But in the world of franchising, many people are not yet familiar with the term "social media." Some don't know the difference between a web page and a blog. And the names Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and Linked In don't even ring the slightest bell of familiarity.
So what do you do when you need to educate a family of 150 franchisees from three outdoor living branded companies on what social media is, and the importance it now has in today's marketing world?
You find the best and brightest minds out there, like Gini Dietrich from Arment Dietrich in Chicago.
My colleague Robin Steele started a search to find someone proficient in social media -- a thought leader, advocate and practioner -- who was connected to the world of franchising. After some discovery, Gini quickly rose to the top of the list.
When I spoke to some of her clients for validation, they were crazy about her. And after her performance at the Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Archadeck annual meetings at Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Jacksonville, Florida, last week, now we all know why.
A beautiful, smart and sophisticated brainiac, Gini glided across the stage aided by a impactful PowerPoint presentation that articulated the ABCs of "getting found" on the Internet.
The biggest benefit of social media? Earning more real estate on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. The greater someone's voice is online, the more likely they will show up as a search result when associated keywords are entered.
So Gini's gift to us was a formula on how just to do that, by creating a "boot camp" strategy for our franchise owners, as well as a tactical road map, that outlines one key task for our franchisees to execute every day of the year for just 15 minutes a day.
My hope is that a year from now, all of our Outdoor Living Brands franchise owners can boast that 20% of their business came from their diligent efforts in social media, just like Pat and Laura Harders of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Northern Virginia.