Social media allows franchises to reach a large audience quickly and affordably. That said, just as swiftly and inexpensively, it permits those, either innocently or intentionally, to attack your company. Mismanagement or a complete lack of supervision of a social media policy invites this consequence.
Social media threats can be internal – your employees, franchisees, ex-employees – or external – competitors, clients or the general public. This free and instant communication not only allows people to quickly find one another to discuss the company, products or policies, it allows the general public to witness and participate in these discussions. While these comments can be positive, it also gives those that are disgruntled a sounding board where momentum can be gathered. To avoid this, franchisors must be aware of online postings regarding the company and brand and act quickly to neutralize concerns.
If a social media policy is in existence, internal threats should be swiftly, expeditiously and easily resolved. However, negative postings by those not associated with your franchise may prove more difficult. Immediately, the franchisor must have someone contact the poster in an attempt to resolve the concerns raised by the negative publication. Swift customer service, consistency and attention to online feedback regarding the company will diffuse the negative publicity. Remember, social media isn’t just about posting a message. Franchisors need to make sure that others are not undermining the brand and corporate culture and protect the image of the company that has been developed.