January 2013 Archives

Renee Bailey, of Franchise Direct, and  recently I discussed challenges franchisors face integrating new types of media and how franchisors and franchisees alike could better utilize mediums at their disposal.

What are some challenges franchises are facing concerning integrating new types of media?

The biggest challenge franchises face with new media is a lack of understanding that like anything else, requires planning. Many are not taking the time to:

  • develop and explore the various media available
  • identify their targets along with identifying where they congregate and communicate online
  • develop a strategy based upon the targets (which may actually require sub-strategies for each target and their online communities)
  • execute the plan and all that goes into it, including dedication of financial AND human resources in managing and monitoring activity, and of course
  • analyze and quantify results in order to continue moving forward or adjusting as necessary

Yes, that's a lot to grasp but it is essential to developing an effective program utilizing new media.

Basically, what I've described is e-IDEA, which is something we utilize religiously when working with franchise clients - Explore, Identify, Develop, Execute, and Analyze. It really is a great, simple guide to follow.

How do you feel franchisors and franchisees can better utilize the mediums at their disposal?

By working together, as many franchisees essentially "got there first," meaning they were posting within social media in its early stages. It's important to utilize their efforts as a foundation on which to build a uniform social media or new media program.

Franchisors should not take a rigid approach with respect to messaging and social involvement. New media is all about interaction and engagement, and as such, requires a "personal" touch at the local level. Of course, there needs to be guidelines and certain policies to protect the brand.

But that is more common sense than anything.

Also, I believe franchises shouldn't get all caught up in just driving LIKES. It's more important to create a community of sharing and engagement. I much prefer seeing a Facebook with lower number of LIKES but a high number of post views. That tells me that people are coming back day after day after day to see what is on the page. Whereas just LIKING a page, they may never return. What good does that do?

We're very fortunate to hold much of our casting in the Detroit area, which gives us a diverse mix of very talented actors. So, call it an embarrassment of riches that I end up spending a great deal of time listening to auditions, looking for just the right voice.

I start each audition without listening for anything specific; I simply listen to the voice. Often times this gets me to the natural fit - the people whose auditions were exactly what I was looking for. You set the tone and voice of your ad, and these are the actors that understand the character simply by reading it. I always love working with the natural fit because it generally leads to a very smooth, simple recording session with excellent results.

But sometimes no one meets me in the stream of consciousness, so I dig a little deeper. Radio ads are all about feeling and emotion, so I listen for who is capable of eliciting them through their undirected audition. These are the people who are able to set the tone, and even if their read is off by a little bit, they can draw out an emotional response.

Even actors get caught on certain words and phrases, so I pay close attention to how they deliver the ads' key messages. If they have the tone I want but get caught on a line, I'll ask for a second read and provide some direction.

I recall a story I once read about how Carly Foulkes, the T-Mobile spokeswoman, first struggled on the American English pronunciation of "mobile," but she fit the role so well that she was hired and coached, and has now been the spokeswoman for years. A little direction goes a very long way.

Radio spots are organic, and there's a lot of room for the ad to grow when you have an actor that truly understands how to act.

The voice needs to speak to the market your ad is targeting. It gives them something to relate to, so they have a reason to listen to what your ad has to say.

So, to sum it up in a random, completely unsolicited metaphor: If a radio ad's content is king, the voice is his chariot.

There are three reasons to watch the Super Bowl: the game, the halftime show for potential wardrobe malfunctions and the commercials. At an average of 3.5 million dollars a spot, Super Bowl advertisers are the hottest topic before, during and after the big game.

Whether on a local or national level, one single spot can take a big chunk out of your advertising budget. How do you rationalize spending such a large sum in one shot and generate more than just talk?

Some may argue quantity over quality. If you're getting the same amount of coverage in your demographic with multiple spots as you would with one spot in the Super Bowl, what's the difference? The difference is the type of viewer you reach in your demo. There are people in your demo who may never watch the programming you purchase annually.

But the Super Bowl is the largest television audience of the entire year, reaching both the frequent and infrequent viewer. Think of it like people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter.

Bear in mind, strategy alone won't save you if your creative is exhausted.  Here is an example of a great campaign, from our client Health Plus of Michigan.

Our client, HealthPlus of Michigan, knows firsthand that viewership of this magnitude is an excellent time to launch a new campaign. After building new creative around the Super Bowl in 2012, HealthPlus saw an increase of 174% in their quote requests, and an 88% increase in their online applications from the previous year.

The increased awareness directly following the game more than justified the cost of the production and the on-air spot.

Whether anticipating a scandal, entertaining ads or the actual game, the Super Bowl has the power to draw viewers and capture their attention. With the right combination of spot placement and creative, advertising in a high profile event can gain the recognition you may never receive from an typical schedule.

"You can check out anytime you'd like, but you can never leave....."

 Or so Mark Zuckerberg would like you to think.

 When Facebook made its announcement earlier this week about their Graph Search, it struck me that one of the intents of this project was to provide a place (Facebook) where users can do anything they need to without ever leaving the site. He's even referenced this in the past, and this latest change leads me to believe that he is paving the way to potentially make this goal a reality.

In short, this Graph Search will let users search for places, items, and other interests based on what their friends like and interact with.

This is big, as it's been said for a long time now that word of mouth from friends and family means more and influences purchasing decisions much more than any brand advertising that can be done.

It also falls into line with the success of review sites, product reviews on company websites, and even advertising that has previously been done on Facebook.

If you've ever run Facebook ads, you know you have the option to market to friends of those who already like your page; a compelling message on the ad says that "Joe Smith and 5 of your friends like this page" - it gives credibility in a way we've become used to thanks to social media conversations.

You can learn more about Facebook's Graph Search if you have time; they will be slowly releasing the beta version to US users over time.

In the meantime, you can view a quick tutorial on how it works:

 Here's how Graph Search works:

  • The search bar first returns the top search suggestions, including people, Pages, apps, places, groups, and suggested searches. People can search for things like restaurants near them, hotels in places they want to travel to, photos posted by Pages they like, or games that their friends like to play.
  • These search suggestions take people to a unique results page. The results returned are based on factors that include information that has been shared by your business and the connections of the person searching.
  • As has been the case for some time, we may also make search suggestions in the search bar that then can trigger web searches. Web searches will display Bing results and Bing ads, similar to results on Bing.com.
  • Pages and apps can still use sponsored results, which appear to people whether or not they have Graph Search (sponsored results have been globally available since August 2012). There are no new ad formats available today.

Time will only tell what effect this will have on social networking; in the meantime, I will patiently wait to get the search released so I can check it out more closely.

Connect the dots between enterprise marketing, planning, strategy and content with your local business's reach, relationships and trust. Is your social media strategy local? It should be, this ebook explains why. Start empowering your local channel.

Local Social Media Strategy for the Franchise

Franchise social media planners in branch-based organizations can take advantage of significant multipliers by going local in a comprehensive social approach. There are three key phases achieve results. This paper will lay out the steps, techniques and rewards of adopting a local social business initiative.

McKinsey reports that, social media is the "only form of marketing that can touch consumers at each and every stage, from when they are pondering brands and products right through the period after a purchase, as their experience influences the brands they prefer and their potential advocacy influences others"

McKinsey's research also shows that a direct social media recommendation from a peer generates engagement rates some 30 times higher than traditional online advertising does.

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Franchise systems and organizations are particularly well suited to capitalize on social media.

The question becomes, how do we best implement social media? Your franchise may have remote offices, dealers, franchise locations, or agents, or some mix.  For ease we will refer to these as "branches".

Branch-based organizations have decided to invest in local markets by placing people, products, inventory, services, and the brand closer to prospects and customers. Historically, local merchants have used word of mouth, advertising and PR to promote their businesses.  They were slow to embrace social media and did not know where or how to get started. Many enterprises, eager to leverage the new social media capabilities, set up fan pages and begin to tally up likes, checkins and followers. Yet, the value of a corporate fan was extremely low. Something was missing.

To answer this question, research firm Mainstay Salire recently conducted a study employing web crawlers and analytics to track and compare social media activities of corporate fans vs. local fans.

The study uncovered two interesting findings. First, local fans had five times more reach than corporate fans. Additionally, local fans were eight times more likely to engage with social media than corporate fans. Combining the depth and breadth at the local level led them to conclude that a local fan was worth 40 times more than a corporate fan in value to the enterprise.

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Planning A Localized Social Media Strategy

What can you expect in rolling out a localized social media strategy? Check out this free E-book on How To Roll Out a Localized Social Media Strategy and explore the phases in local/social media marketing.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2012 is the previous archive.

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