Let’s face it, the standard ways of online marketing (like a basic website) won’t cut it in today’s world alone. Sure, one of the benefits of being a franchisee is that you can capitalize on the name recognition of your franchisor’s brand, but there’s more you can do to show that your business isn’t just one branch of a huge organization: you should create your own unique presence. That said, for a franchise owner, you have to get a little more creative to ensure your innovative ideas align with the overarching guidelines set by your franchisor.

Here’s how you can establish a strong online brand (without violating your franchise agreement):

Claim Local Business Listings

A simple way to help customers learn about your franchise online is to set up local business profiles on major directories like Google My Business. To make your listings stand out, check out our guide on what to do after you’ve claimed your listing. It doesn’t take much to create an effective profile—one of the best things you can do is to keep it updated so that customers know when and where to visit your franchise.

Encourage Reviews

Best Franchise Opportunities Encourage Reviews
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Reviews are great for business because they’re a cost-free way of spreading awareness of your brand. After you’ve set up a profile on sites like Yelp, you can ask your audience to submit some feedback. We all like receiving glowing reviews—who doesn’t enjoy praise now and then?—but don’t ignore the negative ones. After all, they may have useful information about ways you can improve your franchise. A customer who wants you to stay open later likes your business, just not your hours.

Hire Guest Bloggers

Readers appreciate insider knowledge, and even though you’ve got a smart team, there are still a few things you don’t know. A guest blogger with special expertise can help strengthen your blog by writing posts on a subject you’re less versed in. Your readers will enjoy a fresh voice, and you’ll gain a new audience when your guest blogger shares their article with their followers. Plus, it’s a time-saving way for you to have new online content (no need to brainstorm ideas, and then write and edit the actual post). Multiple wins all around!

If you don’t have access to the company blog, you can instead post quotes or images from local fans on your Facebook page. That way, you get your audience involved and compelled to share your online content.

Stir Up Interest on Social Media

Franchise Opportunities Social Media
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There’s a lot to love about using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. For one, you can directly engage your audience in conversation. Not only do you get to learn more about what they like and want from your business, your customers get to learn more about you, which keeps your franchise top of mind. If you’re especially active on social media, Connectivity’s Social Media Monitoring tool can help you track comments about your franchise. So, join the fun and share, retweet, or regram (with permission) people’s posts. If you want your content to shine, browse our tips for writing better social media posts.

Host an Online Scavenger Hunt

Readers love to be included in round-up lists. So how can you use this to your favor? Let’s say you have a clothing store. On Fridays, you could share your top 10 favorite weekly photos that followers have taken wearing your apparel. You can give the number one photo getting a free accessory or 10% discount for their next purchase.

Franchise Opportunities Twitter Scavenger Hunt
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They’re not just for kids. In fact, a Twitter scavenger hunt can be a fun and memorable way for you to engage with your followers, find new ones, and strengthen your online presence. A simple and flexible approach will help your scavenger hunt stay true to your brand (check to make sure it doesn’t violate franchise rules, either). Plus, you can entice more people into joining the game by offering lots of small rewards, like gift bags and gift cards.

Building your online presence doesn’t have to be a painful process. By trying a variety of creative online marketing tactics, you can create a personable franchise brand that will grow your audience, and you’ll enjoy doing it too.

Top image credit: mihalec/Shutterstock

Alex is Connectivity’s Director of Marketing and Client Services.