Social media advertising is all the rage. So why is it not working for me? Cody Crail optimises your digital marketing program
We are all very familiar with the mind blowing statistics about the prevalence of social media in society today. But in case you need reminding here are a couple goodies: Facebook has 1.8 billion active users. The average user checks Facebook 14 times and spends 47 minutes per day in the mobile app. Social networks earned $8 billion in advertising in 2015 and that jumped to over $40 billion in 2016. 91% of retail brands use two or more social media channels.
Most people are also familiar with how extremely targeted a social media ad campaign can be because of the incredible wealth of information these platforms have on its users. Need to target pregnant women in Toledo who love yoga? You can do that. CPAs in their 50s who own a Tesla and spend lots of money on pets? Not a problem.
Social platforms gather this information on its user by tracking their online activity and behaviors with pixels and cookies, and they also source information on all of us from partners like Experian, Acxiom, Epsilon, and even the DMV! No other form of digital advertising gives you the ability to zero-in on a specific audience like social media ad campaigns.
However, if you are like most franchise development folks, you struggle to find quality franchise candidates through social media advertising and still rely more on traditional channels such as portals, trade shows and discovery days to grow your system. It can be perplexing that such a cutting-edge venue, with the ability to reach very specific groups isn’t generating a higher volume of lead flow or better candidates with the right qualifications for your concept.
According to this year’s Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR) 49% of the overall budget was spent on digital marketing but social advertising only produced 7% of sales. What is with the under-performance?
Some might instantly dismiss social media advertising as the wrong place to find franchisees. Or feel that sophisticated, high net worth individuals don’t make purchasing decisions based on what they see in their social news feeds. Maybe it makes sense when you are selling funny t-shirts but not a half million dollar business investment.
The problem with that thinking is that EVERYONE is on social media! That includes your potential franchisees. Also, 68% of Americans admit that social media influences their purchases which includes real estate, travel, investments, automobiles, and everything else under the sun. The best explanation as to why so many companies are struggling to find success in social media advertising in their franchise development efforts is the fact that they are going about it wrong.
Some of the most common pitfalls of a franchise sales lead gen campaign on social is the lack of a clear call to action. So often ad campaigns are designed to simply redirect clicks (candidates) to a franchising website where you hope and pray they take the initiative to make a phone call, fill out an application, download an e-book, etc.
These campaigns should be optimized to capture contact info easily and seamlessly. People flip through social media news feeds at light speed and tend to abandon processes that are time consuming, especially on mobile platforms. Short forms that capture basic contact info before redirecting to a website is the most effective way to generate more leads and better fill your pipeline. Keep it simple and keep it moving!
Another problem is that many companies lump their entire social media effort solely into Facebook and neglect some of the other great social platforms including Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook’s Audience Network (a vast affiliate network composed of thousands of popular websites and mobile apps).
Depending on the demographic make-up of your target audience it is important to consider which social platforms besides Facebook should be included in your campaigns. If you are searching for well connected C-Level executives what better platform than LinkedIn to find very specific job titles and people who are into networking. Also, through the Facebook Audience Network you can get your message in front of candidates on websites and mobile apps where they spend much of their time such as news, travel, sports, health sites and more.
Social media is also in constant flux and must be monitored and modified at all times. So often franchise development departments will build a social ad campaign then set it and forget it. That philosophy can cost a company a lot of money. In short time campaigns will stop generating results but continue draining your budget.
The technology and tools that impact the entire process from ad design to audience filters to drip automation are constantly changing. For instance, if you are not incorporating video or cinema-graphics into your campaigns you are falling behind. Social media advertising presents an enormous opportunity for franchise growth but requires an enormous effort.
The companies that can figure out how to harness the power of social media advertising to capture more quality franchise leads will greatly accelerate their growth in 2018. The companies that can do that while simultaneously telling the story of their business opportunity with engaging and relevant content on these platforms will be industry leaders.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cody Crail is Director of Strategic Development at CSquared Social, the marketing company located in Carlsbad, CA that focuses entirely on social media advertising. We have developed comprehensive social lead generation services for franchise sales and currently work with over 80 franchise brands, established and emerging, helping them find their ideal candidates and improve conversion. www.csquaredsocial.com
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