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The Next Big Thing in Franchise Marketing: Automating Your Social Media By Gary Ritkes, Managing Partner: Sales, SproutLoud dave allen n by i T ra ST illu I comment on itPersonalization of messaging at the local level – when content•is being supplied, you need the ability to put a local spin orjust returned from the IFA Annual Convention in Orlandoand it seemed like everyone there was talking about socialmedia and how to use it for promoting your business. It’snot like social media is a new concept or tactic, but there was quite a lot of buzz regarding some of the new opportunities The Advantage of Social Media Automation for the Franchi- and tools as the franchise industry gets its arms around the idea sor of social media. Social media automation aids franchise marketers in two key Obviously there are lots of moving parts when trying to struc- ways; aggregating social media content from local marketers and ture and execute social media marketing communications, espe- providing channel-wide insight. cially in the dual-tier environment of franchisors and franchisees. Countless corporate marketing headaches have been caused Ask anyone and they’ll tell you its not easy to generate and dis- from dealing with the consequences of inconsistent, confusing, tribute robust and interesting content on an ongoing basis. or worse, contradictory marketing messages. These are caused by But the critical components of standardizing brand messaging many reasons, including: and adhering to any compliance issues are really the reason why • Conversation Challenges: Some businesses are still strug- to “Go Auto”. gling to find out what to say and how to say it, and the differ- ences between social media channels. Social media automation What Exactly is Social Media Automation? helps start and guide productive brand conversations. In a nutshell, social media automation simplifies the process for • Role confusion: Local marketers and their employees may local marketers to have conversations with their online commu- not distinguish between personal and professional social media nities by leveraging information and content provided by the behavior. While the scene is a bit more relaxed than formal brands they sell. Automation can be delivered in different ways, business communication, you don’t want them to cross the line such as creating a selection or catalog of corporate approved with your brand. messages for use on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and •Maintaining social polish: I can’t count how many various LinkedIn, or utilizing feeds that can be added to local business’ misspellings of SproutLoud I’ve seen – Sproutland, Spoutloud, social accounts. etc. Enthusiastically embracing the message but mangling the There are a number of providers who offer social media ser- distribution can also ding your social brand. vices, so you want to make sure you consider exactly what your needs are and select the vendor who can service all of them. The bottom line is that social media automation is a valu- able and inexpensive way for brands to increase their pres- The 3 Features Your Social Media Services Should Have: ence and influence through local marketers. Automating the • Analytics – make sure you can measure engagement levels process ensures the messages brands want to promote are the with the audience ones being distributed, corporate social media policies are fol- •Monitoring – so you can listen to what is being said about lowed, and limit brands’ exposure to negative consequences you in the different social media channels from noncompliance. www.OpportunityWorld.com Opportunity World • March-April 2012 59


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