Ernie’s Sports Experts is a full-line sports and fitness store with locations in Grande Prairie, AB and Ft. St. John, BC. For almost 50 years, it has been the leading sports store in the Peace Country. In fact, some locals have grumbled about the “monopoly” the store has since it is the only full-line sports store in the area.
The franchise agreement Ernie’s has with the Sports Experts chain prevents it from having its own independent website. Thus, Ernie’s relies heavily on its Facebook Page as the hub of its online and social media presence. 9,078 Likes for a sports store with a market area of maybe 125,000 people is phenomenal market penetration. The FB page is updated multiple times daily with a variety of different content – it’s not ALL about selling products. Some of the posts emphasize the employees’ personalities and the fun that they have at work. Customers appear to be actively engaged; the Recent Posts By Others box is used almost daily.
Ernie’s also has an active Twitter feed with 1100+ followers. Like FB, Ernie’s is active on a daily basis, tweeting and re-tweeting a variety of content. If you look at the Tweet stream, you can see active engagement with customers. Also of note, Ernie’s doesn’t copy everything it does on FB onto to Twitter – the content varies a bit from FB.
I’ve always thought Ernie’s is an exemplary model of a local business using social media Through FB and Twitter, it portrays an image of “your friendly, local sports store who is actively involved in the community” which is quite different from “local monopolist.”
Is Ernie’s social media strategy successful? From outward appearances, it certainly seems so.