Brands are all over social media, but not all of them are doing it right. Simply liking a brand in real life doesn’t necessarily mean that customers will “like” it on Facebook. There are certain criteria that lead people to follow a brand, not least of all the answer to the question, “What’s in it for me?” If spam is the answer, they’ll quickly unfollow.
Whole Foods is one of those brands that are doing it right. So right, in fact, that social media experts often use the health market’s strategy as a benchmark in social media marketing. Even I’m following Whole Foods. Here’s why:
Sales! Coupons! Events!
Truth be told: I don’t even shop at Whole Foods on a regular basis. I usually only shop there when in need of an ingredient that I can’t find anywhere else and when there’s a big sale, which I hear about through Whole Foods’ Twitter and Facebook accounts. When Twitter told me about the sale on organic strawberries, I was there – right after I retweeted the message to all of my own followers and then called my sister to let her know. Then, I bought two pounds of strawberries, in addition to eggs, ham shanks and a six-pack of beer.
Whole Foods is great at getting its followers into stores by letting them know about big sales and events. People follow brands on social media sites to be in-the-know, and to receive deals and discounts that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Real Customer Service
Being able to connect with customers through social media provides a huge opportunity to improve customer service. Not only does Whole Foods have social media accounts for its headquarters in Austin, but it also has Twitter and Facebook accounts for each of its local stores, as well as for its different departments such as specialty wine and cheese. These local accounts allow Whole Foods to take a more targeted marketing approach, reaching out to local customers and answering specific questions.
Holy crap. @WholeFoods charged me for 23 lemons when I only bought 2. $18 extra on my bill!!— Toya(@TheLimerickLane) May 6, 2012
@WholeFoods Yep. They were great!!!— Toya(@TheLimerickLane) May 7, 2012
Keeping Customers Educated and Aware
When you take a look at the Whole Foods Twitter page, it isn’t just a long stream of links to sales and products. In between the @replies to individual followers’ questions, there are links to healthy recipes, articles about sustainable food, retweets from food bloggers. On Pinterest, the market’s boards include pins for recipes, kitchens, garden tips, sustainable living, books, wines, vegan lifestyles and more. The Whole Foods blog, The Whole Story, keeps customers interested and updated on current food industry news. These efforts help to build on the market’s brand of a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Social media offers a great way to expand upon a company’s message; for example, a Lombard dentist specializing in cosmetic dentistry might use his blog to discuss the benefits of dental implants, while a safety gloves manufacturer could share the benefits of fingerless knit gloves.
What brands do you follow on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – and why?