Distributing a message where your target market spends the majority of its time is good business sense.
In early 2016, Facebook announced that it serves more than 1.65 billion active monthly users. These active users are engaging on the platform more than ever, thanks to ever-increasing mobile access. In other words, tons of people have some sort of presence on Facebook that franchisors can leverage to maximize recruiting gains.
The Problem with Current Facebook Practices
Conceptually, using Facebook as a social platform to gain franchisee interest makes sense. In practice, however, businesses are not seeing the kind of results they need to justify the pursuit.
Facebook takes the lead for franchise recruitment according to the 2015 Franchise Sales Trends Report. Seventy-two percent of survey respondents use the platform to engage and pursue leads. However, 79% of respondents can attribute only zero to two deals per year to using social media.
On the surface, the numbers may indicate that Facebook and other social media sites are not a great way to pursue franchisee recruiting efforts. These isolated statistics, however, fail to consider the larger picture. Many brands do not use a social media site to send out isolated calls-to-action. They use them to slowly build interest, qualify leads, and build brand reputation. To identify candidates, engage them, and measure results from social media, franchisors may need to change current tactics.
Creating Value for Franchisors on Facebook
Facebook is a fantastic platform for franchisors, because it is versatile. Franchisors can create profiles and post content to improve visibility and reach within their franchisee target demographic.
Here are some of the most helpful ways a franchisor can use Facebook to encourage conversions:
- Develop a sales page. A profile specifically targeted at potential franchisees provides a middle step in between consuming content and traveling to your primary website. Use this page to focus on the benefits of opening a franchise under your brand and practical information for getting started as a new franchisee. Provide information that answers the most pressing franchise questions an early-to-mid-funnel franchise prospect might ask.
- Post diversified content, regularly. To build interest and brand reputation, post original content that speaks to your target demographic. Diversify mediums with video, infographics, and written content. Include practical information on franchises, success stories, and culture-specific representations.
- Network with brand advocates. Your brand can develop a certain reach, but it will always have limits, unless others are sharing your message. Brand advocates have pre-developed audiences who trust their messaging. Encourage advocates to get to know your franchisor brand and take part in your recruiting campaigns.
- Social media sites are designed for interaction. Someone needs to respond to comment threads personally and quickly to maintain prospect interest.
Measurement is Everything
Looking at basic conversion rates for social media rarely shows brands the right information. These black-and-white statistics leave out crucial details on the franchisee journey. A potential franchisee may need to see a franchisor brand several times before taking a more concrete action. A page view, likes, shares, comments, and where customers are coming from all play into the conversion process, but few brands measure these results.
Facebook analytics and Google Analytics allow brands to take these micro-interactions and assign real-world value. Instead of focusing on direct conversion from one platform, create goals that are social-media friendly. Identify traffic that arrives at your primary franchisor website from Facebook, the amount of time a potential franchisee spends on your franchise recruiting page, or the number of downloads you attain from a Facebook post.
Understanding the role Facebook plays in the larger franchisee recruiting cycle can help your brand hook prospective franchisees and improve sales.
Broaden the number of touch-points you create on social media to get the most from your investment.