by Jeff Molander
Time to read: 3 Minutes. How can grocery stores like Giant Eagle benefit from social media marketing on Facebook and Twitter? By not promoting function over form like most stores do. The fastest way to understand “what works” is often learning from mistakes—”worst practices” of others. Let’s quickly look at how one store settled for a flash-in-the-pan when it could have struck solid gold with Twitter—and how you can quickly make better use of social media by avoiding a common trap.
Grocery store chain, Giant Eagle 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. Simple.
Sure enough, customers used the provided hash tag of #GiantEagleFavorites and tweeted about Creamery Classics ice cream, ready-to-serve soup and chunky pasta sauce. But what did that net the grocery store?
“A tweet mentioning a Giant Eagle brand is worth about what thought and intention the tweeter puts into it. I’d say just shy of zero,” says global brand strategist, Jonathan Salem Baskin.
“I say this because the campaign focuses on the tactical prompt (get 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,” says Baskin who is author of books like Branding Only Works on Cattle and Histories of Social Media.
Indeed, this use of Twitter is a common one: Broadcasting. The goal of advertising is, in essence, “reach and frequency” of messages. The more a brand name gets mentioned the better. And so far that’s how most grocery chains are using social media: To broadcast in hopes of being remembered and chosen more frequently.
A Better Idea
Baskin asks, “Why doesn’t Giant Eagle ‘pull a Groupon’ and encourage its customers to bond together around a common goal or benefit?”
For instance, he says “What if X number of shoppers who love a store brand show up (at the store) on a specific day to win something?” Even if it’s a discount coupon Baskin says this kind of promotion encourages community within the Giant Eagle experience.
“It gets people supporting one another to derive mutual benefits,” says Baskin who is keen on what’s called group buying popularized by companies like Groupon. In essence, the idea is social AND purposeful.
A Bigger Opportunity
I discuss how this idea is generating leads hand-over-fist for a local heating and air conditioning (HVAC) company in Cincinnati, in the Off the Hook Marketing book. And how you can too. Amanda Kinsella, of Logan Services, is using Facebook in a similar way — running promotions that require a minimum number of actions (ie. “Likes” or lead form-fills) to be performed.
But as I discuss in the Three Habits of Social Sellers tip sheet (grocery store edition) there are even bigger, overlooked opportunities for retail grocery stores when it comes to social media marketing.
By getting back to basics leading stores are helping customers understand their problems more clearly, in ways that equip them to discover the stores’ answers (products and services) more often. They’re solving shoppers’ problems first, choose technology or “social space” later.
By translating what customers need (rather than sending messages toward them) stores are capturing insights on shoppers’ pain points with social media — then putting them to work. Customers are showing stores how to be relevant. And in response stores are inventing ways to keep prompting shoppers’ questions that products and services answer.
And by thinking and acting like a designer stores are planning ways for each social marketing tactic to scratch shoppers’ itches. They’re creating opportunities to connect those itches (problems, urges) to products and services.
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
Photo credit: natalie maynor
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.