Is your business part of a brand network of locations, and you’re not sure where to start with social media? Here’s a beginner’s guide to social business for franchise businesses – The core ideas can also be implemented for individual businesses as well…

How Can Individual Locations Benefit From Social Media And Add Value To Their Franchise Network?

In other words: What every business and satellite location should do for social media success.

The techniques outlined here are meant for business networks with more than one location collaborating together.  For example: Restaurants, Auto Service Shops, Niche Retail, some Real Estate and Insurance teams, and even sales representatives working with large brands.  

At the same time the core social business ideas here can be applied to individual businesses as well.

First Things First

In Social Business, Content Is King, as Keri Jaehnig of Idea Girl Media describes

photo credit: Grant MacDonald via photopin cc

There’s no one social business model.  Also…

All social networks are not created equal.  Meaning: Each one caters to a different goal, a different audience, and has different terms of service.  What might work on one social network may not work on another.

That said, most social networks begin with a profile account where much of the activity is focused on the news feed.

So, yes – Begin with a foundation of a well-branded profile!  But accept that, due to the evolution of the social media-sphere, many may not even see your profile or page (biggest example: Facebook).

Your fans and followers will find and interact with your content in the news feed where they hang out.

“Content is King,” as many social media thought leaders say.

It’s true.

So creating and sharing awesome, engaging content should be part of your social business strategy.

Content Rules

As a champion of social business, IBM fosters using social technologies to improve business communication and processes.  Others state that using social networking tools to communicate with business partners and customers is a good social business definition.

Many businesses now see the value in including social networking, or social media, in their business and marketing strategies.  Once you make the decision to engage on social media, your business is on the way to being a social business.  But it’s what you do once you make the decision that makes the difference in your journey.

Storytelling is essential for social media marketing success says Keri Jaehnig of Idea Girl MediaGood social media marketers are good storytellers.  Good storytelling empowers fans and followers to converse and talk about your business brand with others (engagement).

As stated above, content is king.  To ensure that content is worthy of it’s golden crown, there are a few recommended “rules of the content kingdom road,” so to speak.

“If content is king, engagement is queen,” often said by Mari Smith.

What some tend to forget is this:

Storytelling isn’t broadcasting.  AND real people do not respond to brands that talk only about themselves.  (Read those last two sentences again – I’ll wait).

A good content formula that works for social business:

  • Your content shared should be 50% yours and 50% from other sources.
  • Your content should be 80% informational and up to 20% promotional (the 80-20 rule).

It may be helpful to remember “50/50” and “80/20.”

There is so much to convey on how to achieve social media success and working toward good social business practices that most are overwhelmed.

Lets break down social business basics into some helpful Do’s & Don’ts…

Social Business: A Beginner’s Guide For Franchise Operations Do’s & Dont’s

For All Social Networks


  • Do post regularly
  • Do be consistent in your messaging
  • Do have a content plan, a graphic content plan & an ad plan
  • Do respond to messages, posts on your pages/profiles, and re-tweets!!

The whole point of striving toward being a social business and having a presence on social media is to engage with your audience and target market and build relationships.  That means you have to show up!  Be there with content that adds value to people’s lives, and respond to those that give you their time on social platforms.


  • Don’t be singular (diversify)
  • Don’t leave your profiles unvisited
  • Don’t broadcast (me, me, me)

You know what they say about putting all your eggs in one basket.  Just as you would not invest only in one company’s stock, optimally your online presence should include more than one social network to include varied pathways to your brand.

Should an online visitor find your social profiles with nothing posted weeks or months, it could give them the impression your company is not active or may have gone out of business. In fact, that would be evidence of not having a social business.  It can be more damaging to have an inactive or vacated profile than none at all.

We’ve all had them: Friends that when you talk on the phone, all they do is go on and on about themselves and never ask about you.  And, eventually, we tune them out.  We don’t call back.  We move on.  Now put this in digital form – Brands that share only about their brand and talk only about themselves get left behind.  Eventually fans will turn off their notifications, unsubscribe from their feeds, and move on to other brands that……care about a two-way dialogue.

Social Business Guidelines For Facebook PagesFor Facebook Pages


  • Do post 3-4 times per day with diverse content & content types
  • Do use branded content
  • Do socialize (network) as your brand online
  • Do Respond to all notifications
  • SHARE!!

Remember above what we discussed about vacated profiles and two-way relationships.  Be there, respond, and all will be golden.  Be sure to arrange for fan post notifications to be sent via email, or to show up in your personal Facebook notifications (the globe in the upper right).

Your graphic content plan should include branded content with your logo and brand key words.  Posting branded visuals increases brand awareness and helps people connect with your social business.

Networking as your brand is as simple as logging in to Facebook as your Page and visiting other pages and participating in conversation.  This means offering value within the comments stream.  Save posting information about your brand until it legitimately answers a question.  Hopping from page to page posting your links is….spammy.

One excellent way for both brand and franchises to win is to share each others’ content onto your specific Facebook Page, and to your personal profiles.  Doing this brings strength and awareness within the network, and more importantly, to fans.  Further, shared content is a way of offering fans good content and amplifying the brand without “talking about yourself.”


  • Don’t repeatedly invite your friends to your page
  • Don’t only post content about your business
  • Don’t leave out the call to action
  • Don’t be afraid to “go-rogue” (Off-topic)
  • Don’t use the “boost post” button in your Admin Panel!!

We all want fans to click like, comment, and share our content.  Chances are you want people to click the links to your website or sales page when you post them.  A good call to action is essential to getting fans to do what you want with the posts you make.  “Click here to discover,” “Tell us your opinion now,” “Feel free to share with those you feel would benefit,” are all acceptable calls to action that seem to work well.

Sometimes the most fun happens when we talk about something off-topic – Perhaps something hot in the news, or a topic people always like to talk about, or even something spur-of-the-moment fun that happened that day.  People always like to talk about themselves…..ask a “YOU” question.

Once you build your Facebook Page, you will need to sponsor your important content to ensure it reaches your fans and target audience.  The “boost” button in your admin panel is convenient, but the options in the Ads Manager or Power Editor on Facebook offer far greater value for the dollars spent.

Twitter Guidelines For Social BusinessFor Twitter


  • Do meet your audience when they are there
  • Do Re-tweet others
  • Do make conversation lists
  • Do use hashtags
  • Do attend tweetchats
  • Do thank tweeps for mentions & RTS!!!

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

Tweeting while no one is listening is just simply tweeting.  Your goal is to be found and for your followers to see your tweets.  Meet them when they are online by being there when they are.  Use Tweriod to analyze your best times to tweet.

Social Business Tip: People tend to visit social channels at similar times, so this can help you with Facebook timing too.

Arranging those you follow on Twitter into conversation lists will help you build relationships.  It will also help you with social listening – Staying aware of online conversation relevant to your brand.  You can make lists of key words or hashtags as well.

Using hashtags relevant to your brand can attract followers, and also puts you into a conversation trackable with a single click.  Tweetchats utilize hashtags specific to an interest group.  Participating in tweet chats helps tweeps get to know you/your brand.

As much as possible, thank people for mentioning your brand, and for re-tweeting your tweets.  You can do this by replying (@reply) with as simple message.  Even better, re-tweet something from their newsfeed!


  • Don’t *not* respond to tweets from tweeps (RT, @ replies)
  • Don’t broadcast only your content
  • Don’t pre-set direct messages to new followers (DMs)
  • Don’t “schedule & scram”
  • Don’t auto-syndicate from Facebook To Twitter or vice versa!!!!!

Social Business Tip: Don’t set an auto-responder when someone follows you.  These are viewed as spam, and even if you don’t include a link, these tend to be ignored and are not viewed positively.

If you schedule tweets to go out when you know your audience will be online, that is usually okay as long as you follow up to respond to the conversation that follows.  If you ask a question: Be there!

Auto-syndicating from Facebook to Twitter & vice-versa – I’ve asked several times in several different ways with always the same result: People on Twitter do not want to see Facebook Links, and people on Facebook do not want to see “Twitter-ese.”

Social Business Tip: Don’t auto-syndicate between Facebook and Twitter.  If you wish to save time, use a social media dashboard to get content where you want it to go.  You’ll nurture your online relationships much better.

For LinkedIn Personal


  • Do update your status daily when your audience is on
  • Do participate in relevant groups (don’t spam)
  • Do follow Company Pages in your niche
  • Do tag & congratulate
  • Do recommend quality people & seek recommendations

Resist the temptation to update your LinkedIn status more than once per day.  There are direct syndication options available, and really great share options from websites.  Be a curating sharer – Leave at least 8 hours between shares.

LinkedIn is the keepsake chest of your professional contacts.  Nurture relationships by commenting and interacting on intriguing status updates from your network.  People like to be called by name, so use the “@” tag to be personal.

If you want someone to smile at you, smile at them first, right?

Social Business Tip: Give and accept recommendations to build credibility and authority in your niche.


  • Don’t leave your profile unedited
  • Don’t endorse people unless you really mean it
  • Don’t forget your groups interaction
  • Don’t go crazy with tons of interaction at once

Be strategic.  Your interaction is seen by your network.  Taking up all of their newsfeed can become annoying.  Make your moves count by choosing meaningful engagement.

LinkedIn Groups are where many productive business relationships bud.  Find groups in your professional niche where you can network.  When you can, answer a question in conversation that draws people to your brand’s published content.

More LinkedIn Tips

Social Business For LinkedInFor LinkedIn Company Pages

  • Do fill it in as completely as possible
  • Do lead people to it
  • Do use niche & company key words
  • Do be consistent
  • Do use showcase pages, if relevant

LinkedIn’s Company Pages have evolved.  They offer brand pages and then sub-pages that showcase services, projects, or content for specific target audiences.  Make these links available on your other social networks to encourage follows, which builds relationships.


  • Don’t auto-syndicate & never check it
  • Don’t post only marketing material
  • Don’t forget to mention your Company Page if your response to a question in groups is legitimately answered by doing so
  • Don’t have so many showcase pages you can’t manage them

Posting about your business and your franchisor is important.  Including important content about your industry also conveys useful information about your brand.

When interacting in LinkedIn Groups, be careful about posting your links.  Err on the side of care – Post links to your business and franchisor when the details within will legitimately answer a question or lead people to answers they are looking for.

It’s fun to create pages and curate your company content.  But be careful you don’t over-showcase yourself.  Remember, if you can’t keep it current, it could be more damaging than being consistent with one or two showcase pages.

For Google+ Personal Profiles


  • Do Share content from within your niche
  • Do Share your Franchiser Page & Business Page content
  • Do Participate in Communities
  • +1 your content & others’
  • Do Tag others in conversation/comments
  • Do attent relevant hangouts

The activity here is very similar to Facebook, only you get SEO value for engaging.  Use the “+” to tag instead of the “@.”

Communities are very similar to Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups.  Form relationships for project collaborators, and networking to find good Google Hangouts to attend.

The Google Hangout is like an online meeting with cool video.  They’ve evolved to the point that some hosts are hiring producers!  Google Hangouts allow you to get answers to questions, answer questions from others, network with experts and learn new things.  Hangouts are really a great conductor for social business!


  • Don’t share ONLY your content
  • Don’t forget to network/socialize
  • Don’t forget about the tools on G+
  • Don’t share every message to circle contacts

Keri Jaehnig of Idea Girl Media explains Google+ Guidelines For Social BusinessBe diverse in your content sharing – Remember, those that talk only about themselves… 🙂

In comments, tag the people involved in that comment stream.  Remember, you’re earning “Google Love.”  +1 comments too.

Use Circles, Communities, and Hangouts as tools.  G+ also has great photo editing available – It’s really very visual!  Also, hashtags are clickable to find people and brands in relevant conversation.

Social Business Tip: Your circles are your ticket to organizing contacts and cultivating business relationships.  Share posts to your circles strategically.  Over-sharing can annoy some people, and they may eventually tune you out.  Definitely do not opt for emailing to circles unless it is a big or important announcement.

For Google+ Business Pages


  • Do post regularly when audience is on
  • Do socialize/network your brand
  • Do lead people to the page
  • Do share updates with circles within reason
  • Do participate in communities
  • Do follow your Business Page & share occasional posts

Google+ allows business pages to connect with individuals and participate in Communities!  This is a great feature.  If at all possible, find a way to get a personal face in your avatar, as this will help you network more easily in Communities.

One thing that can be easy to forget: Following your own Business Page.  In order to share content from your business Page, you’ll need to be following it.

  • Don’t share every message to circles
  • Don’t email to circles
  • Don’t share only your content
  • Don’t forget to respond to comments (do tag people)

For Instagram


  • Do be there!
  • Do connect with contacts from other networks
  • Do share diverse brand content
  • Do comment & respond
  • Do lead people to your Instagram profile
  • Do use apps to enhance content
  • Do re-post

If you want to be a social business, this is your social network!  Right now, it is easy to connect and build relationships because Instagram is not over-populated.  Finding like-minded people via hashtag is very possible, and expected.

There are many apps now to create really delicious visual content!  Brand your images, and draw people in by showcasing how your product or service relates to real life.  Use the video option for fun creative snippets that can be shared on other social networks.

A re-post is like a re-tweet.  Use the Re-Post App for that (available in the App Store).


  • Don’t forget about it
  • Don’t over-do it
  • Don’t be too personal

Really simple.  If it is a brand account, keep in mind you’re representing a brand, a company.  And it’s reputation.

For Pinterest 


  • Do fill out your profile and board descriptions completely with links
  • Do use hashtags
  • Do pin your brand content (blog posts, photos, graphic quotes, videos, etc.)
  • Do pin others’ content
  • Do comment on others’ pins
  • Do respond to those that comment on your pins
  • Do verify your website

If you have a product or service where people need to see it to believe it, you should be on a visually-oriented platform like Pinterest.

Hashtags are quite searchable on Pinterest, and sometimes the search results are better than a Google search!

Boards with others’ content can be used as access to resources important to your niche.  Pinterest is the perfect place to curate content that establishes and proves credibility.

Like all you want.  But it’s the comment that helps you build relationships.  While Pinterest may not be thought of as super-social, this platform is what you make it, and can be a great catalyst for social business if you actively comment and use group boards.

People want to connect with those they know they can trust.  Pinterest will allow you to add trust to your profile by verifying your website.  It’s simple, and takes you or your web developer about 5 minutes by adding a code to your website.  You can also make your account a Business Account – This being one of the steps.


  • Don’t over-use hashtags
  • Don’t forget to fill in the link to the image when you pin
  • Don’t drown your followers with too many pins at once
  • Don’t auto-syndicate your Pinterest content (choose specifically)

Pinterest Guidelines for Social Business as described by Keri Jaehnig of Idea Girl MediaIf you forget to add the link of origination, the pin will not drive traffic to your website.  Which is the whole entire point of being on Pinterest.

Social Business Tip: Pinterest is full of delicious visual content.  You may even have to set a timer for yourself when you go in to pin!  It’s tempting to interact with a lot of content while there, so auto-syndicating content or movement puts you at risk of over-whelming your followers on other networks.  Pinterest gives you great specific sharing syndication options.  Use these!

For YouTube


  • Do brand your videos
  • Do use an introductory trailer
  • Do be thorough in completing profile & including social icons
  • Do respond to comments
  • Do socialize/network
  • Do lead people to your channel

YouTube is the second largest search engine.  It’s owned by Google, so this makes sense.  But it’s also turning into a fierce social community.  Brand your videos and brand your channel!

YouTube is now more social than it was at one time.  Encourage comments, and don’t forget to check them.  Proactively find videos from influencers in your niche and add likes and comments.  Be social for your social business.

Twitter is a great place to share links to your best videos.  Also embed your videos in blog posts to add audience and followers.


  • Don’t leave it naked
  • Don’t forget about playlists
  • Don’t forget to tag people in conversation
  • Don’t like or comment unless you don’t want it to be public

Social Business Tip: Making playlists of your best videos and video tips is a great way to easily engage hopeful followers.  Making playlists of favorite videos from other sources also gives people an idea of what your brand is about.

YouTube is a social network, and your likes and comments are public.  As a social business, represent your brand well.

Essential Efforts For Your Social Business

  • Be the authority in your niche
  • Proactively build following(s) – Concentrated effort {Community}
  • Show how your product/service benefits real life
  • Connect with niche influencers
  • Use the right tools – Content surfacing, content curation, management, social listening, insights/analytics
Your Community Is Your Asset In A Social Business according to Keri jaehnig of Idea Girl Media

photo credit: joeduty via photopin cc

You goal is to build community, which is an asset, adding value to your company and business.

Social Business Sum Up

Social media is not a marketing channel.  It is a relationship channel.  On social media, be building relationships!

Who do people buy from?  Those they know, like, and trust…

Relationships = know.

Know builds to like.

Like leads to trust.

Trust leads to sales.

That’s ROI…

That’s why you’re social.

That’s why many companies value the journey and benefit of becoming a social business, and offer value to their franchise network.

What Say You About Social Business?

It’s your turn!

What have I left out?

Do you feel you are doing well at becoming a social business?

Please let me know your questions in the comments box below…  🙂