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Maintaining Brand Integrity Through Social Media

Managing franchisee online engagement

As a former PR exec, I understand better than most that brand is king and reputation management is critical to success.  The era of social media has made this even more important as one bad tweet can dilute a brand’s reputation in an instant as it spreads like wildfire.    Even though most people should realize that there is no such thing as a “private” text or Facebook posting, people continue to cause damage to their own career as well as that of a brand they represent by airing their views and sexual exploits on social media sites.   Some of the most recent examples come from the Kitchen Aid debacle, the Petraeus scandal  and Olympic athlete Paraskevi Papahristou’s racially charged tweets.

As a franchisor, it’s vital that training for franchisees include Social Media 101.  This leads to the question of how much freedom a franchise should be allowed in posting content on their microsite or page.  For many, the additional responsibility of keeping up with Pinterest, Twitter,
Linked-In and Facebook is something they’d prefer not to do, to say nothing of posting blogs.  This could be a full time job for someone and most franchises don’t have the manpower to devote to assigning someone the role of social media manager.   As a national family safety and wellness
expert known as The Safety Mom, and now as the CEO of PALS Built , the amount of time I personally devote to social media is tremendous.

The greatest cause of concern as a franchisor is insuring that a franchise’s personal views are not expressed on their company’s social media pages.  Political, religious and sexual posts have no place on a brand’s pages.  This should be obvious but people forget that their views, which they might believe are marked as private, can accidently reach millions.  Just as a franchise would not be allowed to alter the brand’s logo, the social media “voice” must be consistent and in line with the brand’s mission, vision and values. For anyone, especially someone posting on a company website, the test is simple – if what you are about to write is something you would never say in polite company, then keep your comments to yourself.

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