Food is an important business. Grocery consumers care now, more than ever, about what they are putting into their bodies and those of their spouses, children, and even their pets. We’ve seen this trend through the growth of the organic category, ethically sourced foods, clean and clear labeling, and more. Therefore, consumer trust is big business not just for grocery food brands, but also for grocery retailers.

How can we build this trust in an increasingly competitive marketplace? Last Friday, I attended the monthly Social Media Club breakfast, where the National Weather Service in Kansas City (@NWSKansasCity) suggested that social media is a great place to start.

The @NWSKansasCity must be seen as a trusted organization for people to care about the information they are sharing. This is true for local grocers, as well. Advertising circulars can boast the lowest prices in town, but customers must trust that their local grocer will carry quality products at these prices and employ a staff that cares about the consumers’ needs and those of their community. Social media is another avenue to build that trust.

“When you love what you do and are dedicated to your community, people will start to trust you,” noted Dan Hawblitzel, Friday’s speaker who is a senior meteorologist at the @NWSKansasCity and also is in charge of its social media program.

In order to connect with your audience on social media, Hawblitzel recommends sharing:

  1. Your passion (Luckily for grocers, food is a passion of many on social media.)
  2. Your expertise (What’s the difference between “best buy” and “sell buy”? How does someone cook this particular cut of meat? How do I shop for a specific food allergy? Tell your audience!)
  3. Your human side – speak human (When you humanize your brand, you build trust.)

So you may be thinking, “Our stores have social media accounts for customer service, to share important information (like your ad), or to respond to a crisis.” However, this isn’t enough. Social media needs to be maintained regularly, even during slow times. As Hawblitzel pointed out, the more you interact with the general public on social media, the more you learn about what they want to know. This builds a deeper relationship with them and improves your content.

Luckily for grocers, every day is a food holiday and grocery shopping is a regular part of life for consumers – we all have to eat! Therefore, we have some built in content for slow days. But how does the @NWSKansasCity turn a faceless government organization into a top trending topic? They connect with the community. A great example is when the organization shared a radar picture of the celebratory fireworks going off after the Royals won their most recent World Series. Not only was this interesting and relevant community content, it also exposed the public to the @NWSKansasCity’s technology. As a result six million people were reached! Moral of the story: when you figure out how to tie your resources and what you do to the community and its events, the results are big.

All of this time an organization spends connecting with its community and building trust online comes in handy when it has to deal with negativity. There’s bound to be a customer who isn’t satisfied with a product or service, or in the @NWSKansasCity’s instance, a forecast bust. Hawblitzel’s advice during negative times like this: double down on your values. Don’t lose your temper; instead, share what you stand for and let your community who trusts you back you up.

By continuing to engage during quiet times (or quiet weather in the @NWSKansas City’s case) you connect with your audience on a personal level and build trust. This can be accomplished with creativity, civic pride, a little humor and showcasing your human side.

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About Cara

Why do I work at AWG? “I work with an amazing team that values creativity and innovation. I enjoy tackling new opportunities and challenges each day that, of course, always involve food!” -Cara

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