5 Reasons Franchise Social Media Strategy Needs To Be Local

Distributed marketing in a franchise system can benefit from a localized social media strategy. Here are 4 reasons a franchise should leverage a local versus a corporate strategy when approaching social media.Creating connectivity between franchise, franchisee and customers through social media creates powerful brand opportunities.

You can download the Local Social Media For Franchising e-book mentioned in the slideshow here.

10 Tips To Maximize Reach Of Your Facebook Contest

This is a Guest post to the Four51 blog.

A simple Facebook contest can increase your fan base very rapidly and jump start your social media presence with minimal effort. This is a great way to get people to see your content constantly; they may not always be on your website or thinking about your brand, but when you post content to Facebook it will likely pop up in their News Feed.

There are several types of contests that you can run but one of the simplest contests is a “Like to Win” contest where the user has to like your page prior to entering, which is often referred to as a fan gate. This ensures that you are building your social presence with the contest. Yes, some users may unlike you after the contest period, but that’s okay.

There are several ways to go about contesting on Facebook, but here are ten tips to get the most out of running a contest:

1.) Be creative. Make the contest fun!

I recently ran a contest for the Minneapolis jewelry store that I work for and we bought a very rare pink diamond ring so we asked people to name it, the best name won a $500 gift certificate. There are so many types of contests you could run: photo competitions, sweepstakes, blog contests, and the list goes on. Have fun with it and your customers will have fun too.

2.) Give them something cool!

While setting up a contest you want to find a prize that is enticing, something that is going to make people sign up. It doesn’t have to be huge but the prize should be aligned with your company and desired by your client base.

3.) Let them know why they should like you on Facebook.

Don’t try and deceive them and pull the wool over their eyes—let them know that by entering in this contest that they must like your Facebook page. Tell them why it’s of benefit to them—do you post great tips, funny content, coupons, etc.? This will decrease the likelihood that they’ll unlike your page after the contest is over. In our latest contest I saw less than a 4% unlike rate.

4.) Promote the contest on your other social media platforms.

Not only do you want to have consistent branding with your marketing, this is a great way to ensure that your contest is known about. Tweet about it, post it to your G+ page and you can even pin it on your Pinterest boards, you never know how viral it could go.

5.) Use a photo and pin it to the top of your Facebook page.

With the visual age we’re in, we know that photos have increased engagement levels on social media sites, so use a photo to capture your audience’s attention. By pinning the photo to the top it makes it so that the post doesn’t creep down your Facebook timeline and that it is always at the top. Pins last seven days, so be sure to pin new content at least once a week.

6.) Cross promote on other company’s Facebook pages and websites.

Use connections that you’ve made to promote your contest through other companies. Not only will you reach more people, these are people you may not have reached otherwise. Be sure to return the favor when an opportunity presents itself.

7.) Use e-mail marketing to reach your current clients.

Yes, I said e-marketing and many marketers will disagree with me but e-mail isn’t dead yet. It is a great tool to reach your client base for a small fee, often producing a ROI higher than other marketing you’re doing.










8.) Make your contest visible on your Facebook page.

Make sure that your contest is easy to find on your fan page, you don’t want to drive people to Facebook and then have them dig for it. They’re not going to stay around long if it’s not obvious where it is.

9.) Don’t run your contest forever.

Keep the contest term short so that you keep your fans engaged. I’d say run it for 4-6 weeks and then announce a winner and prepare for your next contest.

10.) Stay involved! Stay interesting!

The worst thing you could do is run a contest, increase your fan count and then stop posting on Facebook. You want to have a solid social media strategy in place so that your fans are constantly interacting with your brand.

— This is a guest post contributed to the Four51 blog.

Jayme Pretzloff is the Online Marketing Director for Wixon Jewelers, the leading retailer of men’s watches in Minnesota. He is in charge of all digital marketing initiatives including his passions: SEO and social media marketing.

Interested in contributing? Contact us with your idea.

Amp up your social media marketing by empowering your local channel

Connect the dots between enterprise marketing, planning, strategy and content with your local business’ reach, relationships and trust. Is your social media strategy local? It should be, this ebook explains why. Start empowering your local channel.

Local Social Media Strategy For The Enterprise

Enterprise social media planners in branch-based organizations can take advantage of significant multipliers by going local in a comprehensive social approach.  There are three key phases achieve results. This paper will lay out the steps, techniques and rewards of adopting a local social business initiative.

McKinsey reports that, social media is the “only form of marketing that can touch consumers at each and every stage, from when they’re pondering brands and products right through the period after a purchase, as their experience influences the brands they prefer and their potential advocacy influences others.”  McKinsey’s research also shows that a direct social media recommendation from a peer generates engagement rates some 30 times higher than traditional online advertising does.

Branch-based organizations are particularly well suited to capitalize on social media.  The question becomes, “how do we best implement social media?” If your organization has remote offices, dealers, franchise locations, or agents, you are considered a branch-based organization for the purpose of this paper.  We will refer to the branches as “local merchants.”  Branch-based organizations have decided to invest in local markets by placing people, products, inventory, services, and the brand closer to prospects and customers. Historically, local merchants have used word of mouth, advertising and PR to promote their businesses.  They were slow to embrace social media and did not know where or how to get started.  Many enterprises, eager to leverage the new social media capabilities, set up fan pages and begin to tally up “likes,” “check-ins” and “followers.”  Yet, the value of a corporate fan was extremely low.  Something was missing.

To answer this question, research firm Mainstay Salire recently conducted a study employing web crawlers and analytics to track and compare social media activities of corporate fans vs. local fans.  The study uncovered two interesting findings.  First, local fans had five times more reach than corporate fans.  Additionally, local fans were eight times more likely to engage with social media than corporate fans.  Combining the depth and breadth at the local level led them to conclude that a local fan was worth 40 times more than a corporate fan in value to the enterprise.







Planning A Localized Social Media Strategy

What can you expect in rolling out a localized social media strategy? Check out this free E-book on How To Roll Out a Localized Social Media Strategy and explore the phases in local/social media marketing.

Social Media IS Word-of-Mouth…right?

Let me give you four numbers from an Small to Mid Sized Business (SMB) survey I read recently:

  1. 35% of SMBs plan to invest in Marketing in 2012 (the top area for investment).
  2. 25% of SMBs believe Word of Mouth will be their primary source of getting customers.  (Tied with Repeat Business) (Social Media was 5th, just ahead of Other).
  3. 40% of SMBs don’t plan to use social media tools next year.
  4. 37% of SMBs won’t use Social Media BECAUSE their business relies on word-of-mouth as a referral source.
Huh???  I’m confused.  Or at the very least I think some SMBs are confused.  No matter how I do the math or cross-multiply and divide I come to the conclusion that:  Some percentage of SMBs who will be doing marketing as a top priority and believe Word-of-Mouth will bring them customers, won’t be using Social Media Tools BECAUSE their business relies on said Word-of-Mouth.  Huh?
Social Media is Word of Mouth
Let me give you an “original” thought – not from a survey:
In 2012, a huge part of Marketing is Social Media.
Now a second, more important “original” thought:
Social Media is so word-of-mouth, the phrase should be changed to word-of-mobile or word-of-digital-device.
Whether you are an SMB and you believe and will spend in Marketing or you’re an SMB who doesn’t want to spend money on “Capital M Evil arketing”, but believes that Word-of-Mouth will make it rain – you should be doing something with Social Media.  You shold be doing this because:
  1. In 2012, a huge part of Marketing is Social Media.
  2. In 2012, Social Media IS word-of-mouth.
And, this just in…
    3.  This trend will continue in 2013.  And 2014.  And 2015.


In the early 1900′s Mark Twain popularized the phrase “There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”  Over time this phrase has endured and spread throughout our society.  I would venture to say it spread a little bit through independent reading of Twain’s works and a lot through “word-of-mouth”.  The point of the phrase is that numbers can tell a lot of different stories depending on how they are read and who they are read by.  Maybe I read these numbers wrong and maybe these all make sense to you…I’d love to hear your interpretation.  Check out the full survey here and send me you thoughts via social media on Twitter to @BS_is_me (that’s no lie).

We understand the challenges of SMBs – we are one and we work with hundreds of them on a daily basis.  We strive to design solutions that provide value without onerous effort or time constraints.


Four Tips and Four Tools For Planning Your Social Media Calendar, Part 1

Originally written as a Four51 guest blog at Business2Community.

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” – Lao-Tzu

It’s amazing the mileage some of those old quotes get, but when it comes to social media marketing, heck marketing in general, Lao offers a good reminder for practitioners from beginner to expert.

As marketers and business owners it’s often easy to get lost in marketing planning and realize that we actually didn’t do any . . . well . . . doing. Arguably one of the biggest hurdles for businesses embarking in social media marketing is committing it to a schedule. I hit on this sentiment in an earlier post addressing the importance of social media planning.

Honestly, I’m not sure why the concept of a calendar is so hard to grasp when it comes to planning promotions through social media. We live and die by our Google/Outlook/iCal etcetera calendars every day. Execute the same logic when it comes to planning social media marketing as well.

I offer you a two part series to help ease the fear. In Part one I offer tips for getting you started and in part two, I’ll make some recommendations on tools that help you commit to and execute a schedule. By the end of it, hopefully the fear of social media calendaring has disappeared.

The Tips

1. Start with short bursts of time, i.e. a 30 day plan.  

Starting with a short period of time plays two roles. Firstly, 30 days seems far more manageable to plan for then an entire quarter for someone just getting started, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Secondly, it reinforces a good habit for all marketers, to evaluate impact and make adjustments at the end of a time period and plan accordingly for the next period of time.

Early on in my career, I broke everything down into 30-day chunks. For my mind, a colorfully A.D.D. one, breaking plans into pieces allowed me to focus on what was immediately before me while also reinforcing good habits of planning, executing and evaluating. Fast forward 11 years and I’m still using that tactic to get social media programs off the ground for organizations I work for.

2. Have some flexibility

The very nature of social media is to ebb and flow in real-time. Yes, planning is good. But being so locked into the plan that you miss local topics and interests that are trending and provide an opportunity for you and your business to join a conversation is not. Consider social media a tool in a marketing arsenal for something I like to call “Opportunity Marketing.

3. Think in themes

It’s amazing how themes can unlock mountains of ideas and content. This can be as simple as coming up with ways to engage an audience through questions and dialogue on a timely topic like say, March Madness. Themes also are a great way to group promotions and commerce as well. The commerce and promotions element also happens to be a great way to prove out the ROI of Social Media.

4. Commit the plan to paper, an app, something!  

Perhaps the most important element of utilizing a social media calendar is taking that plan from your mind, and etching in the proverbial granite. It doesn’t have to be much, it can be a calendar on the wall, your Google calendar or one of a multitude of apps and tools that help with planning various aspects of your social media program. Those tools of the trade will be the focus of The Social Media Calendar Part 2.

How about you? Any tips to share to help those just getting started with a calendar approach to social media marketing?

In my next post I’ll dive into some resources available to help you get a social media calendar off the ground.

Facebook Page Marketing: Three Tips To ‘Spring’ Forward Your Page Promotions Today!

Spring is here!!  And you know what that means . . .Spring Cleaning! No one really likes doing it, but its one of those things that need to happen.

But hey,  you always feel better once it is over anyway.

So you’ve probably already tackled your house . . . now what about your business?  I say we use this motivation to finally spring ahead with Facebook Page promotions.  Continue reading

All I Really Need To Know About Social Media Marketing I Learned In High School Physics

Originally published as Four51 contributing content to Business2Community.

Back in the 1980s, Roger Fulghum inked All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Do you remember reading it? It was very basic life principles put forth such as  “share everything, play fair and don’t hit people.” I came across it painted on a plaque in a store recently and it made me wonder what other lessons from my school days could be applied to my world today. High school physics, for whatever reason, came to mind.

For a right-brained individual, physics was not easy, but my teacher Mr. Miller had a way of aligning life lessons with the laws of the universe. Three lessons from his class come to mind as a thoughtful reminder about how to good approach to social media marketing.

Chalkboard with Social media equationSocial Media Physics

Social Media Marketing, Lesson 1

This lesson is completely unrelated to the curriculum of Mr. Miller’s physics class, but a recurring theme in class discussions and serves as a great starting point for putting all three of these tips into practice. Mr. Miller would carry around in his pocket, a piece of scratch paper, always recycled. On it he would scribble his daily to-dos. Mr Miller felt it was imperative to teach  9th-graders the importance of organizing our day to day life. (I’ve kept a list ever since Mr. Miller, you’d be proud) My point here is this, no social media success will come without jotting down a plan to keep reminding you to act.

Plan your approach, put it down on a calendar and commit to doing it everyday you can.

If the idea of list keeping stresses you out, I’ll share Mr. Miller’s secret. The first item on his list everyday was: to make a list. That way everyday at least one thing was crossed of that list and he felt productive.

Give it a shot; let the list be your guide. Ashley Zeckman from Top Rank Marketing has a great post about effective social media planning.

Social Media Marketing, Lesson 2

There are very few laws I recall from my physics class, sorry Mr. Miller. However, when it came to Newton, his laws of motion are on ready recall for me. Newton’s first law, perhaps the most recognizable states that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. The same holds true for social media marketing.

You have to get it in motion.

Get it going and keep it regular. Once you do, it’ll be hard to stop your exponential growth and returns. So make your list, and start executing the list. Tina Cook is a champion of this law in her post on social media marketing consistency.

Social Media Marketing, Lesson 3

Newton’s second law of motion is a bit less recognizable but perhaps the biggest take away from this little exercise. It states that the acceleration of a body is in tandem with the amount of net force. Ultimately, this little lesson works great in all avenues of life stating simply: you get out what you put in.

The more  force, or effort you put into social media marketing, the more return you’ll see.

In a nutshell, here’s what I learned about social media marketing (and really any marketing effort) from my high school physics class.

  • Make a plan. Build your list and remind yourself of your necessary actions.
  • Get going. Just start doing it. The more you do it, the harder it is to stop it.
  • Do more. As your “body” gets in motion, keep adding “force” for increasing returns.

Thanks Newton and Thanks Mr. Miller, I was paying attention.

How about you?

Any lessons you can tie from your school days to executing good online marketing tactics today?

Growing software firm Four51 helps clients go paperless via The Line Magazine

Originally published The Line Media

In the dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451,” Ray Bradbury describes a world where firefighters start blazes instead of ending them, burning books and libraries because reading is outlawed. Continue reading