In 2020 I’m trying to avoid the harsh rhetoric and clickbait of so many blogs I’ve seen recently, such as, “6 Things You MUST Do to Sell Franchises” or “4 Things You’re Doing WRONG.” With a growing dystopian feel in social media, I would instead prefer to share a few ideas that might help some friends and readers grow their businesses.

My partners and I at Social Joey are fortunate to receive a great deal of intelligence directly from Facebook as a Facebook Marketing Partner Agency. We also are regularly seeing results from many clients’ franchise development advertising campaigns. Here are a few things we are currently recommending.

1. Take Advantage of Increased Usage Now

Social media usage is up. Way up. Of course it’s up! Everyone has been stuck at home with their faces glued to their phones for six straight months.

Facebook reports that usage on all of its properties including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp have increased more than 50% this year. More importantly, engagement with all content (including your brand’s content) has increased more than 75%.

Add this increase to the fact that many brands – including some of your competitors – have stopped investing in marketing in order to decrease expenses, and the result is a falling Cost Per Lead.

Facebook and Instagram have been the best bargain in town for a few years and it’s only getting better. Note, we are seeing a bit of an increase in ad costs for September and October due to a surge in political ads. This will temporarily increase your ad costs especially if you are targeting candidates in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Florida.

2. Change Your Tone

Don’t change your Brand Voice, but adjust your tone. While your tone on social media in the past may have been fun, sassy, sarcastic, etc., think about “growing up” to a new tone that would be more beneficial to your brand. Here are some ideas:

  • Be Strong: Show them that your franchise is solid. Your franchisees’ locations are open. They are generating revenue! Your concept has endured this crisis and will endure the next crisis.
  • Be Helpful: Share what your brand and franchisees we are doing to help customers at all locations. How are you keeping customers engaged? How are you keeping customers safe?
  • Be Human: Now more than ever, people are buying from people. Everyone will remember how you treat them during the pandemic. This includes anyone interacting with your brand as a possible business opportunity!

3. Evolve Your Thinking About Organic Posts 

Posts on Facebook are nice. But for franchise development, they are not critical. My apologies to all of those social media management software companies in franchising, but organic posts on Facebook can no longer be a focus!

We’re recommending putting only 20% of your resources (time, money, thoughts) toward organic posts. If your Facebook page has 1000 fans, you’ll typically get 10 to 50 people (1% to 5% if you’re lucky) who see any post in their newsfeed. If you ask my team to work their magic and use some of our guidance on optimizing organic posts, you might reach 200 people (20%).

But even then, you’re still just preaching to the choir. You’re engaging people who are already fans, and maybe already have a connection to the brand. That’s great, but what about the other 325 million or so people in this country? Paid ads are the only way to reach the people who are not already connected to you.

4. No Fran Dev Facebook Pages

Do not set up a separate Facebook Page for franchise development.

Many people who have some snake oil to sell you will recommend a separate Facebook page. They probably have a poorly designed analytics program or dashboard that looks like it’s from 2008 and it’s in their best interest for you set up a separate page.

So, let me repeat: Do not set up a separate Facebook Page for franchise development.

Use your brand’s current Facebook page. Some worry about crossing the lines between your brands’ consumers and your brands’ franchise candidates. Don’t worry about that. Keep the organic content on that page focused on consumers. The ads you run will not be seen by those fans; the ads will only be seen by the qualified potential candidates you’re targeting based on their activity, lifestyle, and other qualifications that we can discuss further.

Most importantly, using your brand’s main page will give your ads a lift. If you and other franchisors are fighting for the same candidates with the same budget, Facebook will look at the engagement on the page from which your ads run and compare it with the competing ads’ pages. Your brand page’s engagement – fans / likes / shares / comments will edge them out! So instead of starting from scratch with a new Facebook page focused on Fran Dev and having zero content or engagement, go to war with the army you already have.

5. Stand Out

As we frequently discuss on the Social Geek podcast, the social media noise is getting LOUDER. And if you think it was noisy earlier in 2020, wait until you hear October, November, and December. The noise will be at Eleven! Besides your competitors, we have an upcoming election sucking all of the air out the room, followed by the holidays. And as the country opens up more later this year or in 2021, every restaurant, hotel, airline, vacation spot, sporting event, concert, and movie will flood social media with content and ads fighting for the attention of your candidates.

Stand out. Be different. You can be Strong, Helpful, and Human without being boring. Tell a story. Even better, tell the story of your rockstar franchisees’ success!

Don’t tell candidates WHAT you do. Tell them WHY you do what you do. And if you need few social media ideas, hit me up. I enjoy brainstorming with franchisors. It’s why I do what I do.