With a Genuine Approach, Franchise Business Owners Can Engage Followers on a Personal Level
As a franchise owner, you know that most of your success comes from one thing: relationships. Having successful relationships not only helps ensure prompt delivery, quality products and even lower costs from your vendors, but it is also key to increased sales. During each interaction with your customers, you are building a relationship based on trust, concern for their needs and their personal happiness.
Customers are more likely to shop or dine at a business that not only has what they want at a fair price, but also has great customer service. It’s also a key factor to growing your business. According to Qualtrics XM Institute, 94 percent of consumers who give a company a “very good” customer service rating are likely to recommend that company to their family, friends and acquaintances. Nurturing relationships is also the goal of content marketing, and this is why authenticity is key.
Building Relationships Via Social Media
Think about the last time you watched your favorite television show. Odds are, it’s your favorite show because of a character. You watch because you’re invested in that character’s story, but also because you want good things for that character. Unless you’re paying a premium, watching that show includes commercials. Do you skip past them, or head to the kitchen for a drink while the commercials are playing? So do most people. Why? Because we’re watching for the content, not the ads. Social media is the same way.
Content marketing is about creating relationships based on valuable, relevant, and consistent content.
Content marketing is about creating relationships based on valuable, relevant, and consistent content. Sure, you can toss a blatant ad in your content mix every now and then, but the bulk of your content should be based on building relationships.
Do the majority of your customers have a problem that you can solve? Create posts that talk about the problem and provide a solution. For example, if your franchise is a hair salon, give your followers tips for making their hair look great in between cuts. If some of your clients have problems with frizzy hair, post about a product that is specifically targeted for frizzy hair and how it will help them. When you are genuinely concerned about solving problems for your clients and not just selling them something, followers will feel that your business is one that cares about their success. It is this type of authenticity that followers respond best to via social media. They will also recommend your pages to their friends.
Now let’s imagine you’ve invited a friend for coffee. Did you talk the entire time, or did you have a conversation? Social media works the same way as successful conversations, so the goal of most of your posts should be to get people talking with you.
This type of content marketing, called engagement marketing, is the key to your success. While each social media platform has a different algorithm, they are all based on the goal of showing users posts that will keep them on the platform for as long as possible. When someone hits the like button or leaves a comment on your post, the algorithms note that this content is relevant to you, so it shows your content to these people every time they’re on the platform – as long as there is new content to show them. Depending on your franchise, you’ll want to post at least three times per week, but preferably at least five times per week.
An easy way to get comments and interactions is by hosting a poll. Again, you’ll want to be genuine with your questions. If you’re considering offering a new product or service, ask your followers if they would be interested. Not only will you benefit from this focus group, but it will also increase your interactions.
Responding To Comments and Questions
Getting your followers to comment is the goal but following up with those comments is the key to monetizing your social media platforms. Take time to thank your followers for asking questions, give shout-outs of praise to your customers (and staff), and be sure to answer every question asked of your franchise via social media. If you’re lucky enough to have a tremendous volume of questions, it’s a perfectly fair practice to use chatbots to help guide your followers to the answers they need. According to Zendesk, 69 percent of customers say they’re willing to interact with a chatbot for simple issues, a 23 percent increase from the previous year.
If you do use a chatbot, be upfront in the first response letting customers know they are talking with a chatbot and be sure the system is based on getting your customers the answers they need quickly. Take time to review all the scripts that the chatbot will use to ensure the writing is personable and authentic.
The Importance of Authenticity
Whether your customers reach your franchise via a chatbot, by leaving a comment via social media, or by walking into your brick-and-mortar store, training your staff to have a genuine concern for your customers’ needs is the key to a successful franchise. Always remember that authenticity is key in business and in content marketing!