Engaging Technology: AI adoption in franchising spreads rapidly
Social media and other digital marketing tools were not instantly adopted by many people in franchising 15 years ago.
Other advances in digital marketing and technology also were not accepted quickly in this space. So many franchisors have dismissed new tech until the last minute that the industry has gained a reputation for being far behind the times. We hear all the time that “Franchising is slow to adapt,” or “Franchising is late to the game.”
Not this time. There’s something different happening now. There are many people in franchising way ahead of other industries when it comes to AI. In fact, compared with other sectors I’m watching right now, our community is leading the way.
Why is interest in AI so hot right now with our colleagues? Why are so many franchisors and suppliers actively using AI to write, create, and produce? The reason is social media engagement.
The LinkedIn explosion
The past 3 years have seen a massive increase in business-to-business social media engagement by franchisors, specifically on LinkedIn. After a decade of slowly using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for consumer marketing, the franchise development community has gone all-in on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the channel that matters now. Franchise pros can share ideas and connect with like-minded professionals to expand their networks. Perhaps it was the pandemic lockdown that left fewer options for networking. Many turned to LinkedIn as the only source of attracting new business opportunities. Fast forward to 2023, and franchise pros can’t get enough LinkedIn.
AI draws a crowd at IFA
I had the pleasure of moderating a session at the 2023 IFA Annual Convention. Joining me were Patti Rother, VP of franchise development at The Now; Robert Mitchell, head of franchise development at Ultra Pool Care Squad; and Dan Monaghan, founder of Clear Summit Group. (To listen to the session, click here.)
Initially, Dan and I had been working on other digital topics for a session at the convention, including the Metaverse, NFTs, and more. By January, our social media feeds were full of franchise pros sharing questions about AI. It was obvious to us and to the IFA that a shift to AI was warranted.
We were amazed at the turnout. Hundreds of people flooded the ballroom in Las Vegas. By the time we started speaking, the standing-room-only crowd poured out into the lobby area. We had assumed it would be a reasonably popular panel. But there was not much opportunity to spread the news of this last-minute entry. Word of mouth was limited, and there was no way to advertise an individual session. Why did so many people know about this? Social media.
We had spent the previous few weeks sharing LinkedIn posts about the session with our contacts. We recorded podcasts about AI potential for franchisors and shared those podcasts on social media. We engaged with others on LinkedIn who were talking about AI and suggested that a session on AI would be valuable at IFA. It worked well because of the engaging nature of our colleagues, and we spent a total of $0.
Get ready for similar sessions at FCXC in June, FLDC in October, and at other franchise events! If you’re speaking on a hot topic, spend as much time on LinkedIn as you can spreading the word over the previous month.
Resources for franchise professionals on social media
There are so many videos, blogs, and podcasts being shared every day geared toward helping professionals use AI. But so much of this material is not helpful for or specific to franchise brands. Here are a few places to find help with a franchising angle from industry franchisors and suppliers:
1) Dan Monaghan’s Unlocking the Potential of Chat GPT is a guide to help franchise pros stay ahead:
2) Stay In Your Lane’s AI-Mazing Resource shares ideas, prompts, examples and more for franchise brands: (There is also a free biweekly live online event!)
3) Social Geek’s AI Update is a monthly audio podcast with the latest news specifically for franchise professionals featuring Robert Mitchell and me.
Jack Monson is the owner and host of Social Geek, home of the top podcasts in franchising, including The Franchise News Podcast and Social Geek Rock Stars. He is also the CEO of Brand Journalists and has been helping franchisors and franchisees with digital marketing for 15 years.
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