Although social media has created big impacts for many different industries, the grocery supermarket business has a lot of catching up to do. According to new research published by the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America (CCRRC), nearly 70 percent of supermarket chief marketing officers say they feel ill-equipped to integrate social media into their marketing mix. Basically, they do not know where to begin and then gain sustainability
using social media tools. This is unfortunate for these companies for their inability to capitalize on the social media phenomenon. Not only do customers spend significant time talking about shopping experiences, stores and products on social media platforms, but also food is one of the top subjects of discussion among social web users.
However, recruiting among the grocery chains have changed due to the growth of platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn as a place to start. Companies report a strong increase in their use of social networking sites and websites for recruiting, while also predicting a sharp reduction in campus recruiting, job board and third-party recruiters. Job hunters recognize this change and are increasing their use of social networking sites to seek employment opportunities.
Grocery chains need to get moving on learning how social media can work for them. When putting together a course of action, it is crucial to understand that not all social web users use social media in the same way. There are four categories of users along with their style, the manner in which they interact and their influence as shoppers. They are bonders, sharers, professionals and creators can help retailers more effectively leverage social media for strategic business purposes. In addition, companies have to reach out to these shoppers while projecting their core values.
As companies begin interaction, they must find ways to build interest. Some ideas stem from creating specific triggers, such as time-sensitive offers, sweepstakes or limited supplies, to drive rapid responses. Another idea offers a single item to focus on. Learning how to cultivate these deeper relationships is the key to successful engagement. The social web demands something deeper and provides an ideal venue to listen to and understand consumers, to participate in their discussions and to create places for them to gather and build loyalty. Merely providing coupons or specials is not enough.
My company, grocery store chain Giant Eagle, had a social media campaign that came up lacking. Two years, Giant Eagle wanted to promote their own brand items. So, it decided to hand out $150 gift cards to Twitter followers who talked-up its private brands. Shoppers who tweeted about their favorite Giant Eagle-branded product were eligible to win the “My Favorite Giant Eagle Brand” sweepstakes. Customers used the provided hash tag of #GiantEagleFavorites and tweeted about Creamery Classics ice cream, ready-to-serve soup and chunky pasta sauce. However, the campaign only dealt with getting people to mention the brand names, but not on the substance of what they’re talking about or why anybody who received and noticed the Tweets would care. Instead, Giant Eagle should have encouraged its customers to join together these products. They could have held a special for a number of shoppers who love a store brand show up at a specific store on a specific day to win something. This kind of promotion would have a brought a “community” together within Giant Eagle.
Twitter, LinkedIn Logical Social Media Entry Points: Study (Aug 2012), http://www.progressivegrocer.com/top-stories/headlines/technology/id35201/twitter-linkedin-logical-social-media-entry-points-study
Molander, Jeff (June 2011), How Grocery Stores Can Avoid Spinning Wheels with Social Media, http://www.makesocialmediasell.com/social-media-tips/grocery-stores-social/