The Role of the Franchisor in Social Media

Facebook alone has over 500 million active users spending over 700 billion minutes per month on the site, social media is one of the first places customers go to when looking for a product or service. If a business does not have an online presence, it does not exist in the consumers eyes. Research shows, consumers are becoming increasingly impatient and expect responses from social media within 30 minutes. It is vital to the success of a business that they have a current and relevant social media strategy.

There are so many benefits of having a social media presence, including:

  1. Search Engine Rankings
  2. Data Tracking
  3. Real Time Results
  4. Brand Recognition
  5. Localisation

Franchises are in a unique position when it comes to social media due to the nature of their business structure. Franchises are independently owned and operated, but still need to establish a  consistent, solid recognisable brand that builds trust, and much like a website, their social media is a representation of their brand.

Franchise agreements generally include a social media policy. It is essential that all marketing materials remain consistent, a strong strategy will lead to a cohesive brand voice.

If franchisors fail to include a social media policy, and do not regulate what is posted, the brand will have many unrelated voices, this will cause the brand identity to become murky and unclear, which is less than desirable.

So how do franchisors control social media across multiple owners and locations? Here’s our guide on setting up your own social media guidelines:

Franchisors: How to set social media guidelines

Before social media was invented and as significant as it is today, franchisees had been following brand standards for many years, and were confident with the process of having all marketing material approved of before it went to print. However now with the prevalence of social media it can be difficult for franchisors to manage, without their brand voice becoming inconsistent. The social media guidelines should not be a list of what not to do, rather a list of what they should do. Remember that most franchisees are not experts in social media, so be sure to make your guidelines and advice clear and helpful.


Visuals are the most important element for brand recognition, the guide should include clear information on how to use the following: Font, Colour, Logos and Images. Franchisees have access to millions of photos on Google, which opens up the possibility of copyright infringement, as well as poor quality images which could be damaging to the brands efforts. Franchisors should provide franchisees with access to a digital image library containing approved photos.


In order to create a consistent brand, the appropriate language and tone of voice should be identified (Casual, comedic or formal for example). The tone of voice is also used to address questions, complaints and reviews should also be identified. Keeping all the same tone of voice across all franchises is key to establishing a unified brand.


Static information found in the ‘About Section’ of each platform, should be standardised and consistent across all pages. This will help customers identify it as a legitimate brand.


In order to keep an eye, and maintain consistency across all franchises regular scheduled check ins should occur. This is an opportunity for the franchisor to monitor the progress of the franchise, as well as monitor their social media to ensure it is staying within the guidelines. It is also an opportunity for them to provide encouragement and offer feedback.


The purpose of each platform should be identified, and the activities expected on the page should be clearly described.

Eg. Instagram is for posting high quality photos, and posting short snippets of day to day activity in their stories function.

Customer Engagement 

Lastly, the guide should contain how franchisees are expected to engage with customers online. Outlining what comments they reply to, how to answer reviews and general day to day engagement with customers.

The Importance of Local Area Marketing to Franchisee Success

Consumers are becoming more aware of the blatant mass marketing advertisements they are exposed to everyday. Part of buying into a franchise, is buying the brand and large scale presence that comes with it. Franchisors will generally use nation-wide, generic campaigns and encourage franchisees to use this, as well as material from the marketing kits they supply, to promote their brand. Often, this isn’t the most effective way for franchisees to penetrate local markets, they need to ensure they are also adopting a Local Area Marketing (LAM) strategy, in conjunction with the national campaigns to ensure they are reaching in their communities and maximising their potential.

So what exactly is Local Area Marketing? It is a type of marketing that identifies, designs and implements a range of marketing initiatives that specifically target potential customers a businesses local community. It is a highly effective way of targeting potential customers based on geographic segmentation, and creating local awareness and loyalty. LAM often provides strong return on investment, as it allows franchisees to tailor the overarching brand communications, and adapt the messaging to suit their local audience. Because franchisees often live in the community they are targeting, they have a unique insight into how to best customise marketing communications for that area.

Often for franchisees the prospect of undertaking a LAM campaign can be overwhelming, and they may feel they lack capability and confidence in this area. More often than not, small business owners don’t have a background in marketing, so this is where franchisors can step in to offer resources and advice. This is a win for both parties, as it provides the franchisor some insight into the LAM actions of the franchisee, and the business owner is able to to the overall brand communications and drive an increased presence on a macro and micro level. Ultimately, LAM empowers franchisees to engage local prospects and convert them into customers.


Benefits Include: 

  • Highly targeted communications to micro audience segments
  • Build customer loyalty at individual location
  • Contribute to positive brand image
  • Increased reach, engagement and awareness of your parent brand
  • Provides franchisees with a level of control over their businesses image


Examples of LAM

  • Sponsorship – support community events, clubs and teams
  • Cross promotion – engage with other local businesses
  • Public relations – communicate through local newspaper and radio
  • Digital – use social media accounts to reach the community

Why You Should Consider Local Area Marketing

Local area marketing (LAM) is the activities undertaken by franchisees to market and advertise within their local communities. Unfortunately, many franchisees choose to cap their marketing efforts at their contribution to their franchises national marketing fund, failing to realise the impact LAM can have on their business.

Whilst LAM can be vital to the success and growth of an individual franchise, franchisors often make it difficult for franchisees to feel as though they can undertake such activities, due to strict terms in their Franchise Agreements and a lack of support and guidelines. Often such agreements stipulate that franchisees must gain approval to conduct LAM, which isn’t without reason, as franchisors have worked hard to create and maintain a particular brand image. However, franchisees often find themselves lacking any guidance or materials to take the next step without potentially compromising the brands national image.

Nevertheless, LAM can be the element that makes or breaks an individual franchise, and franchisees should develop a plan to appeal to their local area and seek approval from their franchisor to launch it.

LAM has a wide range of benefits, including increased awareness, engagement and reach amongst the local community. It also aids in building customer loyalty and gaining repeat business. For franchisees, establishing a positive brand image within their local market is what will help the business survive long-term.

Often, especially with the rise in popularity of independent small business, consumers are turning away from the concept of large national chains, and feel driven to support local business. This is why it is key that franchisees are able to make this connection with their local community, and ensure that consumers can see they are one in the same.

Whilst LAM can be done through many channels, social media pages continue to prove the most popular form of community outreach. However, involvement in local events can be a highly effective awareness building tool, and sponsoring of local clubs and sporting teams can further cement customer relationships.

The good news is, LAM doesn’t just benefit the individual franchise, but can help build upon the reputation of the brand as a whole. Research by The Nieman Journalism Lab shows that social media posts targeted to smaller geographic locations are six times more successful than globally targeted posts. The high levels of success achieved through LAM suggests that franchisors should be taking action, encouraging their franchisees to invest in LAM, and providing the support and materials to help them do so in line with the national brand image.

In the start-up and expansion stage of a franchise, the majority of capital often goes to funding equipment and fit-outs, leaving very little capital left to invest in Local Area Marketing. If you’re starting your first franchise, or expanding to more locations, Cashflow It provides equipment financing so that you can channel your capital into marketing and advertising, to help grow your business.

CFI Finance provides various financial solutions, so if you want to hold onto your capital to invest in Local Area Marketing, apply online now.