X-Press Legal Services
Social networking sites are just for kids right?
Social networking sites are just for kids right? They are the exclusive preserve of teenagers swapping notes on alcopops and “wot 2 do on da wkd” aren’t they? All I can say to that is LOL.
The growth in recent years of Facebook, Linkedin and more importantly Twitter has been nothing short of astronomical. Whilst the traditional divide was Facebook for your social life and Linkedin for your business life it seems that Twitter crosses all boundaries. Recent figures suggest that Twitter usage is growing at a rate of 10,000 new users per day and unlike FB and Linkedin, businesses and business owners occupy the same space as random content from bored celebrities and opinionated teenagers.
If you are not familiar with Twitter the concept is elegantly simple. You sign up for a free account and you can then choose to follow whoever you wish. You can also share your thoughts with the world. The basis to the communications is a Tweet, which is a message that is limited to 140 characters and which is seen by those who follow the user that Tweets it.
If you are still with me the interesting bit comes next. You could spend time looking for the franchise that you may be interested in and following them. This will give you updates on the activity of that business and maybe even content from their franchisees. You could however choose in addition to follow subjects as well as users. If you set your Twitter account to search for #franchising you will receive details of every Tweet that has the word franchising in it. This will enable you to receive free updates on not only the businesses that you may be looking at but also the industries and franchise types that you are searching for. #whitecollarbusinesses would give details of that business type.
By following people as well as concepts and businesses you may be able to determine whether the franchisor that you are talking to is as “nice” as they appeared over the phone or when you met. This form of communication is so immediate that it can reveal quite a lot about the character of the Twitter user and the character of the Tweets could provide more insight into the nature of the franchisor.
As with many forms of the research that you will complete when you are considering franchising you cannot get it all on Twitter. It is however one of a new arsenal of research tools that the prospective franchisee can use when they are forming an opinion of which business is right for them.
One downside to Twitter though is that it is easy to miss something important and much easier still to receive lots of information which is useless. In order to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from the site the following top tips should help you syphon the cream from the Twitterati.
Manage your connections
If you do not like or are not interested in the content that is coming from the people or subjects that you are following, stop following them.
Evaluate content for its worth
If the user that you are following does nothing other than sell his business or service I would question the value. This SPAM is not the original thought behind Twitter and most good users share thoughts and advice in abundance and if they do sell, do it in moderation. If all they do is sell, once you have seen the pitch, stop following them.
Look at who the Twitterer is
Businesses often use multiple Twitter accounts to send the same message and share with as many users as possible. If each user is the same organisation a subject can appear busier than it actually is.
Buyer beware is the watchword for any franchise or business opportunity. If you follow the #franchising, in addition to the good content on genuine franchisors you will also see the get rich quick guys and the internet millionaire club. If it seems too good to be true it probably is and the traditional good advice for franchise research still applies in this media. Meet the franchisor, speak to franchisees, do your research and check for bfa membership.
Dan Archer is Franchise Development Director for X-Press Legal Services and is a Board Member of the British Franchise Association. You can follow Dan on twitter by visiting www.twitter.com/@therealdarcher