracted.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Perspective: AKA Quit Whining

It’s been way too long since I posted. I was having trouble coming up with a post topic. So I asked my network, and was more than a little please with myself for thinking of crowd-sourcing the issue. However, it wasn’t the crowd that brought me the answer. Once again, life handed me my lesson for the day.

That lesson is “stop bitching and be grateful”.

I went to lunch with a friend who has just lost her mother. She isn’t just strong, this woman is superhero strong. The only reason she is not wearing a tiara, is that I have not found one special enough for her yet. While at lunch we discussed a new acquaintance, who we realized, does not even own a belt. I can’t even find all my belts! Earlier this week I was uncomfortable with a new outfit because I didn’t have what I thought was the ‘right’ belt for the dress. Yes, I feel like a schmuck - my unworthy belt was needed purely for aesthetic reasons. This guy needs one to hold his pants up! He is using a makeshift piece of a t-shirt. PERSPECTIVE

Last night I poured a cup of coffee way too late, and so was up too late and today I am tired. Sucking it up and getting things done, but tired none the less. I returned from lunch, to an email from a friend who has beat breast cancer, only to run into one complication after another since then, and now it looks like the ugly disease has returned. She says she is afraid to ask for a break for fear that it will come in the shape of a broken bone! This woman has got to be exhausted! Tired day after day for years! PERSPECTIVE

Please today, take a step back and put your problems into perspective.