Whether or not you agree with his politics, Trump is correct in identifying social media is redefining our world. You may have heard recently him saying, “My use of social media is not Presidential - it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL.” If you think about it, this attitude applies to the way social media should be commanded for use in modern c-stores.
Millions of consumers understand how to engage and communicate in c-store social media conversations. Your brand needs to be proactive in using social media spaces to create meaningful, 2-way connections with your target audience. A clear majority of c-stores still treat social media as an afterthought. However, its importance and value has grown to the very top of the communications hierarchy in today’s retail culture. C-stores need to look at the before, during and after of consumers’ shopping behavior. People are now combining their online and offline shopping activities by hopping between channels and devices throughout their browsing and buying journeys. To improve the customer experience, c-stores need to create a shopping story. (Can you give an example of a shopping story? Will a standard reader of this article know that means?) From a marketing perspective, c-stores need to clearly identify target customers and their preferred social channels. CSNews’ research shows c-stores aren’t using social media as a PRIMARY driver for generating increased customer experience. They also found that 75% of c-stores only use Facebook as their core strategy for image building on social media. Yet, respondents acknowledge that they don’t know or understood if they are getting any benefit from their efforts. CSNews, Editorial Director Don Longo says, "Millennials are the largest demographic visiting convenience stores today and they are an important target audience for retailers, from reshaping the definition of snacking to redefining the role of technology in the shopping experience, they are driving change in the c-store channel, as well as opening up new opportunities." CAF offers the following 10 guidelines to help increase your chances for social media success:
- Millennials often use slang or urbanomics in their communications. Use appropriate language to relate your promotions towards their needs? Desires?
- Use multiple social media channels. Target consumers use Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, and YouTube. Young professionals also use LinkedIn.
- Another key to success is damage control. Be aware that in the social media universe you can receive negative responses just as much as positive. Be ready to respond to achieve better results.
- Look towards instant gratification. Promote many smaller incentives verses one large prize during promotional marketing efforts.
- C-stores most common purchases are focused around beverages. Promote beverage specials individually or in combination with food items to draw in more customer traffic.
- Loyalty programs exist to benefit your customers. Try giving leverage points when customers register and additional points for purchases to keep them coming back. Remember they look for “What’s in it for me?”
- Empower your employees to be social media brand advocates. Employee engagement is one of the best ways to get your social message spread everywhere.
- Attract the Gamers. Create online games that not only provide store based prizes but also encourage players to return to the site repeatedly to win more prizes.
- Nearly 80% of time spent on social media by consumers is spent on mobile devices. When you’re sharing content on social media — whether that’s by clicking, purchasing, or sharing — every call to action (CTA) for the consumer must be mobile ready!
- Define your ROI. Social media gives you tons of data, but you should decide what user actions are most important to you. Determine what they are and track them before your next campaign.
References: CSNews.com, NACS.com, CPSdailynews.com