After more than a decade of working with some of the largest franchises in the United States, we hear one question time and time again from new franchisors: “Who should own franchise branded profiles online – franchisors or franchisees?” While there is no definitive answer, and it largely depends on how your franchise agreements are laid out, we usually recommend that franchisors maintain ownership or administrative roles on franchise-branded accounts. Continue reading to find out why.
2 Scenarios to Consider When Deciding Who Should Own Franchise Branded Accounts
At Front Porch Solutions, we almost always recommend that franchisors maintain ownership of franchise-branded online accounts, including social media accounts, Google My Business, and Yelp, if their franchise agreements allow for it. Consider these two scenarios that we see all too often with franchises that don’t take a strict stance on ownership of branded accounts.
Scenario 1: A Terminated Franchisee with a Facebook Administrator Role
Imagine a franchise is in default of his or her franchise agreement and is ultimately terminated. The franchisee is upset by the circumstances of their termination and takes to their franchise location’s Facebook Business page sharing profanity and defamatory comments. Because they are the administrator on their Facebook Business page, you cannot remove them from the page. In fact, they can remove your role from the page so that you can no longer delete or manage anything on the page. Your only hope is to contact the social media platform’s support team and report the business owner.
Scenario 2: A Closed Location That Maintains Facebook Admin Rights
Imagine that a franchisee closes his or her location and you part ways amicably; however, the franchisee is the primary owner of the Facebook page. You’re now forced to depend on the franchisee to mark the location as permanently closed or delete the page. If they don’t answer you or do it improperly, you could have a closed location marked as open indefinitely. While you can report the location to Facebook, it’s ultimately in the platform’s hands and Mark Zuckerberg’s timeline.
To make matters worse, let’s say a couple of years go by, and your franchise sales team resells that same territory again. The location that was previously in this territory is still marked as open, but you don’t have the permissions to add the new franchisee. Instead, you’re forced to start from scratch with a new Facebook page and potentially compete with the existing page.
Key Takeaways for Franchising Professionals
Ultimately, it is almost always in the brand’s best interest for the franchisor to maintain ownership of franchise branded profiles online. Franchisor ownership ensures brand standards are followed, and that open units are accurately reflected online.
All of this is not to say that franchisees should not access their location’s social media profiles. We highly recommend that franchisees remain managers on their business accounts in order to post localized content, respond to reviews, interact with users, and run advertisements if your brand’s social media policy allows for it. For this reason, your brand’s marketers must train franchise owners on best practices, digital marketing strategy, and brand voice to ensure consistent marketing at the local level.
To learn more about franchise marketing and effective ways to manage your franchise marketing strategy, contact Front Porch Solutions. We specialize in digital marketing for franchises and online businesses and have the knowledge to help you grow your franchise too. To determine whether your brand can maintain ownership of your franchise-branded accounts, consult with your legal team.