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Whether it’s staying connected with old colleagues, utilizing professional development resources, or even job searching, there’s no doubt in the power of the world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn. For franchise marketers, however, LinkedIn is perhaps a yet-to-be fully tapped resource for franchise lead generation. By recent count, it’s home to nearly 470 million profiles just begging to be explored.
Bring them to you
Of course, not all profiles are created equal, and the pool of potential franchise candidates is far fewer than existing profiles. So, narrowing that pool to those actively searching for a franchise opportunity should be your first step.
Often, the best place to start understanding how to reach a target audience with your marketing message is through competitive analysis, regardless of the platform. LinkedIn is no exception, as it gives franchisors a vast cache of resources from which to pull from industry rivals. By identifying the ways in which competitors are positioning themselves in the market, franchisors can begin to optimize their personal and business profiles to help potential franchisees find them.
Think of LinkedIn as an extension of your SEO program, brainstorming and crawling competitive profiles to identify keywords and implementing them throughout your profiles. Particular profile components take precedent, as the headline and summary provide the most prominent branding message on a profile, and as such, have the greatest impact on increasing rankings among active searchers. The summary of the profile can then be utilized to tout the franchise opportunity through compelling franchise-related messaging and a sprinkling of relevant keywords. Sure, the summary section isn’t the highest-indexed section of the profile, but still heightens the profile’s potential discovery by opportunity searchers.
Put simply, optimizing your franchise profiles for maximum findability is about understanding how potential franchisees can find your page, then hitting them with a solid call to action once they arrive to maximize lead-generation capability.
Keeping them engaged
Lest we forget, LinkedIn was created as, and remains the premier engagement network for professionals. For franchisors, this means opportunities to join and interact within communities on LinkedIn that focus on your industry topics or interests. If you’re searching for an even more dynamic venue, it could be worth creating your own group and inviting potential leads to join.
Joining or forming communities can have a tremendous benefit for lead gen in a number of ways. First, by actively participating and listening in on conversations in these groups, franchisors gather an understanding of what potential franchisees may be discussing, are interested in, or seeking in their next business venture. All of this information can then be recycled back into the profile optimization process and future lead nurturing tactics.
Next, franchisors can then generate content that speaks to the needs and pain points of these communities. Often, group members have specific questions that beg for a detailed explanation, and perhaps require a more robust response than a comment on a post, message, etc. This is where your franchise marketing kicks in.
Use these opportunities to generate thoughtful content that speaks to specific questions and concerns, posting to the company page and within the group from your personal profile. Whether your content comes in an eBook or other form of informative material, you’re offering a more robust message than “franchise for sale,” in turn creating brand recognition and trust through keen insights and expertise. Not to mention, by gating the content, you’ve captured the information of a potential lead.
There’s no shortage of recognition for the likes of Facebook and other social channels when it comes the franchise lead generation. But, for a franchisor, LinkedIn may be the most under-utilized avenue for establishing business relationships with financial implications, like a franchise sales agreement.
Matthew Jonas is the president of TopFire Media, an award-winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Jonas established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry. As a digital marketing strategist with more than a decade of in-depth experience in SEO and PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Jonas has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.