"Share-ability" and How to Engage with Generation Y

Have retailers ever had more competition? As if grocers weren’t having a hard enough time competing with the influx of additional brick and mortar supermarkets, now they’re faced with the growing e-commerce trend (groceries being ordered online). And the demographic most responsible for creating this dilemma? Generation Y! The millennial shoppers are changing the way brands are marketing themselves and forcing retailers to take a unique, more open-minded approach to doing business. For the shoppers this is great, more options, more competition, more specialty products, meaning retailers now offer a better shopping experience, more competitive prices, and improved customer service. For many retailers and manufacturers this means having to rebrand. An expensive reality, yet one that needs to be met.

Those damn millennials! Making our jobs harder. I’m sure that’s what a lot of brands in the industry are thinking. However, the short term headaches will result in long term prosperity for those who understand what opportunities millennial habits and social media can bring them. But how does a brand leverage these opportunities? Let’s start with the idea of “share-ability.” “share-ability” is the measure of likeliness that a shopper or loyal customer of yours will share the shopping experience their having or the brand they’re enjoying. How does this help your brand? It’s the same concept that word-of-mouth works on, but the difference is that word of mouth only reaches a small circle of close friends, family, and co-workers and social media sharing is likely to reach hundreds, thousands, or if you’re lucky millions of unique viewers. And that kind of marketing is not only priceless, its free.

I bang my head on my desk when I do research on companies that just don’t get it. I view their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and its endless posts that demonstrate the same type of image, video, or content. They think just merely having a social presence is going to help them leverage the premise of social selling or what I like to call “share-ability.” Instead brands should leverage interesting campaigns that spend less time showcasing advertising materials and more time showing worth while relatable items.

Let’s use Vita Coco as an example. Clearly a widely recognizable brand. But their content is lacking. They have 35K followers on Instagram and can’t even break 1000 likes on a photo. I have had photos of mine reach 4000 + because they were shared by others. Instead of Vita Coco leveraging travel photographers to create an amazing beach campaign or partnering with Instagram leaders to create incredible shareable content they’ve decided to instead stick with old school marketing techniques. BAD MOVE. Successful social media marketing is coming from brands that don’t always make their brand the vocal point of their campaign. Take Stumptown Coffee as an example. They leverage a more artistic approach, showcasing a variety of methods in which their coffee is apart of the picture but not the focus. They have an impressive 169K followers and average close to 4K likes per photo. Maybe not as impressive of some of these travel photographers  or celebrities getting close to 1 Million per post but still a great reach.

Let’s get back to grocery retailers, what can you do to increase your “share-ability?” Figure out who your customers are, and define what you can do to create a shareable experience. Is it a wine and cheese tasting? Is it holding a unique event or fundraiser? Letting your shoppers drink beer or wine while they shop? Offering unique items? Running exclusive contests? I’m just scratching the service. Isn’t that what you pay your marketing teams to do? Seems like only a select group of retailers are doing any of this. Most of them aren’t even expending much time or resources on social media. But the only way you’re going to successfully market to Generation Y or any of the generations to come is by leveraging it, and especially gauging what makes for a “shareable” experience.