Most brands are still adjusting to Facebook's recent change regarding brand pages and the ability to map and link to local places pages.
A step ahead of the game, Applebee's has been working with social media management system provider Expion for some time to create Facebook brand pages for many of the food chain's largest franchisees.
According to Scott Gulbransen, director of social media and digital content at Applebee's Services, locations are improving customer service response times, as well as enjoying increased brand control and market awareness.
"We're engaging guests where they live and work, generating increased brand awareness in their neighborhoods," said Gulbransen. "We're also better able to collaborate on new initiatives, promotions and menu items."
To that end, Expion added specific features to its platform for Applebee's, including a spell-check function -- saving managers from potential embarrassment -- as well as a "content library," including a catalog of approved posts, topics and ideas for posts.
"The thought of hundreds of locations all managing their own Facebook accounts is one that certainly kept me up at night," said Diann Banaszek, marketing partner, Apple American Group. Now, he added, "we retain control over messaging and content, while reaping the benefits of engaging customers at the local, community level."
In addition to helping Applebee's manage hundreds of local pages, Expion is helping the company with corporate pages and its 243-company-owned restaurant pages.
Franchisees include Apple American Group -- Applebee's largest franchise with 270 restaurants -- Apple Gold Group and The Rose Group.
Expion is currently managing over 2,500 Facebook pages, both at the brand and local level, for a variety of clients in the restaurant and retail industries.