How Franchises can Use Social Media to Boost their BusinessMany franchisees in Texas believe that because their franchisor is responsible for major marketingcampaigns, that they do not have to worry about social media. But platforms like Facebook which reachover 500 million people each day along with other sites like Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin etc. are toopowerful to ignore. And there are a variety of ways that these tools can be used by the franchisee inorder to engage their audience and boost their sales.Step 1: Check your franchisors guidelines.Some franchisors may be late adopters when it comes to the social media game. In some cases, theymay not allow individual franchisees to set up their own websites or social media accounts to representtheir businesses. Or they may have certain rules and guidelines that all franchisees must follow.Find out what these guidelines are and follow them to avoid running into potential problems with yourfranchisor in regards to diluting overall branding initiatives or national marketing efforts.Step 2: Set up your social media platformsFor most franchisees, the most common social media platforms that you will use will be Facebook,Twitter or LinkedIn depending on your whether your customers are consumers or other businesses. Butif you sell certain types of products, do home renovations, or have some other type of business where itis to your benefit to show pictures of your work, then an Instagram or Pinterest account might also beuseful. Remember that when setting up your Facebook account, you should create a FacebookOptimized Page (formerly called a Fan Page) as opposed to a profile page.Step 3: Build your follower baseOnce you have your platforms set up and branded the way that they should be, it is time to startbuilding your follower base. One simple way to do this is through a promotion of some kind. Forexample, if you run a fast food establishment, you could offer a coupon for a free order of fries for thefirst 500 people that sign up with their email on your Facebook page. Not only does build your socialmedia following, but it help you build an opt-in email list for future marketing.Step 4: Post the right contentA lot of business owners are actually pretty bad at using social media, because they try to use it in thesame way that they would use traditional media as a one-way push to sell a product or service. Butsocial media is a two way conversation meant to engage your customer. The idea is to get them talkingto and about you.For example, if you have openings that you are hiring for, you could post them on your social media sitesand encourage followers to share those postings with people who might be interested.Or if you have a new product that youre offering, you could invite feedback from your customers. Ifcustomers have positive feedback, thats wonderful for your business. If feedback is negative, its anopportunity to engage that customer, possibly make improvements or steer the customer towardanother product that might be better for them. It is better not to be a Facebook dictator who deleteshonest and respectful negative feedback.Step 5: Have fun with your postsDid you find a funny idea or thought that relates to a product you sell or a service you provide? Did yourbusiness support a community event? Did your staff have a bowling night where everyone wore tutus?Dont be afraid to post things like that on your social media accounts. Its a way to give a human face toyour business and your audience will appreciate you for it.Using social media is a way for your franchise is a great way to connect with your community and toengage you audience. It helps to make you accessible and likeable and that is a great way to boostyour sales.