franchisors and their franchises, who controls a brand’s social media presence? As new research shows, the lines are often blurred.
A majority (51%) of franchisees surveyed reported
that their franchisors are “highly involved” with the social media presence of their local businesses. In fact, they are often required to run public dialogue with customers through the
national corporate Web site.
That’s according to the latest “Local Commerce Monitor” report from BIA/Kelsey, which found that franchisors have a vested interest in the
online ratings, reviews and customer comments about their individual franchisees.
“The … findings point to a potential tug-of-war setting up over the social media presence of
franchises,” according to Steve Marshall, director of research at BIA/Kelsey.
“An essential characteristic of successful social media programs is authenticity, which requires
candid, timely and uncensored posting,” Marshall explains. “At the same time, franchisors need to be highly protective of their brands, which includes their local presence.”
Among other resources, franchisors provide critical support for the digital marketing efforts of franchise businesses. On average, franchises estimate their franchisors cover about 43% of the online
presence costs of their individual businesses, including Web site development, landing pages, better online listings, and online video.
Meanwhile, 23% of franchisees said their franchisors
are “somewhat involved” with their social media presence, allowing the local franchises to use social networks like Facebook, but with rules and boundaries about how active they can be and
what they can say.
“The challenge is whether social media can be used successfully by local franchises when there’s a high degree of control from the parent company,”
Marshall added. “The jury is still out -- this is a delicate balancing act and the roles are still being defined.”
I agree that it's always going to remain a balancing act. The key is to find efficient software that helps franchisors maintain message, while allowing franchisees to speak directly to the consumers in their market.