When it comes to online brand management, franchises often have much more to consider than traditional businesses. Why? Because they must manage the brand online not only for the franchise as a whole but for each franchise location.

This can become a daunting task, and if it is not handled properly it can lead to disaster.

Managing your franchise brand successfully online will result in:

●Brand consistency in all local markets
●#1 Rankings in all markets
●Prompt and effective online customer care in all markets
●Prompt and consistent damage control in all local markets
●Consistent engagement and participation on social networks in all local markets

For some that may seem like a tall order, especially when considering the size of many franchise systems today.

How do you do this? The basic answer is relatively simple: you need a solid online strategy that works for both franchisor and franchisees.

There are essentially four primary components to creating a franchise-wide online strategy.

Part 1: Internet Marketing Model

This is the foundation of your online strategy and it answers three primary questions: How, Who and Where.

How?

●How will the Internet be used to ensure the franchise website lands on Page 1 for relevant searches in all of its local markets?
●How will the website be used? (Brand page vs. local pages, for example)
●How will social networking be utilized? (Will there be Brand pages and/or local pages, and which social networks will you use?)

Who?

●Who will ensure that the page 1 Google rankings are achieved...franchisor or franchisee?
●Who will manage the website?
●Who is responsible for setting up and maintaining social networks and delivering social care?

Where?

Where will funding come from to cover the cost of these initiatives?

Click here for more information about creating an effective Internet Marketing Model.

Part 2: Internet Usage Policy

This will define how and franchisees and their employees (as well as corporate employees) can use the Internet.

This is your protection. It outlines what can and cannot be done online, and it is absolutely crucial. Without this you leave yourself open to the potential of many negative outcomes, including lawsuits, breaches of confidentiality and more.

It is also an opportunity to empower your franchisees to engage online in the proper ways.

Consider these questions:

●What are your expectations for online communication?
●Are franchisees and/or employees allowed to comment on or answer questions about the company?
●How will you monitor franchisee and employee engagement?
●How will you enforce policies?

Click here to find out more about creating an effective internet usage policy.

Part 3: Social Care Policy

Good social care means good customer service delivered through online platforms. It's crucial today because more people are turning to places like Facebook and Twitter to get their customer service issues resolved than using the phone or web help forums.

For franchises, this means that you have to be there...not only for your franchises as a whole, but if anyone in any location has a customer service issue related to one of your franchises, you have to have a system in place to deal with this.

Delivering good social care is relatively simple. It is the process of the following three things:

●Monitor
●Listen
●Respond positively in each given situation

You need to have your policy in place so that you and your franchisees know exactly what to do and who is doing it.

Click here to find out more about developing a social care policy for your franchise.

Part 4: Communication and Engagement Plan

This is an ever-evolving plan for engaging with your audience online. Among other things, it will identify:

●the types of content you'll create
●where and how that content will be distributed
●how to engage proactively with your audience for online growth.

Of course...this is all just the beginning of successful online brand management. It requires consistency, dedication and adaptation in order to keep your franchise on top.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, when you need to know more about how to effectively manage your brand online.

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