Social media is everywhere. It’s on our smartphones and on our computers. Most of us are connected 24/7, sharing updates, liking selfies, and interacting with friends. You’ll hear on the news that this is a bad thing, but there are positive sides to social media, too. It’s bringing people together on a global scale, helping them share mutual interests and communicate ideas.
Are you leveraging the positive side of social media to strengthen your franchise network? One of the challenges of franchising is that your location owners are spread out across the nation or even around the world. Team-building is tough under those conditions.
You can try to mitigate this issue with regular corporate gatherings, intranets, and email lists. But in my experience, nothing gets instantaneous, candid engagement quite like a Facebook group. You can reach everyone in your network within minutes. And since they have Facebook literally in their pockets all day, they will read and respond just as quickly.
Facebook Groups are flexible and secure. You can make them invisible to the public and limit those who can issue invitations. You can create a group for every level in your organization, including corporate staff, location owners, and managers. Even better, groups are free, easy to manage, and simple to set up with corporate branding.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of a Facebook group to boost morale and create a rock-solid franchise team.
There are probably some location owners in your system who never seem to respond to emails or log into the corporate intranet. That’s understandable – they’re busy running a business! But you can complement traditional communications by using a Facebook group to share important information with the people who need to see it. They’ll be more likely to engage and respond.
Consider sharing status reports, newsletters, links to online resources, or reminders about best practices. You can also use the Facebook Live feature to host webinars or motivational messages from your corporate office.
Because your franchise location owners have their phones in their pockets, they can review this information at their convenience as part of their own Facebook feeds, making it easy for them to digest the information and easier for you to ensure that everyone has seen important updates.
Let them talk
This aspect of a Facebook group might be hard for franchise leaders, but it’s important to let the group members take the lead. Your groups will need moderation, and you may have to remove a post or comment from time to time. But in general, allowing group members to talk and feel that their voice is being heard is beneficial for their morale and for your organization.
Why is that? It’s because some of the best ideas for how to improve your system are going to come from negative comments. You’ve got to be willing to hear them, take them seriously and respond if you’re going to improve and grow. If you’re deleting every negative post or comment, group members will think they’re not allowed to be critical and that they don’t have a real voice. You’ll miss out on the valid points they might bring to the table, and morale will drop.
Another thing you’ll see when you let group members take center stage is that leaders will emerge. You won’t have to respond to negative comments because other members will step in to discuss the issue. They’ll start mentoring newer location owners or managers and answering their questions. They will inspire the newer owners with their continued passion and dedication, not just at corporate functions, but every day through the power of social media.
Summing it up
When you put Facebook groups to work for you, you’ll see better teamwork and communication across the board, and you’ll identify those within your organization who have a true passion and belief in your brand. It’s like having your franchise convention all year long, with all the idea sharing, energy, and fellowship that means. While Facebook groups shouldn’t be your only method of franchise network communication, they are a valuable tool in your corporate toolbox.