The Wall Street Journal reported recently on recent franchiser social media efforts and various initiatives to ensure message consistency with their franchisees. You can click here to see what they have to say. We’ll be tackling the same issue with our social media automation programs at the International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention in February 2012. However, this issue doesn’t just concern franchises; the need to applies to brands in all distributed marketing environments.
Defining Social Media Automation
The idea behind social media automation is to simplify the process for local marketers to promote brands and encourage conversations. Automation tactics can be done in different ways, such as creating a catalog of corporate approved messages for use on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn, or utilizing feeds that can be added to local business’ social accounts.
As the article highlights, maintaining social media brand consistent messaging requires a comprehensive policy and compliance monitoring. Franchises have an advantage in this situation because they have some control over their local marketers, franchisees, whereas brands that use independent distributed marketers for their products and services don’t. But the benefits social media automation brings make it worthwhile for both channels to implement.
The Argument for Social Media Automation
Social media automation aids corporate marketers in two key ways. The process aggregates social media behavior from local marketers and provides channel wide insight, while at the same time minimizing the risk of negative impact. Countless corporate marketing headaches have been caused from dealing with the consequences of inconsistent, confusing, or worse, contradictory marketing messages. These are caused by many reasons, including:
Conversation Challenges– Some businesses are still struggling to find out what to say and how to say it, and the differences between social media channels. Social media automation helps start and guide productive brand conversations.
Role confusion– Local marketers, and their employees, may not distinguish between personal and professional social media behavior. While the scene is a bit more relaxed than formal business communication, you don’t want them to cross the line with your brand.
Maintaining social polish- I can’t count how many various misspellings of SproutLoud I’ve seen - Sproutland, Spoutloud, etc. Enthusiastically embracing the message but mangling the distribution can also ding your social brand.
The bottom line is that social media automation is a valuable, and inexpensive, way for brands to increase their presence and influence through local marketers. Automating the process ensures the messages brands want to promote are the ones being distributed, corporate social media policies are followed, and limits brands’ exposure to the negative consequences from noncompliance.
About the Author
Gary Ritkes oversees all Business Development and Marketing at SproutLoud. He has been a pioneer in the emerging vertical of Distributed Marketing Technology and is an industry leader and innovator with 20+ years experience in graphic communications and marketing strategy. Gary has been involved with SproutLoud since the inception of the company. Prior to joining SproutLoud, Gary was VP of Marketing for Rex Three, Inc., SproutLoud’s first and largest vendor among its network of providers. He has served many Fortune 1000 clients and worldwide advertising agencies in providing marketing technology direction and optimization. He was an original founder of U.S. based Earth Color Group and a co-founder of Advanced Digital Services (ADS) which was sold in 1996 to publicly traded Katz Digital Technologies. He is a current board member of the local Advertising Federation chapter and has served as a member for other national industry associations including the DMA, AGA, and the CMO council.More Content by Gary Ritkes