Earlier this year, it was announced that SOCi appointed Chad Jordan as the Vice President of Business Development, Brands. Prior to joining SOCi, Chad oversaw digital marketing for Sport Clips. Bringing years of franchise marketing expertise to our team, in this new position, Chad will work closely with national franchises and multi-location brand customers of SOCi to serve as a resident expert to help customers grow and scale their localized marketing programs.
Chad’s intimate knowledge of the franchise space and the struggles multi-location marketers face when it comes to localized marketing programs can provide invaluable knowledge to our customers, and audience, alike. SOCi sat down with Chad to ask specific questions on the key learnings that he has a former multi-location marketer.
Q&A with Chad Jordan
1. Can you provide a summary of your background?
I got into Franchising in the early 2000’s when I started a chain of sandwich and smoothie shops in California and wanted to scale beyond my hometown. Once I sold off the chain in 2011, I went to work for a digital marketing agency because of my experiences as a SMB owner who had discovered the importance of social media and managing an online reputation. In 2015, Sport Clips was looking to create a digital marketing department and asked if I would be up to the challenge. I accepted and got to enjoy a magical ride shaping the company’s digital footprint across 1800+ websites, social media pages, and review sites.
And most recently, I have been appointed as the Vice President of Business Development, Brands at SOCi. In this new position, I will work closely with national franchises and multi-location brand customers of SOCi to serve as a resident expert to help customers grow and scale their localized marketing programs.
2. Why did Sport Clips ultimately select SOCi as its localized social platform?
When I joined Sport Clips in the summer of 2015, the company had a legacy social media platform that was inefficient, unreliable, and not user-friendly. It was built for enterprise companies, not multi-unit franchises. I set out to find a platform that could be quickly implemented, with reliable performance and easily adoptable amongst the franchisees. I also needed a platform that could handle different use cases, so that I could mass publish a “local” post to all 1,800 social media pages or individually post local content to specific pages or groups. I found SOCi to be the best fit for my variety of needs and use cases.
3. How long has Sport Clips been using SOCi?
Since March of 2016.
4. How were you managing your localized marketing programs at Sport Clips (decentralized or centralized – what was handled by corporate vs. local users)?
Mostly decentralized, as we encouraged the franchisees (and their store managers) to post local, relevant content. But we also allowed them to “opt in” to national social media posts that would get delivered to the local store pages (through SOCi Groups!).
5. What were some key successes that you achieved through your localized marketing program at Sport Clips?
How much time do you have? Just kidding, but first and foremost, we were able to finally localize social media content across all of Sport Clips’s Facebook and Instagram pages. That had been a huge challenge for Sport Clips, especially for the franchisees who wanted to post content to more than one social media network but didn’t want to have to log in natively.
Additionally, because of the SOCi Go app, franchisees were able to give their local store managers access to post local, real-time content without worrying about adding those managers (turnover rate is high) as “admins” and then revoking those privileges when managers were no longer employed with the company.
Not only was franchisee adoption at an all-time high for a marketing-provided platform, but our engagement on social media skyrocketed, almost overnight. Once 1,800 stores started easily creating and sharing their own content and sharing it, Sport Clips experienced a tremendous lift in organic reach because of the conversations, shares, likes, etc. that were happening on social.
In terms of validated success, Sport Clips even won a Digiday award for our work with SOCi in creating a “social media rhythm” that the stores adopted and still use to this day. This program was revolutionary and simplified Sport Clips’s approach to social media that allowed franchisees to post content without feeling overwhelmed by the thought of having to create it all from scratch.
Lastly, Sport Clips’s star rating increased across Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews, as franchisees now had an easy way to view and respond to each review as it came in.
6. What were some key challenges that you faced in your localized marketing program at Sport Clips?
- First, Sport Clips had thousands of accounts, but no true strategy behind what to post, and certainly no ability to post at scale. Even if we could have figured out WHAT to post, we didn’t have the HOW.
- Franchisees were busy doing “franchisee stuff” – running their stores, managing payroll, recruiting, etc.. Most didn’t have the ability or knowledge to do any localized marketing.
- Sport Clips was receiving thousands of reviews each day, but most franchisees had no insight into what clients were saying, nor any knowledge on how to respond to those reviews.
- In the case of negative reviews or comments on social media, there was no strategy for addressing those, so they would just sit, unanswered, on all of our local sites.
7. What were the key marketing objectives you were looking to achieve with SOCi?
- 90 percent of what I wanted our franchises to focus on was social and reviews. I felt that social media and reviews were the frontlines of winning the digital marketing war, and could turn the tide to our favor against our bigger competitors (who also weren’t doing much in the local digital marketing space).
- With websites becoming out-dated and zero-click search on the rise, I was looking to increase organic search results by becoming relevant on social media networks and more active on review sites.
- At corporate, we were getting bogged down trying to provide content for franchisees to post on their social media pages. We were having to upload the images to our website platform and requiring the franchisees to log in, download the images, and then share them to their social media pages individually. We really wanted to be able to have a repository of content already loaded and ready to go for them to use.
8. Did you have any issues proving the success of these objectives with SOCi?
To be honest, the success was so immediate and visible, that I didn’t have to necessarily prove anything. Plus, with the built-in reporting and the analysis provided by my customer success team at SOCi, I always had plenty of resources to share with my CMO that pointed out the gains we were experiencing in social and search – because of SOCi.
9. How important were these localized marketing objectives for Sport Clips’s overall marketing plans?
They were critical. Once we relieved the burden off of the internal team to implement and create each piece of localized marketing content, it freed us up to focus on other projects and the national ad fund priorities. Additionally, a side benefit was that the store managers ENJOY posting content to social media, as it allows them to show off their creative side and impressive work.
10. What were the main challenges your franchisees faced with a localized marketing strategy?
Understandably, getting the message about our new platform and initiatives to over 1,800 locations seemed daunting. However, we put a plan together (with SOCi) to educate the masses and adoption happened much more quickly than we ever imagined.
11. Did you experience any major challenges at corporate when deploying a localized marketing strategy?
Because I took the time to get so much buy-in from the team BEFORE we onboarded with SOCi, most of the expected challenges were overcome by the time we began implementing our new solution.
12. How were you able to increase franchisee adoption of your localized marketing program, and the use of SOCi?
Fortunately, I had already created a cadence of weekly webinars that franchisees were attending. These were recorded, archived, and shared on our website for any franchisee that could not attend. We were joined by SOCi for a series that exclusively taught the hows and whys of our new platform. Additionally, I held regional meetings across the country teaching the importance of social media and reviews, featuring SOCi prominently, and spending time walking both franchisees and store managers through the SOCi Go app.
13. If there is one learning or pitfall you have learned through your localized marketing efforts that you would like to share with other marketers, what would that be?
Don’t underestimate your franchisee’s ability to use tools that have their best interest at heart. Once they see the value (and your job as a marketer is to paint that picture), your franchisees will become the biggest cheerleaders of your initiatives, and it will spread like wildfire through those that have yet to onboard fully.
14. Any other best practices or things that you learned as a digital marketer in a franchise that you want to share?
There’s that old saying in restaurant that three most important words are “location, location, location.” Well, I would say the three most important words in franchising are “education, education, education.” I was fortunate enough to have been on the OTHER SIDE of being a franchisor. I used to have my own small chain of restaurants and know how demanding the day-to-day operations can be. Taking time out of my day to tinker with some marketing idea that has no tangible benefit was something I would have never considered. However, I would have jumped at the chance to improve my bottom line AND ease my workload, if only someone would have taken the time and effort to demonstrate that value. So, once I was on the corporate side, I wanted to take that empathetic approach to the demands on the franchisee and provide as much education and as many resources necessary for them to adopt the tools and platforms that could be game-changers for them. I committed to teaching through webinars, one-on-one calls, one-pagers, how-to-videos, sessions at our Annual Conventions, regional meetings, etc. Through this approach, I believe franchisees were more willing to trust that I had their best interest at heart, and it helped increase adoption for all of our initiatives during my tenure at Sport Clips.
Localized marketing has proven to be an essential tactic for multi-location marketers; as research shows that localized marketing leaders grow their sales 3X faster than their competitors! To learn from a seasoned marketing professional who has deployed a successful localized marketing program is incredibly valuable. Stay tuned for future content announcements with Chad Jordan! As our in-house franchise expert, Chad will continue to share his first-hand experience with real-world insights and solutions to this extremely complex issue.