Making sure your franchisees conform to your brand standards may be difficult or seemingly impossible. Sometimes franchisors send out guidelines and people don’t read them or simply don’t have the tools to make things consistent. The Internet has a ton of brand management tools that do things from enable franchises to better manage social media posts to create consistently-branded graphic designs. The team at Franchise Marketing Group recommends the following tools for your business, because we use tools like these every day.
Social Media Management Tools
When your franchisees have full license to do whatever they want, things can get a little chaotic. One franchise location may be a shining example of what you want, while others may go rogue and post pictures of puppies when your business provides drug and alcohol testing. With tools like Sendible, Hootsuite and Social Sprout you can post with multiple platforms and multiple franchises all at once — and your franchise owners won’t even have to do a thing. With that type of control, your marketing team can make sure only the content that fits your brand and image ends up on social media.
We like these tools because you can use them for social networks like the big ones — Facebook and Twitter, but also more niche networks like Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn, depending on the tool. Your business may need more than one of those networks for social media marketing domination, and each of these tools allow for seemingly endless ways to organize franchises and target the right audience. For instance, with Sendible, if your West Coast locations run a special, you can group the locations in that region together, and send messages to the appropriate audience. You can also add custom tags to each location’s page, enabling you to easily put location-specific information such as phone numbers and URLs in your posts.
Our favorite feature is Sendible’s scheduling capabilities. With Facebook, you can schedule posts, but only for six months out. Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest do not allow users to schedule posts. We’ve put posts on the calendar for up to a year in advance, and we love that, because, honestly, who’s going to remember tweet about even the best blog 12 months from now? (Not us by any means.) We also love the analytical tools to find out what works and what doesn’t to maximize awesomeness and ultimately grow your business. (Full disclosure: if you reached this blog via a social network, ta da! We used Sendible.)
Tools for Creating Editorial Calendars
A well-planned editorial calendar is extremely beneficial to your franchisees. When used effectively, your franchisees will be able to stay on top of any regional or nation-wide initiatives, and it also helps marketers or different vendors know about any special events or messaging in order to make sure it gets out to the right people at the right time.
Tools to create editorial calendars are readily available on the Internet. CoSchedule can be used to schedule social posts and blogs to keep everyone on the same page. Some companies — like ours — need a little more in-depth planning and assigning capabilities to go with their online tools. Simply put, Trello is a rad project management tool. It takes the idea of a bulletin board and re-creates it online. You can create different boards for different clients, franchise locations, social postings, blogs, basically whatever you want. The sky’s the limit with Trello. You can assign team members and set deadlines to every task, which is called a card on Trello. The app allows for complete transparency and communication between users with commenting on every card. Plus, you can attach files and useful links and even create checklists including every component of a task. We use it to plan out workloads and things like blogs and social postings with an editorial calendar. (Yes, in case you were wondering, we used Trello for assigning and scheduling this blog.)
Brand Imaging Tools
Every brand needs stellar images to go with content. (Sorry, but your iPhone won’t do the trick.) Stock image libraries like Bigstock and Getty Images provide royalty-free photos, illustrations and vector images to give your brand a consistent, high-quality and high-resolution voice.
If you’re wondering what to do with those images aside from simply posting them, Canva and Piktochart are basically Photoshop for Dummies, and they’re great tools for people who have never studied graphic design. You can manage your brand by creating infographics and templates with your brand fonts and colors, and add your own photos to develop clean, professional-looking materials for your franchisees. Canva has a huge selection of free seasonal images and text boxes to streamline the design process. You don’t need to be “that guy” working on a MacBook in a coffee shop to look legit. (And, yes, just like with Trello, we use Canva. This blog’s images are proof.)
Your brand is too important to let its standards fall by the wayside. For more tips on maintaining your brand’s image and standards, call the Franchise Marketing Group experts at (816) 875-9311.