How to integrate social media into building sales
In today’s world everyone is connected and everyone can publish. Gone are the days when business controlled media. Distant is the memory when all queries, enquires and complaints were managed by the company’s phone systems and personnel.
It can therefore seem ever more challenging to gain connection with buyers for the business owner. We need to understand that to some extent the rules of advertising and conversation engagement have changed. So what has changed and what must the business owner do to build sales in the social media connected age?
What has changed?
We are all publishers now
Business advertisers do not control the conversation
All publishers need to consider the needs and interests of their existing and prospective clients
Content created and published is the start of the conversation not an open and closed tablet of information
On-line engagement must go beyond the application form
What must business do to build sales in the social media age?
Firstly advertising is not a mistake. Advertising is a great way to create opportunity and product awareness. It can also provide understanding of what it on offer, who should be interested and outline what benefits are available that can improve the buyer’s experience.
This is the awareness stage. Increasingly people that see and read adverts look for further information. Your own website and social media comment and ratings are increasingly sources that are visited before a new client is won. The would be client is therefore looking for understanding and confidence that can be gained from the experience of strangers – think TripAdvisor. Increasingly social media is being used for manging client conversation and support.
What can you do?
Ask your clients what research they did before becoming a client?
Document their pre-buyer journey
Ask about how they use the internet to validate companies, products and services in general
Identify where advertising and social media come into that journey over all
Consider how print, advertising and social media can be harnessed to provide evidence of happy clients
Revisit your marketing journey and review your engagement options
Add social media to provide evidence of what your company offers and real lives it has improved
Offer incentives for your clients to share the value you provide to their own networks. This will raise brand profile and drive new enquiries and sales via your client’s own activities and validation.
Harnessing social media into marketing is not a focus on technology but rather a focus on people. It’s not about control but about engagement. It’s not about throwing away all that works but rather harnessing the power of networks.
Think people first!
For strategic advice and support on growing your business contact us on 023 8027 5710, email email@example.com or connect with the author of this blog Nick Strong via LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickstrong/
Visiting franchise exhibitions is a great way for prospective franchisees to learn more about what may be their next career step. Exhibitions offer a wide range of information from a variety of different sources. It is important for you to be able to get the most out of the exhibitions you visit and the time you have to spend there.
Potential Franchise Businesses
Exhibitions will have a large amount of franchises exhibiting and it is important you make time to see the ones you are most interested in. Do your research ahead of time and find out who is going to be there, what stand number they are on, and consider the questions you want answered. Franchisors will also be handing out brochures throughout the day. Many people opt to take as many brochures as possible and browse through them at their own leisure. But remember: the opportunity to speak to the franchisors at the exhibitions is a unique one so take the time to speak to the people you are most eager to meet. Some franchisors will be happy to book you in for a meeting at the exhibition, so if you’re pushed for time make sure you speak to the franchisor to see what they can arrange. Exhibitions are also a fantastic opportunity to meet current franchisees. They will be there to speak to you to give a clear understanding about what it’s like to be a franchisee.
Seminars and Workshops
Throughout the day, there will be a number of seminars and workshops going on that will offer impartial advice for potential franchisees. Most exhibitions will provide you with a timetable of events so make sure you have a look at what’s on. Not everything will be relevant but there will be something for everyone. Many exhibitions are held over 2 days, with some seminars being repeated on the second day. Before you arrive at the exhibition, make sure you know which seminars you want to listen to, where they will be and anything you may want to ask the speaker. The presenters will all be experts in their field but all seminars will range in topics. So consider hearing from the franchisors, franchisees and independent franchise experts.
Meetings can be arranged to speak to banks, lawyers, financial professionals and business advisors whilst at the exhibition. These may need to be booked ahead of time, so make sure you check on the exhibition website. These meetings can be invaluable and can provide you with impartial advice and best practises for moving forward in your franchise journey. The advisors can set you up with who to talk to, what to do and where to go in order to secure the next steps in the franchise process.
From over 900 franchises to choose from in the UK, deciding which one is right for you can be a challenging task. Ensuring you thoroughly research your opportunities before making your final decision is one of the most important steps in the investment process.
Here are ten important questions you can ask the franchisor in order to establish if it’s the right franchise for you.
1. How long have you been in franchising?
If the franchise has been running for a number of years, the concept is tried and tested. However, success can be measured in a number of ways; we recommend establishing the growth of the business within the previous five years at least.
2. How much is the initial set up and what do I get in return for the franchise fee?
One of the common mistakes made when buying a business is not establishing the total outlay. The most important thing to establish here is what the franchise package includes. Does the package allow you to launch the business? If the business requires a shopfront, is the fitting included in the price? You need to make sure you know what you are getting for your money.
3. How much working capital do I need?
When trying to establish what the total outlay is, always consider your personal expense. If a franchisor advises you initial set up fee is all you need then consider running a mile! It will take a little time to get you trained and to set the business up. You want to make sure you have enough working capital to keep you going before you really start bringing the profits in.
4. Is the franchise business seasonal?
This is a very common mistake investors do not consider. Seasonal business can not only have negative impact on the finance, but also job satisfaction. Some people can very quickly lose interest in the business by not being active all year long. For others, it allows for more flexibility. Make sure you know how the business runs and whether that suits you.
5. How often is the operations manual updated?
All franchisors should have an operations manual, but printing 1000’s of pages and giving it to you to read is not really practical in the long run. Furthermore best practice is always evolving and the manual will need to be updated constantly. Ask your franchisor about the operations manual and how it works. You will want to ensure the business is developing as times change, but is still proven to work. A good franchisors will also take into consideration any thoughts you may have about developing the operations. If they like the idea, they may test it to see if it works and roll it out to the company if it is successful.
6. Who provides the training and what does the training cover? Is there future training available?
The reason one probably invests in a franchise is due to the fact that it is a proven concept. However, only a comprehensive training program will get you in shape to practice the concept. You should try to establish if the training covers all elements of the business you’re looking to invest in and is it documented. This is also an opportunity to find out how long the initial training is. Commonly, training is for less than 6 weeks. But if it is any longer, most franchisors will have it written in the contract. Keep in mind that the time spent during initial training will take a toll on your working capital.
7. What help will I receive in local advertising and promotion?
One of the signs of a good franchisor is how much support is available and marketing is perhaps the most important element of it. However, you should try to establish if the franchisor has the business structure or personal help to offer support. As a new business, you will need support in promoting your services to your territory.
8. What exclusive rights do I get?
It is critical in the franchise industry that multiple franchisees are not operating in the same area; otherwise you end up with competing with the same brand. Furthermore, consider other aspects such as online orders.
9. What continuing support do you provide after the business has commenced?
Cost is the biggest killer for business and supporting your business can cost lot of money. Good franchisors generally take care of the support as much as possible and gets the franchisees to focus on selling. Focus on long terms supports for your business processes when trying to establish an answer to this question.
10. Can I talk to current franchisees?
If you even have to ask a franchisor to speak to the franchisee you should be concerned. If the franchisor hesitates to give you contact details of active franchisees, then you should walk away from the investment. It is important to meet people who were once in your position, and it will give you the chance to see how the franchise works from their prospective.