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BizReport : Social Marketing : August 15, 2013

Franchisors holding strings on local franchise online presence

While most franchisees consider themselves autonomous from their franchisors, a new report points to potential problem areas - primarily in the online space. According to new data from the BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor, most websites and even social media holdings are owned and operated by franchisors - not the local businesses.

by Kristina Knight

The latest findings from the BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor shows nearly half (43%) of Franchisors cover the costs of website/social media for their franchisees. Not a bad thing necessarily - except that they are also 'highly involved' (51%) with how franchisees use social media. Again, this doesn't have to be a bad thing, until its taken into account that the power of social media is in the local factor.

"The LCM findings point to a potential tug-of-war setting up over the social media presence of franchises," said Steve Marshall, director of research, BIA/Kelsey. "An essential characteristic of successful social media programs is authenticity, which requires candid, timely and uncensored posting. At the same time, franchisors need to be highly protective of their brands, which includes their local presence. The challenge is whether social media can be used successfully by local franchises when there's a high degree of control from the parent company. The jury is still out--this is a delicate balancing act and the roles are still being defined."

Some interesting findings from the report include:

• 43% of franchisors underwrite the cost of web development, landing pages and product listings
• 51% of franchisees say their parent-company is 'highly involved' with the local online presents
• 23% of franchisees say their parent-company is 'somewhat involved' with their social media presence

Franchisees say their franchisors have developed rules about how often they can use social media profiles and what kinds of conversations can be used on those pages.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: BIA/Kelsey, local business tips, smb tips, social marketing

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