Defining the Role of Social Media as a Contemporary Local Area Marketing Technique in Franchising

Defining the Role of Social Media as a Contemporary Local Area Marketing Technique in Franchising

Geoffrey Webster (University of Southern Queensland, Australia) and Margee Hume (University of Southern Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8182-6.ch068
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Literature on Local Area Marketing (LAM) and social media engagement techniques for franchise businesses is scant, with Direct and Online Marketing the primary focus. It is important for franchise businesses to have a qualified understanding of social media to integrate its use as a LAM technique in their business. Problems facing franchise businesses include confusion over how social media functions within local area marketing strategy, a unified perception over how social media can be used to develop their business, and the lack of a basic theoretical model for social media engagement and LAM guidelines. This chapter examines the role of social media in LAM. It explores the franchise business attitude on new technology adoption including the use of social media. It presents a coordinated framework for the application of social media to increase awareness and enhance franchise business success, providing an important contribution to the franchise industry sector.
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Research Rationale

This research is significant in that it is exploring not only the engagement of social media as a LAM technique but also the extent to which social media as a technology tool has been used to market franchise businesses. This chapter will highlight the current and past perceptions of social media as a marketing strategy. There has been quite a lot written about the perceived benefits of social media and LAM techniques but mainly by consultants and marketers who have a vested interest in the franchise industry. The researchers have identified problems that they seek to research with the book chapter. These problems are as follows:

Problem One

Lack of objective investigation into how franchises view social media as a marketing strategy: Often franchisees are given poor quality training into marketing their local area. Investigations only really begin when sales budgets fail to be consistently reached.

Problem Two

Lack of objective reporting into franchises using social media to develop their business: Individuals tend to be reported as a ‘mouthpiece’ for the franchisor. The evidence or substance as to the extent that social media has developed their business is not usually reported.

Problem Three

Lack of theoretical framework or model for the engagement of social media as a LAM technique: The approach from marketers to franchises about using social media as a LAM technique appears to be haphazard resulting typically in a customised LAM strategy.



In 2005, franchise business revenue in Australia was $96 billion, approximately 14% of Australia’s GDP (Wilkie, 2014). By 2011, this had grown to just under $129 billion, around 9.2% of Australia’s GDP (ABS, 2012). Given that Australia was experiencing a mining boom up to 2011, the revenue growth is significant. In Australia, franchising is also a growth industry, however with franchising, the onus is on individual franchisees to manage their own LAM. Franchise agreements often have clauses stating that a certain proportion of the franchisees turnover contributes specifically to LAM.

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