- Despite their best efforts, most grocers aren’t connecting to their customers via social media, according to Progressive Grocer. A recent study from Retail Feedback Group shows that although 90% of grocers have a social media presence, just 25% of consumers say they’re engaged with their primary grocer in the space.
- According to experts interviewed by Progressive Grocer, retailers’ social media efforts should utilize the interactive nature of the channel. Posts should also be engaging and authentic, and retailer representatives need to be quick to respond to consumer replies — good and bad.
- Experts also noted that retailers are under-utilizing promising channels like YouTube. According to a Retail Feedback Group study, just a third of grocers offer content on the popular video streaming site.
Arguably, the biggest problem retailers have with social media is that it too closely resembles their traditional advertising, broadcasting a message that doesn’t let consumers engage and interact.
Social media is an interactive medium, so the first rule for grocers to follow is to design posts that invite clicks, comments, likes and shares. A good first step is to offer coupons for a dollar amount or percentage off in-demand products. In-store deals and seasonal offerings are also good to advertise, but again, there needs to be some interactive element.
At the same time, retailers should make sure interaction isn’t strained. Social media is a place where people can be irreverent, opinionated and, above all, creative. Simply asking consumers which private label product is their favorite isn’t as engaging as asking consumers to send in, say, a photo of their summer grilling setup. Progressive Grocer pointed to a similar promotion offered by Bashas’-owned AJ’s, which invited customers to take a selfie showing how they enjoy the stores’ signature iced tea.
Companies are starting to get the picture. According to a study from Lithium Media, 56% of brands this year have asked their followers questions on social media, up from 40% last year. Still, the firm reports that the vast majority of brands are stuck in what it calls “broadcast mode.”
In addition to making social media more social, grocers can also create engaging one-way content through underutilized channels like YouTube. Ahold USA has garnered more than 14 million views for its “Fresh Stories” featuring short vignettes highlighting lobstermen, flower growers and other local producers for the company's grocery brands.
Initiatives like these can make retailers feel more accessible to shoppers, leading to increased levels of trust that can turn into valuable repeat customers. They also give grocers an opportunity to showcase a personality, be that humorous, thoughtful, courteous or some unique combination therein. In a saturated grocery market, this brand presence and personality can provide a key point of differentiation for companies.