2020 Franchise Marketing Trend: User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content, being recorded through camera viewfinder

As we welcome the new year, we’re exploring what’s next on the horizon for franchise marketing and sharing how you can turn these trends into strategies. To kick things off, let’s dive into the rise of user-generated content and how this traditionally consumer-facing strategy can be leveraged to market your franchise opportunity. 

User-generated content, often referred to as UGC, is content that is created by the people who engage with a brand, product, or service. UGC can take many forms, from a video testimonial to a mention on an Instagram story. Not sure exactly what we’re talking about? Let’s go through a scenario we think most internet users have experienced. 

The UGC Effect

It’s Friday night and you’re looking for a new restaurant to try. You do a quick Google search for a restaurant in your area and are led to a website that claims to have the most authentic and delicious Italian food this side of the Atlantic. The pictures look great, but you head to Yelp to see what other diners have to say. 

The reviews are terrible! The photos posted by users look nothing like the photos from their website. You decide to go with another, more highly-rated restaurant nearby. You’ve just experienced the influence of user-generated content!

These days, internet-users can sniff out disingenuous marketing as easily as a dog can hear you opening a bag of chips from the other room. However, consumers consider UGC to be more authentic and trustworthy than branded content, making this an ideal way to engage your potential candidates. 

So, how can you leverage the power of user-generated content to promote your franchise opportunity? We’ve got a few suggestions. 

Hear it from the Franchisees

You can tell candidates about all the wonderful benefits of franchising with your brand until you’re blue in the face, but they’re still going to want to hear from someone who has been in the exact same position they’re in now. This is where franchisee testimonials come in handy. 

We recommend gathering a number of testimonials from various franchisees with a motley of professional backgrounds. Not only will this give you a broad range of testimonials to use on different assets, but you will also give candidates the chance to identify with a franchisee whose path is similar to their own. Seeing that their dreams are possible will help nudge them one step closer to becoming a franchisee themselves. 

Be sure to include a high-quality photo of the franchisee whenever possible. Better yet? Take the time to film video testimonials. 

Show Social Proof

Customer reviews have their place in your franchise marketing assets. Not only do they show candidates that there is a market for your products or services, but they also provide social proof that your brand is valuable to customers. Candidates are more likely to believe in your brand if they know that potential customers do. 

These reviews can be used anywhere on your marketing assets, from your website to a PPC landing page to your printed brochure. Feature reviews that highlight an aspect of your franchise that will appeal to candidates. For example, if you have an impeccable employee training program, choose a review that relates to how amazing the staff is. 

Leverage Your Social Media Presence 

Similar to the concept discussed above, a strong social media presence can demonstrate to candidates that there is a significant interest in your brand. This is especially relevant for franchises with large Millennial and Gen Z demographics, such as gyms or quick-service restaurants. High engagement rates signal to candidates that your franchise is able to create community among customers, which strengthens the brand as a whole. 

Encourage engagement with your brand to inspire user-generated content on social media. Hold a photo contest, shout out to users on stories, or repost UGC (with permission from the user, of course). 

User-Generated Content for Franchises 

Thanks to the consumer demand for authenticity from brands, 2020 can expect to see more user-generated content than ever before. Follow the tips outlined here to get a jump start on your franchise marketing in the new year.

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