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    EXPERT COLUMN: 6 Social Media Tips for Grocers

    This low-cost marketing strategy offers tremendous reach

    Whether you're an independent grocer or you work as part of a national chain, it's important to understand the many benefits that a solid social media presence can provide. As the "go to" strategy for marketing these days, it's low-cost and offers tremendous reach to business owners and managers. To take full advantage of it, however, you have to approach it wisely. Simply opening a Facebook or Twitter account just won't suffice anymore. Here are a few tips on how to maximize social media marketing for your grocery business:

    1. Post High-quality Content

    Your number one best bet is to post high-quality content. Get to the point quickly, hook your readers in, and offer up ideas they can immediately implement in their daily lives. Post recipes using your store's ingredients and publicize your top weekly discounts, including the days you double the value of your grocery store coupons. Highlight any additional benefits your store may offer, like locally grown produce, fresh-baked goods or an organic foods section.

    2. Track Your Results and Adjust Your Strategy as Necessary

    Use software like HootSuite to follow your traffic. Believe it or not, a Twitter account may work well for your competitor but may not be right for you. Analyze where your readers are coming from and adjust your strategy as necessary going forward.

    3. Check Out the New Kids on the Block

    Don't just limit yourself to Twitter and Facebook. Newer players like Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus are viable platforms to market your business. Investigate each of them, get your feet wet, and see if any of these newcomers can provide better results.

    4. Make the Experience Interactive

    Informative articles make for great content, but don't limit yourself to just that. Consider using polls and surveys to create some buzz. Poll your readers on their thoughts about generics, or offer up a gift car via raffle. Social media followers love freebies, and they don't have to be outlandish to garner attention - a simple $5 gift card can generate excellent interest.

    5. Respond to Your Audience

    No matter where you market on social media, it's important to respond to each and every comment, even if you're simply thanking your readers for taking the time to write. By responding to all comments, your followers are going to feel more appreciated and your brand loyalty is going to improve significantly.

    6. Consider Bringing in a Social Media Expert

    It's important to know when you're in over your head. Developing an effective social media strategy requires talent and expertise, and if you're not well-versed in that realm, consider bringing on an expert who is. Just be sure to interview effectively, as there are plenty of "wanna-bes" in that field. A great place to look is the Global Social Media Managers Association website.

    There is such a thing as over-doing it. Social media users don't like being spammed, so even if you come up with five or six great ideas for tweets, reserve a few of them for later on. Flooding your pages with multiple posts each day is a great way to lose followers and damage your online brand. Social media is an excellent marketing strategy, but only when approached prudently.

    What kind of social media presence does your company currently have?

    David Bakke is a social media strategist and contributor for the popular finance and business resource, Money Crashers.
     

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