The Nanny Nine: Great Clips
In business since 1982, founded right here in Minneapolis, Great Clips has over 3,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada and continues to grow, including it’s Social Media presence. Their Facebook fan page has over 43,000 Fans, with significant dialogue from those fans…which as we know, isn’t always easy to get. While some topics are company-wide, they also do dedicated posts related to Great Clips managers, stylists and salon owners.
Kasey Skala, Great Clips Communications Specialist, is attuned to the appropriate venue when posting other key topics, focusing on retaining customers’ attention. Topics can range from the company’s interest in charitable giving, new salon openings, customer service, to NASCAR. Just as important, he realizes the brands who understand social (connecting with their customers) and do it “right” are benefiting greatly.
1. How long have you been using Social Networking for your business?
Great Clips began its involvement with social networking in late 2008, about a year before I started.
My involvement with social networking from a business standpoint started in 2005 when I began blogging for a financial company I worked for at the time. While blogging was still somewhat new, it became apparent very quickly that people were seeking information, especially about topics they were unfamiliar with such as finance.
2. Is your business using Facebook &/or Twitter?
We’re using both Facebook (www.facebook.com/GreatClips) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/GreatClips) from a corporate standpoint. We’re a 100% franchise-based company (we don’t own any of our salons – they are all our locally owned), so there are some salons that have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts as well, but we strongly recommend that they don’t create their own salon-level accounts.
3. Facebook vs Twitter – do you like one better? If yes, why?
It depends. I like both better than the other for different reasons.
The beauty of Facebook is it allows me to tell a story and truly engage with my audience. It allows me to find what they’re interested in and what’s important to them. Facebook is a true connection point, in my opinion.
Twitter, on the other hand, is great to gauge real-time opinion and generate immediate feedback. With Twitter, I can have a true dialogue with a customer in an atmosphere that feels a lot more intimate. To me, Twitter feels more 1:1 where Facebook is 1:50,000. I can interact with a wider variety of information to a larger audience. Facebook doesn’t allow me to post about NASCAR, charitable giving, new salon openings, customer service, etc. all in 1 day without turning people away. Twitter does.
4. Do you post daily?
Yes and no. On the surface, I post daily on Facebook. But I use a lot of targeted posts, so it might not come off as daily to some users. I tend to post, on average, 3-4 times a week to the entire following. However, I do respond to questions and address service issues multiple times throughout the day, 7 days a week.
On Twitter, I post daily (see my response above in regards to variety of topics to a variety of people). It’s easier to post daily on Twitter and a lot of our customer service is done via Twitter.
5. What is your favorite thing about Social Networking?
The connection it provides. Social networking allows Great Clips to truly connect with our customers. Our entire business is based off forming relationships and providing a relaxing and enjoyable experience to every customer who steps foot into one of our salons. Social networking takes that one step further and allows us to truly connect with our customers, get to know what they like/dislike, how we can make their experience more enjoyable; and most importantly, it allows us to allow our customers to feel like we truly care about them. Human beings are an interesting creature – it’s fascinating to get to know people and witness their actions and behaviors.
6. What do you think is the biggest benefit of Social Networking?
It allows us to be a better business and allows me to be a better person. There’s no more excuses, there’s no more hiding. Never before has the consumer had as much power and influence as they do now. Consumers are dictating business. The brands who understand social and do it “right” are benefiting greatly.
7. How do you measure Social Networking, and explain.
Anything that has a call-to-action, I can measure. My number one goal is to get “more butts in more seats” and our social efforts need to be driving that mindset. So to that extent, it’s simple ROI – are my activities increasing sales?
There are also metrics that are equally as valuable, and sometimes more valuable, that aren’t sales-driven. Reducing organizational expenses is one example. Social has allowed us to streamline our customer service efforts and has allowed us to make our customer service efforts more personal – I’d say that’s just as valuable as increasing sales.
Then there’s activities that aren’t quite as easy to measure – though we do as best as we can. A lot of our efforts aren’t directly related to getting a haircut. One of our biggest investments is NASCAR. It’s a huge driver of conversation for us, but can we tie our involvement in NASCAR directly to an increase in sales? Again, we can in a way (we have measured certain campaigns/promotions/efforts), but it’s a lot harder to measure. And to be honest, it doesn’t take a piece of data for me to know that our NASCAR involvement is a major reason some of our customers choose us over the competition.
8. What is the best moment you’ve had on a Social Networking site?
It’s a moment that I’ve had in the past and continue to have on a daily basis – helping customers. Nothing is more gratifying to me, than simply saying thank you to a customer and letting him/her know that Great Clips appreciates their business. There isn’t a better and more rewarding story than that.
9. What is your best piece of advice to other businesses about Social Networking?
Find an approach that works for you and run with it. What works for one business might now work for your business. The only template to social networking is to be human. Find a way that you can add value to your customer base.
Facebook: Great Clips
The Nanny Nine brought to you by the Social Networking Nanny
“but we strongly recommend that they don’t create their own salon-level accounts.” and this “My number one goal is to get “more butts in more seats” seems counterproductive to the strategy. It would seems that the local customer cares more about what is going on in the salon right down the street from me (deals, who is cutting hair today, wait times, helping people) than let’s say what is going on clear across the country or even in the corporate headquarters. It seems like each store should manage a store account and also provide additional stylists to be featured on said account. If I am in Virginia Beach I am more apt to have a much more engagement with the local accounts than one big account. Now with that said that does add a layer of management to all the accounts, but this would become very operational and low cost over time. Additionally I would think you could get better metrics from the bottom up to show local to national what is heartbeat.
Keith, you raise a great point and one that we’ve debated prior to setting our policy. There are a few things that go into our stance:
Our salons are locally owned and operated and many have great relationships with their local communities. We definitely encourage our salons to become active in their community and we’ve created the Great Squad (www.everythinggreat.com) to highlight all the great things going on in the local communities where our salons operate. So a lot of our customers have been able to form great relationships with individual salons and stylists — this hits on our promise to deliver an affordable and quality haircut in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
That being said, because of the type of business we are in — haircuts — there’s not much conversation going on at a local level. So we’re engaging with our customers in venues that they’re more likely to have conversations with us — NASCAR, video games, value-oriented sites, family, etc. It’s easier to have these conversations and create the relationships on a national level and allow our salons to benefit at a local level.
And as you mentioned, there’s a lot that goes into maintaining a page that’s providing any value. The few salons that have their own page haven’t seen much traction, and from a business standpoint, there are more profitable actions our salon owners and stylists should be spending their time doing.
Hope that addresses some your questions.