Understanding and using social media

One of the hot topics in franchising (and marketing, in general) is social media, aka Web 2.0. During the franchise convention in San Diego last month I co-hosted a round table discussion titled, “Using the Web in the Sales Process” and probably 90% of the discussion focused on corporate blogs, integrating video into your marketing and improving the company’s overall visibility online. And then on Tuesday night, I experienced first hand how this entire Web 2.0 thing really works.

Late Tuesday evening, around 10:00p, I received a call on my business line from a local area code (my phone was forwarded to my cell phone as I was out of the office for meetings). The person was not already in my address book so all I got on my caller ID was the phone number. To answer, or not to answer … that is the question.

I always answer my phone if I am available. The gentleman on the other end is interested in franchising, actually, interested in starting a franchise concept from ground zero. It’s a great idea, I think, and he has a lot of the work started. After a brief conversation my question was, “How did you find me?”

“Well,” he says. “First, searched the word “franchise,” found FranchiseWorks.com and I saw your profile on FranchiseWorks.com. Then I decided to search your name in Google (Jack Burris search on Google).” From there, I found your blog on StartupNation.com and also the website for Red Beard Marketing. Your phone number is on your website.”

Amazing. With just a few clicks, we were having a conversation.

Franchisors and franchisees alike are beginning to experiment with social media. Some companies (think Burger King’s ‘Subservient Chicken campaign’) have been taking advantage of Web 2.0 tactics for quite some time. Others are still trying to understand why having a company blog makes sense.

How are you using new web techniques for new business? Client retention? Gaining exposure?

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