How Did Follett Scale Social Media to 900+ Campus Stores?
Case Study | Follett
Many consumers do not know who FHEG even is and that’s ok with them. Although more than $2.7B in annual revenue is generated from their 900+ college campus stores across the United States and Canada, these locations all fly under the name of the actual universities. This business structure causes a unique challenge by trying to streamline 900+ different brandings, campuses and audiences. FHEG was seeking to create a training program for their local employees to teach them social media best practices and local store marketing. FHEG also understood that the insights they could gain for product offerings and future student connections could maintain a steady flow of business for each campus store.
FHEG also set a goal to expand the social media program into Twitter and Google+ local pages to improve search results for people searching to purchase products or school swag from the campus stores using social media. This was a huge undertaking as the digital footprints could easily exceed 2700 social profiles and communications. By improving customer service through these social sites, it would help improve upon customer standards and expectations both for the campus store and the perceptions about the universities themselves.
Because of the flexibility of Sysomos’ configuration, Follett can add additional social channels as their local social strategy evolves.
When FHEG approached Sysomos they already had an active Facebook page for a select few retail footprints but they did not have an aggregated way to monitor the activity of the local pages. Sysomos was able to connect to each of these pages for the regional marketing managers to oversee the analytics first and start to learn what local users were doing to engage with their fans. Sysomos was able to backload up to a year’s worth of data to hone in on Top Posts, key topics, product questions and themes for each school or type of university. This instantly created a library of Top Posts that the marketing managers could pull from to share with the under performing campus stores.
As FHEG moved ahead with an official WebEx training program for the local users, a test was given to “approve” them as social advocates and they were granted access to the Sysomos system. This served many purposes for FHEG, but one of them was an audit to remove employee admin access to native channels and route users activity into a governance tool for monitoring. This was important to ensure that FHEG had the only access to these social footprints so when an employee left, the IP was intact and the new employees were not starting from scratch or FHEG didn’t lose access to these established accounts. It was a win-win; employees received value to assist them with BP’s and FHEG took control of their branding.
As of February 2013, Follett has hundreds of Facebook pages and twitter accounts and is looking to establish a Google+ local page for each campus store in 2013. Because of the flexibility of Sysomos’ configuration, Follett can add additional social channels as their local social strategy evolves.
Follett’s marketing managers are also saving time by having a single login to access hundreds of social media accounts from one centralized interface. The process of communicating with fans on local pages has been streamlined and moderating conversation across hundreds of pages is done easily.
FHEG has also had zero lost assets and profiles since onboarding the program at the locations. The concept of training and transitioning employees to a valuable software tool has worked. Fan growth and engagement has increased proportionally with user adoption. The stores that have grown the most tend to use the software the most. Proper training and sharing of best practices certainly proved to be a difference maker.