Kelley Freridge: The Social Media Guru Behind Chaco

By Hannah Ketelhut

Social media is so much more than fake candid photos of girls laughing and hilarious memes that your parents will never understand. Social media is a direct conversation from the company to the consumer, and every post is important.

As Kelley Freridge said, “social media is a weapon of mass destruction.” So, how do companies use this “weapon” to their advantage?

Before we get into social media strategy, here’s some background on our speaker from last Tuesday:

Kelley graduated from Western Michigan University and National Outdoor Leadership School (I’m sure that is as cool as it sounds). She worked in various retail stores for outdoor brands such as Patagonia and Wolverine World Wide (which owns brands such as Sperry and yes, Chaco). She then went on to work for Chaco, where she currently holds the position of Marketing Specialist. She knows the Chaco brand inside and out, and her social media skills help make the company so successful.

Using social media to the advantage of your brand/company is no easy task. You can’t publish random content – there has to be a game plan behind every post.

Before forming any kind of strategy, keep in mind that your brand voice must come from its’ culture. What does your brand stand for? After answering this question, you can start building your brand strategy.  

Kelley explained to us the 3 C’s of Content that Chaco utilizes:

  1. Culture: Chaco’s brand culture is centered on three ideas: adventure, travel, and community.
  2. Content: All of Chaco’s content consists of fresh, never recycled images, stories, and product education.
  3. Consumer Compassion: Chaco defines this as “authentically embracing our consumers’ perceptions of who we are and how our products can be used.”

With these 3 C’s of Content in mind, Chaco has a successful social media presence that people positively respond to and interact with. Kelley went on to explain key points of social media strategy that are built on the foundation of the 3 C’s.

Consistent Message

Having a consistent message across all social platforms is so important. Consumers will call out brands for not being consistent or who go back on their word, so being consistent is key to credibility and reliability. Using a content calendar can help with this.

For Chaco, consistent messaging means posting a photo on Instagram, which is then used on the website and email updates. This keeps consistency within the brand across all social platforms. In fact, Chaco plan’s these messages 12 months in advance using their content calendar.


Post engagement can be indicative of the success of your social media strategy. Make it fun for followers! Featuring user-generated content on platforms, such as Instagram, is like giving followers a “digital high-five,” as Kelley phrased it.

She encouraged us to like, favorite, and comment back to consumers who talk to you or about your brand. Give your community a reason to keep coming back, and reward them for engaging in contests and giveaways.

She did warn us though that attempting to engage with our target audience through paid sponsorship’s can often anger them. It may lead to several people blocking your company on social media, which means that they won’t be able to see any of your future posts. If this exact same content was not sponsored, then the public would be a lot more willing to engage with your post.

One of the most important points that Kelley made that night was to talk to people on social media as if they were right in front of you. This makes social media less formal and more real. People respond well to brands just being…well, real humans. Bring a personal touch to the virtual world and you’ll be sure to have a successful social media strategy, just like Chaco’s.

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