Food for Thought…

grocery-store I love to eat; but not only do I love to eat, I also love to shop for food. Every time someone calls me I’m either in the grocery store, on my way to the grocery store or on my way home from the grocery store. So when I received the assignment to identify brands that were utilizing social media, my thoughts immediately turned to food and more importantly, to the stores in which I purchase this food.

Whole Foods Market is an example of a company that is using social media well. Whole Foods has had a social media presence since 2005 when it established its CEO Blog, and the company is constantly working to make sure that it is communicating honestly and effectively with its customers.

 In 2008, Whole Foods reorganized their online presence in order to project a better sense of who they were and to communicate directly with their customers. At present Whole Foods uses, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. Based on Twitterholic rankings Whole Foods is rated #34 overall with over 780,000 followers.

 According to Marla Erwin, one of two Whole Foods tweeters, “Twitter is vital for us as it gives a clear and immediate picture of what our customers are thinking, and gives us a chance to respond more directly than any other venue. Its immediacy is also ideal for quick promotions such as walk-in specials and our “Tweet of the Day.”

 Whole Foods’ Social Media Presence

Blogs and Podcasts

Safeway on the other hand is a retailer that has yet to fully embrace social media. Safeway does have a blog which is written by a Safeway employee named Kate and it’s about, “family, food, value and fun.” However, this blog is the extent of Safeway’s social media strategy. Safeway does not have a twitter account and I was hard pressed to find an official Safeway presence on Facebook or YouTube.

 Safeway’s Social Media Presence

Blogs and Podcasts

In terms of sales, Safeway has achieved success recently through playing by Whole Foods’ rules, offering fresher produce, quality prepared foods and better service. However, if Safeway really wants to gain the loyalty of its customers it must begin to fully engage them in a meaningful two-way conversation in the social media sphere. This means taking a hint from Whole Foods once again and turning up the heat when it comes to customer outreach.


One Response to Food for Thought…

  1. Good comparison and choice to highlight Whole Foods -they are doing many things right. You should be careful about anticipating negative comments, though … in this case in relation to the Whole Foods CEO’s issue with the message board posts and his hiatus from blogging for some time while the legal issues around that were getting sorted. It would be worthwhile to mention it in your post and have a point of view about whether you felt that impacted their credibility or if you feel they have gotten over it. The Safeway example was good, but I would also have liked to see your thoughts about having an individual mom blogging versus the CEO. Is the mom more authentic or not necessarily? (3)

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