by Jeff Molander
Time to read: 2 minutes. Knowing what a grocery, retail or convenience store should do on Facebook (and how to do it) is worthless — UNLESS you have a practical way to make sure you get paid in the end. That’s what I recently told a crowd of nearly 2,000 food marketers at Food Marketing Institute’s FutureConnect conference. When speaking I gave the audience concrete case studies (examples) AND a practical starting point to unlock the true potential of social media: Get back to basics. Follow the needs of customers, not gurus or “best practices.” Follow the 3 Habits of Successful Social Sellers.
Set aside the tech—solve customers’ problems
The truth: Social media marketing challenges grocery stores to design conversations in ways that solve customers’ problems — first. That means setting aside technical aspects and getting back to basics.
Ok. But what does that mean, really? And how so? Here’s what I’ve learned while researching my book. The answer to selling more with Twitter, blogs, video and Facebook is founded in sparking conversations that are worth having –- interactions that solve customers’ problems and prompt more questions.
Because when customers understand their problems more clearly they’re better equipped to find the right solutions. They’re more likely to return to the store for more answers, products and services.
Scratch customers’ itches
Pioneers like Whole Foods, Harris Teeter and European Goliath, Tesco (profiled in my 3 Habits Tips Sheet) are using social media in ways that create demand. Shoppers in their stores are “signaling” the “when, where, why and how” that powers technology decision-making. Shoppers are setting the pace.
Think of it this way. Remarkably successful stores are understanding what’s itching customers and responding by scratching those specific itches using social media. They’re using tools like Facebook in ways that are pre-planned. They’re designed to earn more transactions — by helping customers help themselves. And that’s not a new concept for most stores. In fact, it’s old school. It’s basic.
For instance, consider: What are stores doing when they research and publish custom media magazines… or sponsoring dietitian-guided nutritional tours… or conducting health clinics on site? In essence, stores are interacting with customers in ways that solve their problems — and in ways that create demand for relevant products and services.
Change the question
When thinking in context of “getting back to basics” the question changes. “What should we be doing with social media in stores?” changes to “How can social media make what we already do better?”
Take action today. Ask yourself…
- “How can our store re-commit to helping customers make life-stage decisions or getting important things done?
- Can we use interactive, social elements supercharge those things?
- Can we make better gestures that earn ‘quality time’ with customers in online, social spaces? (as we do ‘offline’)
- How often do we open doors for questions that products and services have answers for? (using social media)”
For instance, brainstorm gestures that help solve customers’ problems and make products more relevant. Start in areas of strength, like health & wellness.
For more tips on using social tools like Facebook to solve problems and lead customers toward products and services download my 3 Habits of Successful Social Sellers tip sheet. You’ll also learn how to:
- Quickly decide what your store should do w/ social media
- Make social media produce sales & loyalty
- Ensure employees stay on-task w/ social tools
- Prioritize social tactics
About the Author
Jeff Molander+ is the authority on making social media sell. He's a sought-after corporate trainer to small businesses and global corporations like Brazil's Petrobras. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network. Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His new book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with technology platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.