So you took the plunge and opened your own business through a franchise. That’s a smart way to go these days with so many businesses failing, considering that the franchise model usually has a pretty good foundation behind it. Some franchises will even offer advertising support to help you get going. They don’t, however, usually take care of the most important aspect of getting your name out and bringing in customers: your social media presence.

Social media and blogs drive far more traffic than print or traditional media advertising today, so it’s vital that you make a solid effort to use these platforms to your advantage, and do it well. In order to do this effectively as a business you need good social media management software with plenty of features. What kind of features are important in your franchise business, you ask? There are 6 that you definitely need to make sure that you have.

Autoresponder
Running a business requires lots of time, and you don’t have the budget in a franchise to hire a dedicated social media director, so you need your social media dashboard to be able to automatically respond to inquiries and mentions. If you wait until you have the time to sit down and respond to every little thing, your potential customers will have moved on to more responsive pastures.

Wide range of platforms
Facebook pages are great. So is Twitter. If this is all you are getting though, then you are missing out on a huge chunk of the social space out there. Blogs, Foursquare, email, sms, friendfeed, the list goes on and on. A good piece of brand monitoring software will cover all of your bases, not just two or three.

Tracking and Analyzing
You’ve got to know what the data means, not just how many people visited your page last month. The tracking part is important, but it should track things like click-throughs, not just eyeballs. If it’s not helping the bottom line, it’s not doing you any good.

Location Based services
 If you are a brick and mortar franchise, location based services are a must. Allowing people to check in with Foursquare and being able to track that traffic is a huge plus when you have a physical location that people can visit.

Tracking specific content
Which of your tweets, posts, and blogs are making an impact? After all, you don’t want to keep sending out things that aren’t being received well. Make sure that your software can track individual posts so you know what to repeat and build on, and what to leave alone. 

Sentiment
You want to know what people think, not just that they are visiting your site or talking about you.  Sentiment analysis software will tell if your mentions are positive or negative and lets you know what to respond to and what to leave alone.

Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya is a social media enthusiast, strategist and writer. He lives in London, England and is particularly interested in the proliferation of social media around the world.

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