It’s no secret that convenience retailers need to be on social media. After all, it's one of the most effective ways to reach a wide swath of consumers. From Facebook to TikTok, every generation has its platform preference.
No matter the platform, though, customers who engage with brands via social media are loyal: 57 percent of consumers spend more with brands they follow online. And if they do have a bad interaction with your brand, 40 percent of the time they are more willing to give your brand a second chance than if they didn't follow you.
While retailers are aware that they need to be on social media, most don't have a specific strategy in terms of content production. At Bounteous, we've partnered with Wawa — one of the largest and most beloved convenience retailers in the United States — to help connect with customers on social media and grow their following from zero to 2.6 million followers and 2.5 million monthly engagements. We've done this by leveraging three unique kinds of content.
Relatable content acknowledges that you understand the consumer experience. It should be something with which they can identify, whether purely entertaining or something more profound that pulls on the heartstrings.
Often, relatable content is made from the point of view of the consumer. In other words, what they are experiencing when they come into your store and what matters to them. It could be something as simple as being hungry, thirsty or needing fuel — or something more intrinsic, like the feeling you get when you are greeted by name by your favorite cashier.
Relatable content should be bite-sized, snackable and immediately identifiable as something to which customers can relate. For example, Wawa created a TikTok video about moving to an area without a Wawa store that resonated deeply with the brand's loyal fans. People tagged friends who they used to go on "Wawa Runs" with, and shared touching conversations in the comments section.
Social media is all about being a conduit for those kinds of connections.
Educational content is anything that informs consumers of what's happening in your store, or what products and services are available. It's not a direct pitch, but rather something that lets customers know what they can expect when they come to your store in a relatable way.
Did a new menu item come out? Does your business have strong sustainability practices? Do you give back to the community and if so, how?
One of Wawa's most successful TikTok campaigns featured the convenience retailer's line of zodiac-themed specialty drinks. Not only was it fun (people love to rep for their own astrological sign), but it also educated customers about the beverage menu and was one of the brand's all-time most successful campaigns.
Incentives & Promotions
A widely used social media marketing tactic is to offer specials specific to certain platforms. This could be a sale, a discount, a promotional item or period or a memorable experience delivered in a community-driven way.
One strategy is incentivizing loyalty, such as signing up for a rewards app or loyalty program or following the brand on its social channels. For example, a post that said "If this tweet gets 5,000 likes, we will give everyone 10 percent off coupons" would fall under incentives and promotions. It's not so much about the bottom line as it is about bringing everyone together.
Incentives and promotions are not necessarily discounts. Instead, they are anything that encourages followers to engage with you. It might come packaged as sales or discounts, but also could be sweepstakes, sales or special giveaways that only happen on social media.
When it comes to social media, understanding the relationship between your brand and consumers is the key to creative success. With these three pillars of social media content and a bit of imagination, brands can make meaningful connections with their fans and build brand loyalty.
Ariel Norwood is senior director of marketing engagement at Bounteous. Norwood has a 14-year track record of creating and scaling social media teams for Fortune 500 companies, from foodservice and QSR to CPG and finance. At Bounteous, she leads a team of award-winning social media experts who drive success for some of the world’s most beloved brands.
Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.