10 Outstanding Instagram Marketing Tips for Franchises

March 3, 2022

When it comes to Instagram marketing for businesses, almost everyone unanimously believes it’s the way to go. However, as soon as franchise marketing enters the chat the conversation changes.

The primary reason for this is the fact that for marketing to be successful, it often needs to be hyper-localized. However, this increases the chance of straying away from the desired brand image the franchise wants to maintain at the global level.

Striking this balance between giving local franchise outlets the freedom to create localized content for their target audience without destroying brand image can be quite difficult however, armed with a solid Instagram marketing strategy you should be able to get things just right, meaning you’re set to completely crush it with your marketing game.

Let's dive right into it and look at 10 Instagram marketing tips that will make a huge difference to franchise Instagram marketing.

1. Make sure you have a business account

Instagram marketing tips screenshot on how to switch to business account

If you’re trying to come up with an Instagram strategy without using a business account you’re wasting your time. Sure, regular Instagram influencers have benefits that come with a personal account but when you switch to an Instagram business account it’s an instant game-changer and the benefits far outweigh those that come with using a personal account.

Not only do you have the ability to allow customers to contact you easier than before, but you also get access to Instagram analytics which helps you understand in great detail everything that’s happening behind the scenes of your Instagram reels or Instagram posts.

Instagram insights gained from analytics are invaluable. They give you the details you need to plan a successful campaign and help you understand your audience based on demographics, behavior, and patterns. Also, commenting on social media is a great way to spread brand awareness!

2. Know your local audiences

Screenshot from Starbuck's Instagram feed

Source: Starbucks’ Instagram

When it comes to franchises and marketing, there can often be a discrepancy between marketing to a global audience and the local audience. At a local level sales come from the community around the franchise so it makes sense that marketing should focus on these local Instagram users.

As a business on Instagram, you need to know the average age group of your local audience, the hours of the day they’re most active, look for trends and common areas of interest your audience might share. You need to really understand why Instagram users follow you and who is your exact target audience.

Once you have these details, it makes it easier to select and partner with local influencers that the community actually relates to. This can really make a huge difference to your marketing game.

3. Create visually attractive content

This goes without saying if you want the marketing at your local franchise to live up to the standard of your brand at the global level-the content you put out needs to be engaging and visually attractive.

There’s nothing worse than generic, dull content that blends in with all the noise. You need to stand out and to do this you have to ensure that the content you put out is exciting and visually attractive. You also need to ensure that your new content fits into the theme or template you have for your page. Having a well curated Instagram grid where your posts are organized and look in sync can be very visually appealing.

Instagram marketing needs to focus on this vertical in particular. With an Instagram feed, every single post is showcasing something interesting or attention-grabbing. This means you’re competing with not just your competition in the industry, but also with all other kinds of daily Instagram users for your customers' attention.

If your Instagram feed is dull and unengaging, it’s going to get drowned out in the sea of everything from Reels, posts, and user-generated content to Instagram stories.

4. Establish your franchise’s tone on Instagram

A crucial detail when it comes to your Instagram marketing is making sure your franchise has a consistent, appropriate tone across all social media accounts. This Instagram marketing tip helps maintain your brand's professional and consistent image.

This means that even if your marketing is hyper-localized to target specific communities and cultures it will still be in the same tone as the brand as a whole. Remember to keep the tone consistent and always in line with the bigger brand image.

You might need to do a quick check first to see if other franchise outlets have their own Instagram handles, what tone they use, and what rules, regulations, and guidelines your brand might have for its presence on popular social media platforms. Then decide if you want to be a serious, professional, and uptight or the relaxed, humorous account that posts memes.

5. Use localized hashtags and locations

Instagram Marketing tips screenshot of #newyorkcity

A great way to increase the odds of your post being discovered is to use hashtags. Hashtags increase your visibility on Instagram and in addition to this, several users follow hashtags, increasing the chance of someone discovering your account.

Using localized hashtags means that your account will gain visibility among local instagram followers from a region. This is exactly what you want if you’re hoping to convert these to sales. You can use about 7 to 10 hashtags per post as a best practice however Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags on each post however accounts that use ‘hashtag stuffing’ come off as very spammy and drive away customers.

You can also experiment with using a branded hashtag, trending hashtags, or any other relevant hashtags in your Instagram captions whenever you create content or share a post on Instagram.

You also want to make sure you’ve added your location to the post. This means your post will appear with others taken in the same location and can help bring visitors to your page and therefore your franchise outlet.

6. Go live at your outlets

Going live at your outlets is a great way to boost engagement, especially from sections of your followers that don’t normally interact much with the page. When given the choice between a live stream and a blog post, 80% of audiences prefer a live stream.

Going live on your Instagram stories should definitely be part of your marketing strategy. When followers see an Instagram live, it generates the feeling of something urgent and exciting happening that they don’t want to miss.

Unlike an Instagram post that will always appear on your news feed, or a story highlight which is always around, When you start a life on your Instagram account, your followers get a notification and they are suddenly aware that something interesting is happening.

Also going live at each of your outlets makes people aware of how each of them works and what they’re like. This could bring in a large number of people later. It also makes your outlets look happening and if you want you can even use the live Instagram story to host a Q&A, talk to the staff, let customers share positive experiences, and add a guest to collaborate with someone your audience would love to see.

7. Expand your audience with specified Instagram ads

A great way to expand your audience is by running ads. In fact, Instagram ads can make a huge difference to how quickly you grow your Instagram account. To successfully run an advertising campaign on Instagram, you need to make sure your Instagram ads are data-driven and backed by a solid strategy.

Make sure you target ads based on location, the countries, states, or cities you want to see results in. You should also be targeting ads at the demographic factors that matter most to your business such as age, gender, language, etc. Know what their behaviors are like. What other accounts do they follow and what interests them.

You can advertise in Instagram stories, in the feed with a sponsored post on Instagram, or even in the explore. What you choose depends on where you see the most results and what aligns with your Instagram marketing goals.

8. Use Instagram highlights for your outlets

Screenshot from Chick-fil-A’s Instagram feed

Source: Chick-fil-A’s Instagram

You can use Instagram highlights to showcase your outlets and make sure that any story relevant to each franchise outlet won’t disappear after 24 hours but rather, can be highlighted for anyone who visits your Instagram profile to see.

Not only do highlights preserve the best stories but they’re an additional embellishment to your Instagram bio and allow you to provide more information about each outlet to any visitor directly.

You can use actual pictures of the outlets as thumbnails over each highlight story on the Instagram app or you can even create animated cover pictures to use as thumbnails in order to preserve the aesthetic in case you already have a certain filter or style you use for every post on Instagram on your business account.

9. Track the performance of each location

There are two things you should absolutely be doing at all times. The first is leveraging tech to grow marketing by collecting data from your Instagram marketing, both from the analytics available to you from using a business account or by using software such as an engagement rate calculator to give you detailed insights. And second, use that data to track the performance of each outlet of your franchise.

When you have all the data it’s easier to see the bigger picture. Understand where you are performing better than expected and which outlets are underperforming. What changes do you need to make to your social media marketing in order to improve and hit your marketing goals at these locations? Let the data show you the way forward.

You can accordingly make tweaks to your franchise business profile or professional account. Experiment with Instagram shopping posts, different story highlights, your Instagram profile photo, user-generated content, and how often you post consistently on your business profile.

Apart from these largely visible tweaks, you also need to experiment with who you target with your Instagram marketing and advertisements. Experiment with other forms of Instagram marketing such as influencer marketing especially with local influencers around the franchise outlets you want to target.

10. Incorporate effective content governance across branches

Content governance is one of the most essential Instagram marketing tips when it comes to franchise marketing. Unlike with marketing for most businesses, with franchises, you need to ensure that any content being created for an outlet either by the marketing team or by an influencer through influencer marketing, is within the content guidelines, and is in accordance with the broader marketing goals.

Most Instagram marketing tips are not helpful if you don’t have crystal clear rules and guidelines for messaging and content distribution. This means consistency with branding across all platforms as well as tone, style of posting, and whether the franchise as a whole has a defining style to its online presence.

This could be humor, social activism, being responsive and interacting online as well as social allyship with certain demographics. It’s important to keep these in mind when you post consistently so as not to seem inconsistent with messaging or create contradictions in behavior online.

While this might not seem like something that’s applicable everywhere, if you’re in the fast food franchise business or trying to expand a restaurant franchise both regionally or into a new market, then not having consistent messaging and solid guidelines can cause big trouble for the brand online.

Having a regional or centrally managed asset management system can help marketing teams come up with content comfortably without worrying about if they’re within guidelines. Clear and comprehensive rules also need to be established about everything from what other accounts interaction is allowed with to guidelines for responding to audience or followers online.

Franchise Marketing - Demystified

As you know by now Instagram marketing for franchises is a little different from marketing for most other types of businesses. However, armed with the above Instagram marketing tips you now have a road map to attack your marketing campaigns head-on.

Remember to switch to a business account before you start and once you begin, try and follow as many if not every Instagram marketing tip mentioned here. Make sure to use the insights that come when you switch to a business account.

Make sure you know your local audience well before you begin targeted ads and always use local hashtags with the engaging content you create and share. Post consistently from at least one business Instagram account for each franchise.

Finally above all, the most important Instagram marketing tip to remember is that your content needs to be within the broader guidelines and align with the goals set by the franchise as an organization. There’s nothing worse than inconsistency in messaging and tone online and your audience can smell it a mile away. Make sure that there are effective content governance guidelines in place across branches before you set out to create content.

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