Community Marketing via Social Media
What Panera Bread and Whole Foods Have in Common
Take a look at your favorite retail chain and visit that retailer's Facebook page. If you use the Facebook search box, you may find that your retailer has scores of Facebook pages. The same goes for their other social media platforms. If you discover that your retailer uses one platform in multiple ways, chances are that your favorite national chain is at the top of its class.
Check out Panera Bread or Whole Foods. They both have corporate Facebook pages, but you will find that they also have community Facebook pages. What's the idea of duplicating efforts?
The missions are entirely different. While the corporate Facebook page introduces the brand, the community Facebook page interacts with the community it serves -- creating a bond.
Local social media is more personal and inviting. The administrators announce their store's upcoming events and updates, connects with other community groups, other businesses, local government, and customers.
In social media, the more you connect, the greater your presence becomes. That is smart marketing. While some advertising may be necessary, much of the growth can still be gained organically if the administrators know what to post.
The Whole Foods in Columbia, Maryland, which opened in 2014, sponsors special events on a regular basis at its store. Some events are geared towards children, while others are family-oriented, and others are about nutrition and food choices. The posts are compelling and they get shared by local media and customers. Again, that's smart marketing.
Many regional companies tend to connect with retailers that augment or complement their mission. When a landscaper shares a deck builder's post, there is no conflict as long as the landscaper does not build decks and the deck builder does not perform landscaping. The two services complement each other. By cross-sharing posts they help each other to gain recognition in the community and hopefully cause increases in respective sales.
Another route that has proven successful is that of sharing community events of those groups who are likely to support your business. If a playground equipment retailer supports the local elementary schools by posting the events and successes of the schools, those active parents who see the posts will remember who sells playground equipment. When a parent with expendable income decides to buy a play set for the backyard, guess where they will shop first.
Community marketing is smart marketing. The use of social media to meet the local marketing needs is one very powerful tool that is low-cost, effective, and efficient. Just remember to create posts that are compelling so that you can gain the interest of surfers. Also, when re-posting material of other entities, choose those posts that are compelling. You should desire to always captivate your intended audience. Refrain from posting items that are uninteresting or boring. You do not want to lose your audience.