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When you are researching Canadian franchise opportunities, you are evaluating several factors, including profitability, investment, territory availability and potential locations. However, there is one area that is becoming increasingly important for brands these days that is often overlooked during the franchise research phase, and that is social media.
Hit the web
The first thing you want to do is go to the franchisor's website to see what social media icons they have. Ideally, they will have accounts on at least two or three major platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Keep in mind that some brands will not have accounts on all platforms because they have learned certain networks won't work for their brand. This is something you can ask the franchisor about as you go through the buying process.
As you find the accounts, spend five to ten minutes on each one and look at the dates, comment volume and tone of the posts. Ideally, the images or posts you see will be at least from the last day, and there should be comments under the first few posts. It's even better if you also notice the franchisor interacting with users in the comments. Last but certainly not least is the tone of the posts you are looking at. The tone of the posts you see should align with the brand. If, for example, the franchise you are looking at is "fun," its posts should reflect this. Part of building brand loyalty is delivering a consistent brand message to consumers, and social media is one effective way to do this if used properly.
The measuring stick
Many still consider Facebook as the social media measuring stick because of its size, but when it comes to social media these days, there are always trends and shifts. It is possible that your brand's target audience is more on Twitter than Facebook, for example, so take your time evaluating all the accounts you found for the brand instead of focusing on just one. If you don't like what you see, chances are the brand's audience doesn't either, and that can make it tougher for your brand to be competitive.
These days, looking at a brand's social media presence is an important part of the franchise evaluation process. Although it should not be your deciding factor, it's definitely something to consider with the way today's customers are using social media as a part of their buying decisions.