Living up to host city New Orleans’s reputation for revelry and rapture, this year’s annual IFA Convention was nothing less than mardi gras worthy. Having spent the last couple weeks recovering and catching up after franchising’s annual hoorah, the Weise team has sorted through the swag to find our most memorable takeaways. Among these, franchisors’ lingering hesitation towards technology stands out.
In February 2014, Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary, hardly qualifying it as groundbreaking. Social media’s rapid expansion and continuing evolution of the digital sector leaves few hard and firm rules. Although social media is the go-to reference for digital marketing, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Buzz words including SEO, PPC, and CRMs are all a part of the marketing and sales mix. With so much going on in today’s race to ‘be found,’ it’s little wonder the technological world is a maze of anxiety for many.
Yet, the key many franchisor’s have yet to discover is the positive impact adopting these trends can have from both a marketing and operational standpoint, ultimately increasing their bottom line. According to David Mihm, Director of Local Search Strategy at Moz, “Brands are how you sort out the cess pool of the Internet.”
With that in mind, here are some nuggets of know-how, common confusion and other common threads we gleaned from the conference:
Google + Still one of the lesser used and understood social media platforms, Google + directly impacts your brand’s SEO. Major areas to make sure are updated and complete include business info, link to your website and location information. This info will appear higher in search results because of the link to SEO, content should be largely business focused.
Location Pages Another tidbit we kept hearing repeated was the importance of location pages. This is the easiest way for search engines to validate a company’s authenticity so make sure your info is on several different ones (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp). Also, make sure it’s accurate! This is an easy first step for promoting online presence.
Facebook- Franchise sales vs. Consumer Sales Whether Facebook should be used for both consumer and franchise sales—and whether these should be separate pages—was a hotly debated topic. Although a “one size fits all” answer may never exist, it is important to remember any potential franchisee will interact with your brand several times before revealing themselves as a prospect, making high quality content more important than ever.
Content Development Discussions revealed many brands are struggling with content development. Whether intended for social media, blogs, newsletters or websites, this directly impacts SEO. In today’s world of content overload, quality and variety is key to moving up in search results. Another important nugget to mull over: hiring an outside agency to manage content development is often more effective than relying solely on in house talent. This is, after all, what these agencies do best.
A fitting sequel to IFA, FranTech—a conference exclusively devoted to the technological sector of franchising—is coming to Denver next month. These two days offer another chance for marketing managers to learn best practices, confer with other franchisors and find vendors. I guess we’ll see many of you in Denver.