Taking Advantage of Facebook’s National-Local Tool
The debate is over and the findings are definitive: Facebook pages for local franchisees grow faster and produce more fan engagement than a single national page.
Does this mean franchisees can do whatever they want with their Facebook pages? No, definitely not. Your company wants to protect its brand equity by having some measure of control at the local level. In an ideal world, every franchisor would have both:
• A branded national page on Facebook.
• An integrated social media presence that gives your organization complete control over local franchisee pages, but still allows them to leverage the unmatched marketing power of Facebook to connect and engage with prospects and customers at the local level.
Fortunately, these capabilities are now a reality. As announced during the Technology Summit of the 2012 International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention, Facebook has heard our collective voice, and is providing its National-Local Tool (sometimes referred to as parent-child) to IFA members at no cost.
What’s So Great About the National-Local Tool?
Facebook’s National-Local tool enables companies to take the first step toward capitalizing on the reach of social media, which is here to stay. It reduces the complexity and combines the best of both worlds by letting franchisors maintain brand integrity, while allowing franchisees to be more easily found by prospects and customers who are looking for them on smartphones, tablets and computers.
This is how marketing is conducted today, and Facebook is today’s leading social media channel. It represents a huge growth opportunity for your brand, to build awareness and drive leads, across all markets. Implementing the National-Local solution is an essential step in building a foundation to manage your brand and increase local sales.
As with any technology, the higher the adoption rate, the faster the tool will become a useful standard, therefore all IFA members are advised to take advantage and sign up for the Facebook National-Local Tool now.
What’s in it for Franchisors?
Do you have your own personal Facebook page? If so, you probably:
• Love the way it enables you to stay in touch with people you know and organizations that interest you.
• Hate it for being a colossal waste of your time.
Regardless of how you use it yourself, Facebook has proven itself as an incredible tool for brand presentation and customer engagement, and a marketing channel that your business cannot afford to ignore (especially as your competitors race to establish their own national and local presence there).
Here are some of the benefits of the National-Local tool to franchisors:
• Administrator status and complete control of every franchisee page.
• Visibility to all “Likes” and check-ins for all franchisee pages through an intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard interface.
• A visual perspective that includes a Bing-based map with links to franchisee pages. (This map can be turned off for home-based franchisees.)
• Administrator rights over rogue Facebook pages (pages not created by your franchisees, but by fans or detractors) that are utilizing your brand in the page title.
It’s important to note that your corporate or brand Facebook page gets administrator rights, not any individual. Not to worry, the original page owner does not lose access. Your brand is added as the primary administrator. The original page owner cannot remove your brand as administrator, and as with any nationally managed campaign, it is best to achieve system buy-in prior to campaign execution.
How Does it Work?
To make the National-Local tool available to franchisors at no cost, Facebook needed some help. Initially there was going to be a cost attached to cover the labor of a Facebook account representative who would collect and input all of the local data required. Process Peak saw this as an opportunity to help franchisors.
Over the last year, our company has been working with more than 100 franchise systems to improve their corporate and franchisee Facebook presence. As part of this process, our company has become expert at capturing franchisee data and providing the details to Facebook. We saw that a nearly identical process is now necessary to make the tool a reality for hundreds of franchisors. So we are offering our help.
Your business can sign up for the tool at http://franchise.org/form.aspx?ekfrm=56207 or by email to IFAmembers@fb.com. If your organization would like assistance with compiling and formatting your data, contact me at Jon@ProcessPeak.com. Either way your franchise will need to complete a spreadsheet with all of your location data, including any existing Facebook pages.
Once the information is provided, my company will check your input for proper formatting, completeness and accuracy of data before turning everything over to Facebook staff. The Process Peak team is available to help franchisors complete the spreadsheet as well. Once this information is provided, your National-Local tool will be available in approximately two weeks. To date, more than 60 brands have taken advantage of this opportunity.
Many franchisors have submitted their information already, but have not been notified of progress. In many cases the spreadsheet was rejected due to errors and the franchisor is not aware. If your company submitted your spreadsheet and does not yet have the National-Local solution, send me an email and I will check on it for you.
What Can We Do With It?
The National-Local solution represents step one in optimizing your Facebook presence and does not provide tools to post content system-wide or efficiently manage the pages, so a third-party dashboard solution is recommended to fully realize the benefit of the local pages.
Franchisors across many industries run system-wide campaigns that generated twice as many fans at the local level as they did with a national page. They are then able to communicate with those local fans if they utilize a third-party dashboard.
It is critical that franchisors sign up now, and take advantage of this opportunity to build a relationship with Facebook. Social media is not going away, and now is the time to establish a presence in this channel, before every last one of your competitors is already on this platform. Do it now and your brand will be ahead of the pack in terms of both national brand awareness, and local lead generation, sales, customer service and retention. ⎯
Jon Carlston, CFE, is vice president of social development at Process Peak. Process Peak is a full-service Internet marketing provider focused on creating engagement and conversion environments powered by software solutions to meet the demands of growing a brand with today’s tech savvy consumer. He can be reached at