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What's Behind Whole Foods Market's Social Media Strategy


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Presented at Natural Products Expo East, Baltimore, MD.
September 20, 2012

Whole Foods is using social media to engage its customers across the nation in conversations about food.

With over 300 Twitter accounts and 250 local-store Facebook accounts, Whole Foods Market has created an online community for useful exchanges between shoppers and their grocers. Beyond those accounts, Whole Foods' blog, online newsletter, mobile apps and flickr account all contribute to their booming online voice.

Published in: Business, Technology
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What's Behind Whole Foods Market's Social Media Strategy

  2. 2. Ryan Amirault Digital Marketing Manager Whole Foods Market Boulder, CO & Austin, TX@RyanAmirault@WholeFoods#ExpoSocial
  3. 3. Before we get started... EVERYONE PLEASE STAND UP@RyanAmirault@WholeFoods#ExpoSocial
  4. 4. In the last 24 hours...Sit DOWN if you did not update your Facebook status @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  5. 5. In the last 24 hours...Sit DOWN if you did not send a Tweet or check your stream @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  6. 6. In the last 24 hours...Sit DOWN if you did not check into Expo East on Foursquare @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  7. 7. In the last 24 hours...Sit DOWN if you did not share a photo on Instagram @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  8. 8. In the last 24 hours...Sit DOWN if you did not pin something on Pinterest @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  9. 9. In the last 24 hours...Sit DOWN if you did not use Yelp to find something to eat @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  10. 10. In the last 24 hours...Sit DOWN if you did not post a photo on Foodspotting @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  11. 11. In the last 24 hours...Sit DOWN if you did not +1 something on Google+ @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  12. 12. Social Media @ Whole Foods Market- Non-traditional marketingapproach- Unique culture & values- 330+ U.S. Stores and now inCanada & UK. Divided among 12decentralized regions.- Each store has a dedicatedmarketing and community relationsprofessional.- Regional marketing teams & globalteam in Austin, TX provide support @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  13. 13. Social Media @ Whole Foods Market @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  14. 14. Social Media @ Whole Foods MarketMost common question... - How does Whole Foods Market manage so many accounts? - Short Answer: hire the right people, be efficient, utilize the right technology, educate. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  15. 15. Social Media @ Whole Foods Market“The secret to Whole Foods Market’s success in socialmedia is that we don’t social media. We see beingsocial as core to who we are as a company. We wantour stores to be an integral part of the communitiesthey serve. Our social media efforts are merely adigital extension of the conversation we seek to havewith our customers and our partners every day.” @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  16. 16. Social Media Today- 3 in 4 minutes on social networking sites are spent on Facebook- Nearly 1 in 5 minutes online is spent on social networks today- 1 in 7 minutes online are spent on Facebook- Across all regions of the world, women are more social-82.4% of the world’s online population use social networksSource: Comscore @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  17. 17. Social Media Today- 40% of social media users view their social networks fromsmartphones- Internet users over age 55 are the most growing segment ofsocial media users- 53% of active adult social networkers follow a brandSource: Nielsen’s state of social media Q3/2011 @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  18. 18. What We’ll Cover- General Social Media Strategy - Step by Step- Case Study: Facebook Offers- Other uses for social media @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  19. 19. But First...- If you think of your social network as $$, youwill not succeed.- Don’t just DO social for your brand, BEsocial.-Quality over quantity when growing yoursocial network, ALWAYS.- Just like any relationship, social media takestime and dedication. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  20. 20. Social Media StrategyStep by Step Process: 1. Get the rest of the company involved. 2. Define your goals. 3. Determine your channels. 4. Listen & understand your audience. 5. Measurement & analytics. 6. Content for success. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  21. 21. Social Media Strategy - Step 1Get the rest of the company involved... - Social media cannot just live in marketing or PR - never in isolation - Spend time with all potential stakeholders. - Integrate social into other areas of the company. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  22. 22. Social Media Strategy - Step 2Define your goals... - Generate new leads? - Signups to an e-newsletter? - Sales on your e-commerce site? - Fewer calls to customer service? - Customer satisfaction? - Brand awareness? @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  23. 23. Social Media Strategy - Step 2 Define your goals...Better customer engagement 78%Revenue generation 51%Better customer experience 47%Increased thought leadership 41% 14% Operational efficiency 10% Other @RyanAmirault Source: “State of Social Media Marketing” 9/7/12 @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  24. 24. Social Media Strategy - Step 3Determine your channels... - What sort of time and resources can you dedicate? - Align channels with your brand @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  25. 25. Social Media Strategy - Step 3Don’t believe me... @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  26. 26. Social Media Strategy - Step 4Listen and understand your audience... - Before jumping into the conversation, first listen! - Consider a social media dashboard - Setup keyword searches: brand names, product names, executive names, competitors, etc. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  27. 27. Social Media Strategy - Step 5Measurement & Analytics - If you’re not measuring yet, start now. Establish a baseline. - Engagement: consider weighting engagement rates to determine a “score”. Facebook example: Shares (50%), Likes (10%), Comments (40%) @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  28. 28. Social Media Strategy - Step 5Sales Impact - Clicks: link shortener tools, google analytics, decorated links. - Consider A/B Testing - Correlate engagement rates to sales - Report results, show your successes and areas to improve. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  29. 29. Social Media Strategy - Step 6Content is King! Actually NO it’s not!... - Relevant content is KING! - Edgerank - Keep it FRESH & add value - Photos of events - Short videos of products and your people. Personify your company - The people behind a product is what makes your brand @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  30. 30. Social Media Strategy - Step 6What time to post - Posts published outside of normal business hours have 20% higher engagement rates. - Engagement rates on Thursday and Friday are 18% higher than any other day. - Food & beverage brands: look to Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday as anchors for publishing. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  31. 31. Social Media Strategy - Step 6Other Content Tips - The 80/20 rule - Photos receive 40% greater engagement than text only posts. - Short and sweet Facebook posts. - Consider not using URL shorteners on Facebook, drastically reduces engagement. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  32. 32. Social Media Strategy - Case StudyFacebook Offers - Facebook Offers: newly relaunched, integrated into mobile apps. (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc) - Facebook now integrated into iOS 6 and the latest update of OS X Mountain Lion. - Recent spike in the number of companies hosting offers @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  33. 33. Social Media Strategy - Case StudyFacebook Offers - $5 off any purchase of $25 or more. - Promoted exclusively on Facebook. - Offer only available for 5 hours. - Redemption period 6 days. New today (9/20/12): $5 per offer, can add unique bar codes or promo numbers to offer for improved tracking @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  34. 34. Social Media Strategy - Case StudyFacebook Offers The Result: - ~1,200 redemptions across 37 stores - Significant increase in average basket size (average total receipt $) - Total post views: 708,815 - Total shares: 348 @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  35. 35. Other Uses for Social Media- Information gathering; an inexpensiveway to capture consumer insights- Drive product trial- Event promotion- New Product Launches- Keep your brand top of mind- Communicate with your customers attheir convenience@RyanAmirault@WholeFoods#ExpoSocial
  36. 36. Tactics - Top 5Tactics that work (for us anyway)! 1. Consistent and relevant content. 2. Allow 3 hours between Facebook posts and 1 hour between Tweets. 3. Tread lightly with automation. 4. Be Honest, Be Humble, Be Helpful, Be Human. 5. Add character to your post’s language. @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  37. 37. Key Takeaways- Integrate social media into all aspects of yourcompany- Determine your goals and communicate them- Report on your results to key stakeholders- Set clear expectations & consistency with yourcustomers- Is your content shareable?- Don’t be afraid to try something new and test- Have fun! @RyanAmirault @WholeFoods #ExpoSocial
  38. 38. Q &A Let’s connect: @RyanAmirault