In the world of social media marketing for franchises, the landscape looks decidedly different than it did even just a year ago. With new ad-targeting and privacy changes impacting the ways that brands can reach and engage with their desired audiences, franchise brands are having to rethink the ways they find local customers. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal notes that while Facebook and Instagram marketing is still among the most effective forms of promotion, brands still need to adjust their marketing strategies and be prepared for some trial and error with their advertising dollars.
In April 2022, Apple began requiring apps to ask users for tracking permissions across apps, meaning people have an easy way to opt out of tracking throughout the web. If a consumer opts out of tracking, this makes it more difficult for brands to target customers who expressed interest in products or services like theirs.
Meanwhile, starting in January of this year, Facebook changed its detailed targeting options related to potentially sensitive topics, such as those related to health, sexual orientation, religious practices and groups, political beliefs, social issues, organizations, and public figures.
Combined, these changes require a sea change in the ways that brands focus their marketing and advertising efforts — particularly small and independent businesses that are trying to make a name for themselves. Even established brands like well-known franchises need to ensure they are using their time and money as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. In the following guide, we break down what’s shifted for franchises and how they can reprioritize their resources to keep up with the changing times.
What Franchise Brands Have Going for Them: Brand Recognition
WSJ notes that Apple’s new policies have impacted many younger direct-to-consumer brands that lack the name recognition, alternative sales channels, and diversified marketing plans of their larger counterparts. In many ways, franchise brands have an advantage in this regard, particularly for franchisees, in that:
- Even startup franchisees can take advantage of the brand recognition that goes along with owning a franchise. This is one of the biggest benefits of franchise ownership, allowing franchisees to use the company logo, branding and established reputation to build their local businesses.
- Franchisees often have franchisor support for their marketing, both in terms of the assets provided and even national advertising dollars in many cases. Franchisees can immediately use a plug-and-play marketing system that achieves results rapidly.
- Franchisees can skip over the steep learning curve of marketing their businesses and tap into proven systems. Ongoing support ensures that they can get their questions answered quickly.
Best Practices for Navigating Privacy Changes
While naturally, some franchisors are better at providing the needed support than others — franchisee satisfaction surveys like those from Franchise Business Review and listings like Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 are a good starting point for research — franchisees who do their due diligence can easily find and invest in a franchise system that works. With the support of a franchisor, paired with proven marketing systems, franchisors are navigating privacy and targeting changes with success.
Below are some of the best practices we recommend to our franchise clients looking to improve their overall marketing strategy. The goal is to build a community around your local business and around your brand in general — so that even if changes come down the pipeline, you’ll always have a loyal base of customers.
1. Create organic social media posts.
It’s not enough to pay for ads anymore — you need to be creating organic content that people want to see. Organic content does not require a big upfront investment; with little more than a good smartphone with a camera, you can begin taking photos and videos, posting them on your social media pages, and creating a following around your brand.
For the most effective organic content, make sure it’s authentic. That means posting pictures from your location such as customers who frequent your store, writing blog posts about topics related to your business, and sharing videos featuring real people from your place of business.
2. Generate original content
Along the same lines as organic content, your content should be original, too. It’s important to remember that the whole reason you’re creating social media content is to promote yourself and your brand, not someone else’s. You want people to seek out your content and keep coming back for more. If you’re just sharing other creators’ content, what will make them come back?
On the flip side, if you consistently post original content that makes your followers’ lives easier, entertains them, explains a complex topic in a way they can understand, inspires them, or solves a problem for them, then your followers will eagerly seek out your content.
The key word here is consistently! You can’t post once and expect results; aim to post at least three times weekly on the major social media channels for the best results, with a mixture of posts, Stories and Reels. A great way to ensure you have great content going out consistently is to make use of user-generated content from employees and customers. The Rallio mobile app makes the process of collecting, managing and storing such assets incredibly easy, so you and your franchisees always have a flow of original content to choose from.
3. Be Responsive to Messages, Comments and Reviews
The quickest way to lose a follower, or a customer, is to ignore them when they reach out online. It’s vital that as a business page owner or manager, you respond to every comment, direct message and online review (both positive and negative) within 24 hours — even quicker is ideal. Not only is this just good customer service, but it also ensures that Facebook continues to view your page as a responsive business that’s happy to help its followers.
And while Facebook’s algorithm can change at any time — it has done so consistently over the past decade — as of now, Facebook prioritizes content in people’s feeds based on ranking signals that they define as “meaningful interactions,” such as:
- Comments, likes and shares
- Engagement with content shared by friends
- Shares via Messenger
- Replies to comments
- Who posted the content (users are more likely to see content from friends and businesses they have interacted with)
- Percentage that the page’s profile is complete
- Interactions between people (those between people and pages are not given the same weight)
- Type of post, such as photos, videos, or links
- How informative the content is
- Time spent viewing the post
- Newer posts are shown first
- Technology (type of phone and internet connection used)
Final Thoughts on Privacy Changes
It’s important to note that we don’t advise stopping your advertising completely on social platforms, especially considering that your competitors are likely continuing their ad campaigns. Keep in mind that you can always check your competitors’ Page Transparency tab to view the current campaigns they are running.
Aside from that, you can continue to reach your audience through Engagement Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences, targeted lists, and other methods that comply with the recent privacy and targeting changes.
Like Facebook’s algorithm, its ad policies can always change, and you can expect to see more changes coming down the pipeline in terms of targeting restrictions as early as next year. As such, we advise following the best practices above in order to best navigate the current and future changes.
Here at Rallio, we are helping franchise brands grow their local businesses on social media with our all-in-one platform that connects all your social platforms in one place — pulling in every interaction, review and message generated through your pages, so you never miss an opportunity to engage, respond and connect with your community. To learn more about our suite of solutions, reach out to email@example.com.