The Case for Local Channel Marketing and Social Media

February 20, 2013 Jared Shusterman

“Social media is not applicable to us franchises.”

This was the opinion shared by a few franchise owners this week in a discussion surrounding Social Media and its ROI. Like many small business owners, franchises and local reps in distributed marketing networks are overwhelmed by the pace at which technology is changing. And with significant resource constraints compared to the Fortune 500 first-movers, most just don’t have the time to spend to dedicate to this medium to see returns.

That doesn’t mean social media, or its importance to marketers and brands, is going away. “Over the next five years, most industries will get rethought around social and people,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at last year’s Web 2.0 Summit. The Zuck is right - social media will change the way we as consumers interact with brands. By last count, there were over 750, 300 and 100 million active users on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, respectively. This doesn’t include the other up-and-coming social media sites both domestically in the United States and abroad. On Facebook alone, users are spending over 22 billion minutes a day. Numbers like these are hard to ignore.

A few months ago, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spoke about this at the Dreamforce conference. He emphasized the need for companies to get on board - or risk being overthrown similar to the recent uprisings in the Middle East. “We saw an Arab Spring. We’re going to see a Corporate Spring,” he said, likening a new movement to the social media-influenced revolutions in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. CEOs need to transform themselves as leaders. You should be in touch with your customers.

That’s my point. Things are changing. Are you reflecting change? Can you still operate like a dictator? I don’t think command and control is going to work in the future.” You can see the video here. According to a 2010 Forrester survey, close to 75% of CMOs consider social media a first priority.

Without a doubt, decision makers understand the importance of social media and why they must get involved. But aside from the employee and customer ecosystem Marc talks about in the video, a key part of the equation is supporting the local marketing ecosystem – the local reps, agents, franchises, etc. – that represent a brand’s products and services locally. These local marketers are in desperate need of help and resources – and without it – a huge decentralized marketing opportunity (and problem) across the social sphere is being overlooked. We’ll talk about 2012 social media trends in the next post, and why the effort to support distributed marketers is perhaps the most important oncoming movement for brands involved in social media.

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About the Author

Jared Shusterman

Jared is the Chief Executive Officer of SproutLoud. Since 2006, he has been primarily responsible for strategic direction of the Company, as well as the oversight of SproutLoud's Partner ecosystem. Prior to SproutLoud, Jared worked in Thomas Weisel Partner’s internet and online advertising investment banking practice in San Francisco. He served as the lead analyst on a number of Corporate Finance and M&A deals including Newscorps’ buyout of Intermix Media (Myspace.com). Jared graduated with a B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Jared has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a member of the Young President's Organization (YPO). Jared has been honored as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs by South Florida Business Journal and a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine. Jared lives in South Florida with his wife and two sons.

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