The question of whether social media can lead to sales is as old as social media itself. What we are witnessing recently is a rise in social commerce, where both elements coexist harmoniously, and companies can measure the return on investment (ROI) for their time and money spent on social media. A recent online study conducted by General Mills, based in Minneapolis, surveyed approximately 360 convenience store (c-store) shoppers aged 18-64. C-stores lagged behind in connecting with consumers through texts, alerts, emails, or social media deals. It's no longer sufficient to cultivate loyalty and drive traffic solely through a great app or email program. Utilizing a social media marketing strategy to raise awareness and actively market your services or products is crucial for engaging with customers through social media channels.
Key findings in this study include:
- C-stores reported that 30% of shoppers visit their websites, while restaurants see a higher rate of 58%.
- C-stores have an average email engagement rate of 24% among shoppers, compared to 44% for local drug stores.
- Texts and apps from c-stores elicit responses from about 13% of customers, whereas other retail organizations receive 20% or more in active engagement.
If social media is everyone's responsibility in retail, your managers and employees require concrete actions to get started. Implement an 18-minute plan to help them acquire the necessary skills. Ideally, if you work for a large brand with local stores, you should create dashboards for each location using your social relationship platform. Additionally, you should offer training for managers and educate them about your social media policy, security measures, and industry best practices. This process includes downloading social media platforms such as Hootsuite and Hootlet, as well as creating accounts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogger, Instagram, and any other social media platforms you are comfortable using.
Here's a breakdown of the plan:
(4 Minutes): Local Listening
- Download Hootsuite.com and create a new search stream using keywords you want to monitor. The goal is to find people discussing things on social media related to your store's locations. This way, your store can reach out, assist, and encourage them to visit.
(6 Minutes): Search and Share
- Surprise and delight customers by providing reminders and special deals. Download Hootsuite.com and the Hootlet.com extension. You can use Google Maps to find a specific location and click on "tweets near here" to view local tweets, which can be filtered by distance. Identify happy customers and offer them special deals.
(6 Minutes): Be Likable and Friendly
- Provide pre-approved social media content, images, and national campaigns to thousands of frontline employees. This helps extend the reach of your branded content and engage with customers. Promote social contests and launch Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter campaigns for new products or services. Consider personal outreach through your social media accounts on a local level to amplify promotions.
(2 Minutes): Wrap-Up
- Within Hootsuite, you can also monitor your competitors. Create a new stream in Hootsuite to track your competitors' @username. This will show you what others are saying to your competitor and the keywords they are using to attract attention. Analyzing your competitors can help you identify customer questions they may be neglecting to answer and avoid making the same mistakes. Additionally, look for unusual activity or spikes in volume and use real-time data for competitor benchmarking. Utilize your social media tools to engage customers and drive sales further.
Here are the top 5 reasons cited by shoppers for connecting with a c-store:
- Receiving coupons: 67%
- Finding out about sales or special deals: 62%
- Updates on new products or offerings: 55%
- Seeing what products are offered: 48%
- Locating the nearest store: 47%