Social Media Marketing Case Study: Whole Foods

My world, and my business, are in a constant state of flux. Social Media is still so new, and it changes on an almost daily basis (both G+ and MailChimp recently got overhauls, have you noticed?). There are no rule books. Instead, I use the “learn from success” or “learn from failure” models, by taking note of what people are doing really way and emanating that, and staying away from what people are not doing well. Essentially, learning from other people’s experiences.

That’s why I love case studies so much. Today, I wanted to share with you one of my favorites: Whole Foods.

What’s so interesting to me about Whole Foods, which is a large organic grocery chain based out of Austin, Texas, is that they could easily be old-school about their approach to marketing. They aren’t tech-based, and they aren’t really considered to be a “young” company. And yet, they are using Social Media extremely well.

A quick audit of their social media presence includes:

Blog: The Whole Story. A really interesting and interactive blog, it is written in a breezy, easy-to-read first-person point of view. It has multiple authors, and covers a variety of topics, from recipes, to sustainable practices, to education on products that are sold in their stores. It’s content rich, and there are posts at least once day. There’s lots of graphics and images and the information is presented in a readable format. There are also links out to the rest of their social media platforms.

Facebook: With nearly 900,000 fans, in addition to posting links to their blogs, recipes and supporting local producers, they run Instigram contests, and do one of my favorite things: asking questions to build engagement.

whole foods FB

Twitter: @wholefoods. But wait! There’s more! An entire page of local Twitter accounts, and specialists accounts. In addition, they are using their Twitter feed as a customer service tool–responding to complaints and making them right. There are lots of @replies, indicating that they are not just using their Twitter feed for broadcasting, but for having conversations.

YouTube: This is my favorite thing that Whole Foods is doing. They have an awesome YouTube channel with tons of great chef videos, recipes, cooking tips, educational videos, how-tos, etc. But my favorite is their In the Market: An Organic Love Story, which is a serial about a young man looking for love in Whole Foods. It’s a brilliant piece of marketing, because it’s engaging and fun, and true to the Whole Foods brand without being “salesy.”

Pinterest: With a whopping 38 boards and nearly 800 Pins, Whole Foods is serious about Pinterest. It’s smart marketing, as their demographic skews heavily female, and so does Pinterest’s.

In addition, they have a Newsletter, a Podcast and a Flikr stream.

Whole Foods is doing social media right.

  • They have a variety of different channels to engage customers where they like to be.
  • They aren’t doing the hard sell, but providing valuable, interesting content, presented in an accessible manner.
  • They are creating that content on a regular basis.
  • They are using content marketing and education to overcome the fact that their pricing is higher than normal grocery stores, and to tap into a passionate niche market.
  • Their branding is consistent across all social networking platforms.
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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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