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At spring cleaning time, try these tactics to spruce up social campaigns


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Mark Siebert

When legendary ad man Keith Reinhard launched “You deserve a break today” for McDonald’s in 1970, he couldn’t have anticipated its impact. The jingle drove millions of Americans to the doors of the burger giant, with catchy lines and a lively dance number.

Nearly 50 years later, franchisors can still learn a thing or two from the jingle’s famous tagline, “grab a bucket and mop, scrub the bottom and top,” especially as it relates to social media advertising optimization.

For franchisors that are recruiting using social media advertising, ensuring that these ads are reaching the right audience and garnering an appropriate return on investment should be a top priority. But, like other aspects of franchise marketing, these strategies require some occasional sprucing up.

A clean sweep

Facebook ad campaign optimization, for example, begins well before the first ad even enters the creative stages. The savvy franchisor will start by understanding where they want to drive clicks—whether to the franchise recruiting website (also known as a website traffic campaign) or to a Facebook page designed to capture franchise leads.

Website traffic campaigns do an exceptional job of providing your prospect with a wealth of information. And, because of the ability to track where these leads click on various pages, they provide significant insight into the behaviors of the people who are engaging with your brand.  But for some prospects, anything that would drive them away from Facebook may be a turn-off, causing you to lose leads.   

A Facebook lead generation campaign, on the other hand, can be designed to present the end user with a cohesive feel by auto-populating your fields with contact information while still keeping them on the social site. This type of campaign is perfect for building the top of the sales funnel fast and features a significantly lower cost per lead. But because it can be easier for the prospect, your incremental leads may not bring incremental sales.  Generally, what we have found is that as investment levels increase, the value of incremental leads decreases.  

In either case, it is important to think “top of the funnel” when using social media to generate franchise leads.  By offering potential social media leads something valuable for free—an educational video, an ebook, a white paper, etc.—you will increase your odds of conversion regardless of the campaign you choose. You can then use lead nurturing tactics to guide the lead through the rest of the funnel.

Like virtually all marketing, the best way to discover what works is through a process of testing, measurement and constant refinement. And when it comes to social media, the measurement is much easier and more immediate.

On most social media, A/B testing (also called split testing), is a method by which marketers can examine which combinations of ad headlines, body copy, images, call-to-actions, and value propositions work best for a target audience. When initially creating any ad, it’s always a challenge to predict which components of each campaign—whether it be design, headline, or content—will resonate most with the target audience. This is where split testing for franchise marketing shines, enabling marketers to run multiple tests across ad designs and target audiences to uncover the most effective campaign.

In running a split test, franchise marketers need to take caution to avoid making too many tweaks at once. Doing so will only muddy the waters and make accurate assessments of results impossible.  

Instead, when setting up a Facebook ad split test, the most critical decision is what to test and in what way. Start with very specific, limited variations of an ad or a headline, determine what works best, and then eliminate the losers. But unless all ad variations had poor results, be sure to keep the winner as constant against which you will measure future split tests. Then, like cleaning the house, start all over when the kids get home.

Shining the silver

One of the great advantages of social media advertising is that you get to select, with a fairly good degree of accuracy, just who will be served your ad. Selecting an effective set of interests by which to initially target social ads can be done by analyzing direct competitors, top publications and social media discussions within a specific industry. When it comes to Facebook, for example, a powerful way to target those potential franchise leads is through a robust tool called Custom Audiences.

Facebook’s Custom Audiences has recently replaced the more standard demographic options previously offered, making highly-targeted social advertising possible. But unlike Google’s Pay-Per-Click advertising, the concern is not what the audience is looking for at the moment, but instead who they are.

Identifying targets in Custom Audiences can be achieved in a number of ways.  Standard campaigns enable marketers to upload contact information (list of emails, phone numbers, Facebook IDs, etc.) to match with a Facebook identity.  Once that first audience is created, the targeting really begins as marketers can experiment with “look-alike audiences”—targeting up to 200,000 people that are similar to your existing contacts. 

Franchisors need to exercise caution when adding these or any demographic filters. While a filter may provide you with a more highly qualified pool of candidates, it may also eliminate candidates that might otherwise have invested in your franchise. A net worth or an age qualifier, for example, may eliminate those millennials who might otherwise have access to capital from friends or family.   

Facebook and other social media, done right, can be very powerful lead generation tools for some franchise concepts. And while social media advertising is certainly not a fit for all franchisors, for some, it can provide highly targeted franchise leads that can be optimized through strategic testing and a little elbow grease.

Mark Siebert is CEO of franchise consulting firm iFranchise Group. Reach him at 708.957.2300 or info@ifranchisegroup.com.

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