A few years ago, I started prioritizing our store’s use of social media. Running an independent grocery store feels like a constant uphill battle, and social media was something I could do to help our store. I knew it would make a difference, so I started a homegrown social media campaign, sharing what I thought our shoppers would want to see: daily deals, family recipes using food found in the store, and funny videos.
Our Facebook page has grown to over 4,100 followers, with each organic post receiving between 40 and 80 reactions. We don’t boost every post, but I’ll spend about $50 to boost a post to promote a 3-day sale or $5 to promote a daily deal. We spend about $200-500 a month on boosted Facebook posts.
I’ve learned some best practices over the years to ensure our posts are good quality and engage our shoppers. For example, good photos are important for our posts. My daughter is a photographer, so when she is in town I will give her assignments to shoot photos of products in the store to ensure I have a good catalog for future posts as well. She has also taught me some good techniques that I can use with my iPhone, like using portrait mode and lighting techniques. I also use an app to make the photos and ads look more professional and current.
Collaborating with our employees always results in high-performing posts as well. Kenneth, a team member in our meat market, is happy to film our videos in costume. When we want to promote our meat bundles or other specials in the meat market, Kenneth will wear a dinosaur costume, chicken costume, pig costume—you name it—to get a laugh from our followers.
Our cashier Judy is beloved by our customers, and any time I want to tell our followers about a new product, like a new coffee we’re carrying, I’ll take a picture of Judy with the product. Our customers love Judy so much that they’ll like and share the photos more than if I had just posted the coffee, so she helps us promote products just by being herself!
WHY IT WORKS
For Our Shoppers
Savings alerts. Many of our shoppers follow our Facebook posts to find out what daily deal we are offering.
Family recipes. Often, I will buy products from the store and cook them at home using a family recipe. I take photos and post the recipe on our Facebook page, sharing ideas for our shoppers to use ingredients from our store.
For Our Store
Boosts sales. When we took a break from posting the daily deals to see if anyone would notice, our sales declined. Since resuming posts, our sales returned to normal.
Engages shoppers. If I’m sick and don’t post, I receive many messages asking for the daily deals. Our shoppers look forward to reading the daily deals and want that information every day!
Boosts store awareness. Our store is in a small town of 1,800 people, so occasionally we will boost posts to people 30 miles around our location. Recently while talking to someone at a hardware store 20 miles away, they mentioned they have seen our posts and have been wanting to visit the store because of our great prices. Thanks to the boosted posts and targeting options, we have increased our store awareness in nearby towns.
Spend a little time on social media. You can do it from anywhere with a wifi signal, and it makes a big impact. Carve out a little time in your day to schedule tomorrow’s post. I usually do it after 10:00 p.m. when everyone is in bed.
Decide what information you’ll post, and be consistent. Once our followers got used to seeing our daily deals on Facebook, they noticed when we wouldn’t share and our sales declined. Now we always keep up on those posts.
Have fun and be different. Our posts are a little quirky, like our videos with Kenneth in costume, and we try to stand out to get our followers’ attention.
Use an app to make your photos look professional. We use Over, which lets me add graphics to my photos and keeps us up-to-date on design trends.
Schedule your posts for prime viewing. I make sure to schedule the posts to be the first thing people see when they wake up and check their feeds, around 6:00-7:00 a.m.
Enlist family for help. Since my daughter is a photographer, she gave me tips for taking great photos with an iPhone.
Set your budget for an ad but check it throughout the day. Often I will set a budget of $50 for a boosted post. Facebook will get it in front of a lot of people early on, and then slow down, so if I check the ad later in the day, I can pause it so I don’t spend the full $50 but it still reaches a lot of people.
Highlight your local ties. Compliment your local shoppers and share little things about the town. Wish your local teams good luck for the upcoming game, or congratulate them when they win a championship. Show your community that you are hometown proud.