Franchise’s corporate offices are often faced with the dilemma of deciding whether to allow their franchisees to establish their own Facebook pages. While social media is best implemented in a more personal way and customers would rather interact with a local company rather than with that company’s corporate office, corporate dilemma lies in how to maintain a consistent marketing message or standard of branding.
An example of mixed looks and messages can be seen through searching for Snap Fitness. I typed in “Snap Fitness Facebook Sedona” in search of a Facebook page for the Snap Fitness in my area. I received at least three results, each with a page quite different than the other.
Some of the franchisees were using the term “Sedona” on their page to obtain more clients in their area. Another page looks as if had been created then abandoned. And finally, the page with a photo of Snap Fitness in Sedona appears to be the true Facebook page I was looking for.
This leads us to the second issue of franchisees building Facebook pages incorrectly; attaching them to their personal account or leaving pages up even if the company closes. The corporation then has dangling Facebook pages with their corporate name on them, lingering in cyberspace. This dilutes their corporate name power and takes away from their franchisees.
So what is the solution? What we suggest to our corporate clients is to allow individual franchisees their own Facebook page but one that has been created by the franchise. The corporate office can then build each page to corporate standards with a universal look, feel and message. The corporation can give access to their franchisees to post to that page and maybe even encourage them to do so with a written set of marketing tips on how to utilize Facebook to their benefit. The corporation reminds the franchisee that they have ultimate ownership of the page and therefore can remove messages they do not feel are in alignment with the company’s image and can even take down the page if the company does not utilize it or closes their business.
With a consistent look, even within a Google search one sees the difference. For example, I typed in Tasti D-Lite Facebook:
As you can see, the Facebook pages created have a consistency to it right away by the way the name, location and description is laid out. As you click on each page you also see a consistency with the logo and layout of the page in addition to the landing page starting with Info.
With ownership and control of all franchisees Facebook pages, corporate not only can ensure a consistency in the look and layout of their social media but may also universally post to all franchisees pages at once with marketing messages. This of course can be done with something like Ping.fm.
Pamela Ravenwood is an SEO analyst and consultant in Sedona, Arizona with SEO Essential Solutions. Ms. Ravenwood specializes in social media, increasing website rankings and website analysis.