Play and social environments have always been a relatively foreign element in the business world. The few executives, managers and attorneys that networked, joined associations and got to know other colleagues and associates knew of its value, but these were few and far between. Along comes a new playmate “social media” and suddenly everyone in the business world is expected to play along, talk and socialize.
The Confusion Grows
Over time, and with no guidance, confusion in the business world simply grows. There is no real agreement as to the usefulness of social media as a marketing venue; still, everyone participates with no real goal or direction, and no real purpose. Most have heard that social media is a lead-generating platform; and while they participate, socialize and comment, they have no clear direction as to how this medley of sites can help their business grow. Others simply choose to not get involved at all, dismissing it as a massive time waster.
Where Do We Stand as Franchisers?
When seen from a franchise point of view, socializing is even more confusing, as the various franchisees differ in opinion, participation and expectancies. There is no one definite answer as to the benefits of social media for franchisees. But by dividing Social Media into two categories, and defining elements underneath these, you’ll find a clearer direction as to your business’s focus in the social media world. These categories are Policy and Purpose.
What is Policy?
This is the more difficult of the two categories. While defining it, you must address several questions about the franchise business you are in. How autonomous are franchisees to use social media? When addressing this question it’s important to analyze the amount of freedom a franchisee has in the content he posts. Is there a special methodology and how is this followed? How much time should a franchisee spend on social media? What process do they take for negative branding and commenting? These are but a few of the questions to be asked when determining a franchisees participation in the social media platforms.
Initially, dealing with these questions is difficult. Even so, you’ll want to address the issues and come up with a solution, especially because in the long run social media benefits the franchise environment. The answers you give your questions offer consistency throughout the different franchise social media accounts. Just be sure franchisees understand what the corporate policy is regarding the platforms. Don’t wait for social media problems to happen; for franchisees to get confused; or for problems relating to best practices, criticism and competition to appear.
What is Purpose?
A category that is easier to define, as it specifies your business objectives when it comes to social media. The prupose define the use of the social platforms, whether this is to create new customers, leads, offer better customer service or as a medium to distribute your news. By deciding on the social platforms to use, you can define the role your corporation wants to play within this area.
There are those franchise organizations that have their social hierarchies well defined. But there are also those that well resemble total ‘chaos’. Even if you personally don’t believe in the value of the social platforms your franchisees will, so establishing a guideline and policy regarding participation in social platforms offers franchisees direction, and support they need.
Jeremy S is a business consultant with experience in business taxes. His articles appear on a range of business blogs around the web. Liberty Tax franchise opportunities have a section on tax prep business, visit the link for more information.