The Social 9 with - Cassie Norris
The Social 9 is an up-close look into the lives and careers of the golf industry’s social voices and influencers. Each week will feature a new guest answering nine (or more!) questions about their careers, brands, and personal lives.
These are the voices that drive the industry further every single day.
Cassie Norris — Club Champion
Title: Social Media and Public Relations Manager
How did you get started in social media?
It was actually an accident. I have a journalism degree, but somehow ended up in marketing roles. While I was working for Brunswick Bowling and Billiards, I occasionally piped in on our social media strategy. We were using an agency at the time, but eventually it became my project. The running joke was that it fell in my lap because I was the only person under the age of 30 in that department. From there, I went on to work at an agency as a strategist, and the path has since defined itself.
Do you have a favorite social media outlet right now?
It changes daily, but I think my favorite right now is Twitter. I'm big into sports in general, but specifically golf and WWE (weird, I know) and those are super active communities on Twitter. It's so up-to-date and allows public figures to be a part of the conversation in a way that's missing from other platforms. I've had conversations with athletes or had them like/retweet my stuff and it makes me feel like I'm slightly more than just an observer.
Is there ever a struggle to put brand before self or vice versa?
The brand is always going to come first, but sometimes that means my own personal "brand" suffers online. When you're on social media all day for work, the last thing you want to do when you get home is stage a photoshoot for Instagram. I still have a passion for what I do, but that passion is rooted in my professional life. That can make it hard to be active on my personal accounts because social media is so tied to work for me. When I log in outside of the office, I have to actively stop myself from checking work pages or thinking about strategy because it's so second-nature.
How has your content evolved with so much being picture and video centric, rather than just words?
It's a complete 180 from when I started, and let me just say...I'm not even 30 years old. It's not like I've been around the block for decades. It's just that social media is so quick to evolve that by the time you test and define a functional strategy, you're suddenly two steps behind. We won't post anything without a visual, and the visual is the main driving force behind whatever copy is written. Everything revolves around what we can show our customers. The cutest, pithiest copy wouldn't matter if the visual is crap. Which was initially an adjustment for someone like me who thinks in terms of a story (versus a visual).
Does your favorite outlet match up with golf demographics?
Traditionally, no. Social media in general doesn't really jive with golf demographics or our average customer. Older men are more likely to be found on Twitter than, say, Pinterest, but at the end of the day, your average golfer probably isn't out there taking selfies and picking photo filters.
How has your role changed as social media has changed?
I'm lucky in that my current role involves PR and other elements of marketing that are bit more consistent than social media. But the social part of my job used to be very strategic: what days to post, how to maximize content we source/create, what outlets can we syndicate, how can we best use ad spend. Now, all those things are still important but we have to do them all on the fly, testing and retesting as we go. Social media for a brand is about so much more than messaging now; it's a customer service outlet, it's a review platform, it's an e-commerce tool, it's a recruiting tool. Every day, there's more competition in the industry and more competition for people's attention, so every day you have to come to work with a bigger paddle and a faster canoe to row your whole brand upstream.
What's the most important thing you want people to know about your brand?
I think it's more about our process than the brand itself, but I want people to understand that club fitting isn't just for great golfers. The most common misconception about Club Champion is the idea that only scratch golfers or pros need club fitting when in reality, it's the high-handicappers who see the best results. I'm not saying that the dude who plays golf twice a year at work outings needs a full bag fitting, but anyone who's serious about golf - even if they play poorly - can see results. Part of my goal on social media has been to educate people on that front because I've seen the process work and I've seen how much more enjoyable the game is when golfers are confident in their sticks.
Is there a style or a voice you shoot for with your brand's social content?
We don't have a "persona" like some brands do. We try to keep things professional and educational, especially when talking about product specs, but I've been known to respond to people with sassy GIFs from time to time. It's very situational. I think some brands neuter themselves by obsessively defining their "voice" because they limit the interactions they can have with followers and potential customers. Part of "knowing your audience" is understanding that social media is a quicker, more interactive medium than traditional marketing avenues, and that occasionally calls for something other than structured marketing copy.
What's the biggest misconception about your brand you'd like to clarify?
I sort of touched on this above. The idea that "average" golfers aren't welcome. Anyone who geeks out over golf clubs or wants to better understand the mechanics of their swing is our ideal customer. Jaws hit the floor when people walk into our stores because you're basically entering a candy store for golfers. The service we offer - custom club fitting that results in better on-course play - is first and foremost, but the experience is just as impressive. You're treated like a Tour pro for the day and I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me.
What's your typical work day look like?
There are a few things that are consistent day-to-day like posting on social, collecting content, etc. but for the most part, my days vary drastically. I'm part of a four-person marketing team that services a 70-store company, so we're always busy. In terms of social, I might be taking photos of clubs in the build shop or filming and editing an episode of our YouTube show Fits & Fairways; maybe I'm working on a contest or giveaway, or potentially laying out next week's posts. Predictability isn't a big part of my job at Club Champion, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
What's it like to work so closely with brand ambassadors and pros?
I love that our ambassadors are advocates of our process, but there isn't much in ways of a personal relationship with them. Everything goes through their agents and PR people. I actually prefer it that way because it provides consistency. Jordan Spieth and our other ambassadors have definitely been in our stores and worked with our team on a personal level, but it's not a daily thing. That said, I actually wish we could bring in even more personalities and golf influencers who support what we do. This sport is crazy in that amateurs have access to many of the things available to pros - you can buy Tiger's mock neck shirt, or the same putter model that Rory uses, or even take lessons with renowned coaches. It's fitting (pun intended) that our process is on par with what pros experience, and the support shown by our ambassadors really drives that point home.