Advisory Jul, 27 2012

Employ social networking with care

In the past few years social networking sites have emerged as a powerful medium for brand promotion. Business owners and franchisors are extensively using social networking sites. The social networking sites need to be used very carefully for positive re

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Employ social networking with care

With rising awareness and increasing popularity of social media sites, a large number of franchisors are using this technique for rapid success and fame. Creating a web portal for the brand is the new marketing tool for franchising and is proving to be highly beneficial for franchisors along with franchisees. Besides its many benefits, social networking can have negative impact too, if not used cautiously. The article herein would bring forth few common mistakes that entrepreneurs make while making their brand popular online via various web portals.

Need of social networking

It has been mentioned that online marketing can be very advantageous for any brand. Social networking websites can be a powerful tool for identifying and attracting new business partners, franchisees, new employees, or simply building the brand presence. Marketing a business through social sites makes the brand develop a human face to interact with public more informally. Moreover it gets easier for potential franchisees to identify the apt franchisor for them by fetching information through networking sites. Another big benefit is the youth becoming aware. As most of the youth is hooked on to these websites, it can serve as one of the most effective ways to get the right kind of employees as well as franchise partners for a business. In addition some websites have communities related to various business categories through which business owners can get in touch with many people from the same trade across the world. These websites are very easy to understand, and are most effective.

However, all these benefits can only be availed by using the networking sites in a proper manner.  It is mostly seen that many entrepreneurs make their brand profiles on social networking sites without understanding the proper usage. This can cause more harm, than good.

Errors made while using social web sites

Patience pays: The most significant mistake made by entrepreneurs is gauging their sales to reach 100 per cent after registering company on a social web site. It should be kept in mind that just by adding the social profile of your company; one cannot get hits or walk-in customers easily. The owner has to develop a strategy and work on it to avail full benefits of social networking. Owner of the business should discuss and research how his company can benefit from online marketing and develop his profile accordingly.

Not devoting time: Most of the entrepreneurs make their company profile but hardly show any interest to develop it regularly. A page of your brand on any website would just make people aware of it but would not draw footfall to the outlets. Few things have to be kept in mind to make positive changes in business via networking sites. These are:

  • Spend time regularly on your web page. Moreover assign a person specially to work on its content.
  • Make friends on network sites like Facebook, Orkut etc, and increase your followers and contacts on Linkedin, Twitter etc.
  • Upload pictures or videos of your outlet on the networking sites like YouTube so that clients can click and appreciate it.

It is seldom that any business owner puts in lot of efforts on developing his business profile. Usually the attempts are made half-heartedly and there is no strategy or routine followed.

Never be overt: Entrepreneurs make another fatal error by giving too much hype to their products or services. It should not be forgotten that social networking sites are socializing sites, not business portals. Often entrepreneurs after making a new connection on these sites bombard him/ her with commercial tweets, business posts etc. This would surely make the new connection eager to disconnect you. It is advisable to balance well. Inform about your products/services but do not put too much attention. Your links should make readers eager to visit your outlet.

Treating consumers as passive audience: The social networking sites are consumer oriented and have to be treated accordingly. An entrepreneur has to upload material, keeping in mind the preferences of his clients etc. Social media is about engagement and community building. Therefore the best strategy is to develop resources to engage consumers. Engage is not merely sending a polished message out to the masses, it is offering content or insight that they will be valued and responded to.

Regular connect and up gradation: One of the biggest mistakes companies make after setting up their network page is not using it. Initially the owner will upload and manage it but after some time, if it does not increase footfall many entrepreneurs stop using it.  However once the page is set up, it's important that you regularly update the page with all the relevant information for your fan base to see, like, and share. It is quite possible that consumers start getting attracted at later stages.

To conclude it can be said that social networking sites are a great platform to market any brand but it is imperative to use them effectively. Ineffective usage can prove a bane rather than a boon!

Related: IPO and M&A: Adding Value To Franchising

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