LinkedIn is often seen as the place to go if you're recruiting new employees or searching for a new job -- not necessarily as a place to grow franchise sales. However, when you think about it, a franchise sale can be considered a new employee or someone looking for a new job. It makes sense that the number one social network for business professionals is also be the number one place for your franchise to grow.

According to the 2014 Franchise Development Report:

  • 42% of franchise sales are from the internet
  • Franchise sales generated through social media have 267% YOY
  • 40% of social media franchise sales originated from LinkedIn

If your franchise is already pursuing sales on LinkedIn, you're ahead of the game; but if you aren't, you're missing out on an area of opportunity.

No matter what level you are at, you can improve your franchise sales through LinkedIn with our starter kit. You can also download our printable cheat sheet to keep handy and track your progress.

1. Make LinkedIn a priority

Before your decide to start using LinkedIn -- to showcase your business and raise its profile to new franchisees -- you need to commit to it. I'm sure you already have a designated time where you check your emails and follow up on phone calls, you should also allocate time in your day (or week) to check-in and work on LinkedIn.

Once you make LinkedIn a regular part of your schedule, it blend right into your day-to-day activities and your franchise will start seeing positive results.

2. Investigate your competitors

It is always a good idea to stay up-to-date on what other franchises similar to yours are doing in the online marketing arena and LinkedIn is no exception. Start looking into how your competitors are using their LinkedIn company profiles and it will help you come up with new ideas about how you can grow your franchise. Whether you are the first or last one to the game, you will learn how they are positioning themselves toward a target audience (which may or may not be yours).

Make sure to take detailed notes, including:

  • Uploading pictures
  • Posting regularly
  • Sharing files
  • Listing specialties
  • Other tactics that help them stand out

These notes will help form your LinkedIn strategy to increase your franchise sales. While I don't recommend you copy your competitors verbatim (after all, you do have your own unique market proposition), seeing what others have done is always a good jumping point and can help you brainstorm ideas about what to include on your own page.

3. Have a profile that impresses

After you are done taking your notes, its time to analyze and implement your strategy to create a profile that grabs the attention of your target audience.

The best way to optimize your profile is simple: fill out each applicable section with the required content -- and don't do a half-a*s job! By putting the extra effort in now, your profile will get more bang for its buck and bring in more prospects.

For example: be sure to list any non-profit organizations that your brand supports under the "Volunteer Experience & Causes" section of your personal profile. You never know if a certain charitable affiliation will resonate with someone and be the reason he/she reaches out to you.

4. Showcase your franchise

LinkedIn showcase pages allow you to focus on the opportunity your franchise offers.

While your company page focuses on your brand as a whole, your showcase page is a good place to sell prospects on the many benefits of your franchise -- and how it can help them. Take a page out of your sales toolkit when creating your showcase page and start generating leads.

5. Update and engage

On both your company and showcase pages, you need to stay active and engage your audience by sharing useful and helpful information about your franchise, as well as any positive press your business receives. If you are dedicated to these pages, they will always be up-to-date so that prospects never have outdated information.

In addition, by regularly updating LinkedIn, you will also integration the platform into your regular sales routine and help increase audience awareness. When possible, you should go beyond your own page and join groups where you can network with others in your industry and discuss challenges and share success stories.

Bonus: Upgrade

If you want to give your account a boost, you can sign up for LinkedIn Premium which will give you a laundry list of sales perks. While this isn't necessary for everyone, when you start seeing success it can help you keep the momentum going by giving you access to advanced search and in-mail features, as well as the ability to send messages to almost anyone with a LinkedIn profile (connecting you with even more prospects).

Conclusion

Taking advantage of LinkedIn for your franchise sales can help you extend your process in front of entrepreneurs searching for their next step. Some of the challenges you face from a sales perspective can be tackled with LinkedIn's ability to connect you with your audience and groups throughout your community.

Download our LinkedIn Starter Kit and make sure your franchise is in front of users who are searching for their next business opportunity. Download Now

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