My Journey So Far With Social Media

As someone who prides himself as a change agent, I have to confess to struggling a little with some aspects of social media. I say this because it is clearly one of the biggest changes to shape our society in recent times.

Don’t take this to mean I’m negative about social media, I’m not. I am probably more a little skeptical at some of the ways I've seen it used. So treat this tip as a reflection on my evolving journey, not as a position, and certainly not as an attempt at expert commentary.

Let’s start with the positives, and for me there have been many. For instance I enjoy engaging in the conversations on some of the franchising forums I’m a member of. In one case I posed a question on a Franchise Executive’s forum around how franchisors were demonstrating they genuinely cared about the success of their franchisees. It stimulated an avalanche of constructive and inspiring responses from all over the world.

Another positive experience was the online Field Manager Forum our team launched prior to last year’s Field Manager Summit. This facilitated some excellent ideas and interaction between participants in the lead up to the event. (By the way we are doing this from our Facebook page this year). I’ve also been encouraged by the hundreds of franchising contacts around the globe who have sought to connect with me on LinkedIn.  If you haven’t joined LinkedIn, I’d recommend you get started as it is a simple and useful entry point into the world of social media.

A few reservations

Now a few cautionary comments. Firstly be careful when selecting a social media consultant. Just like in the gold rushes, where the people who made the real money were the sellers of shovels and other utilities, there are a growing number of social media consultants keen to sell us their templated strategies to success. While good advisers are always useful, check references and be clear on what exactly they will deliver. Warning signs would be the overuse of jargon which confuses rather than enlightens, pressure sales tactics that leave you feeling anxious about missing out on the “boom”, and promises on how their strategy will immediately drive your sales. My understanding of using social media for business development is that it is a slow burn, not a bonfire.

Also be careful how you and your team spend time on social media. My inbox is constantly filling with notices from online groups, blogs and newsletters. Although I mainly just scan these for relevance, a few will draw me to discussion threads that I play around on until my PA sneaks up behind me and asks how I am going with my to-do list! (To be fair, this probably is more about my lack of self discipline, however, if you like to explore it can chew up a lot of time.)

Next there is the distraction factor. My younger team members tell me I need to get over this, but I find something rude about sitting with someone who is responding to messages from someone else, especially when they seem to be enjoying this more than your company. In a similar vein, many franchisees have shared their frustrations with me about their staff texting or updating their Facebook page when they should be attending to customers. (We”ll be tackling this and other hot topics at the Field Manager Summit).

I also find the use of smart devices in meetings disconcerting as it suggests a lack of attention to the conversation in the room. Incidentally, if you take notes on a smart device and are in a meeting with someone who doesn’t share your familiarity with these technologies, it is probably not a bad idea to let them know what you are doing otherwise they may assume you are texting or emailing rather than listening to them.

An invitation for you

The team at the Franchise Relationships Institute are keen to enhance the creative use of social media in franchising and to this end we have organised some excellent speakers and sessions at the Field Manager Summit. We’d also love to have you visit our Facebook page where you can get updated on some of the cool things we are up to and download a free e-booklet on avoiding the 33 most common mistakes when organising a conference. While you are there, if you’d like to contribute a thought on your own social media journey, or criticise anything I said in this tip as me just being a fuddy duddy, we’d love to hear from you!

Until next time

Greg Nathan

Copyright © 2018 Franchise Relationships Pty Ltd • Contact Us Company Privacy Statement