Don't be fooled by their light-hearted tweets: South African retailer Woolworths knows that getting social media right is serious business.
"We put the customer first and then we've established our online strategy around that," says Nikki Cockroft, Group Head of Woolworths' online operations.
“Socialbakers Analytics have helped to show us which social interactions drive traffic to our website and which don't. That's incredibly useful.”
Digital Editor: Content Strategy & Social Media
Woolworths is a retail leader operating in Africa, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania, with a network of over 400 shops selling home wares, food and apparel as well as other items and services. With such a diverse range of goods and a large regional audience, it's pivotal that Woolworths' team understands its customers.
"Data is our driver here," says Cockroft. "Who is our customer? What do they want? Where do they want to be met? And that is 99 percent of our focus. Everything else we develop to meet that need."
What Cockroft has found is that Woolworths' typical customer is not only brand-savvy, but also technologically up-to-date. "Technology has meant that (customers) are more informed; they're empowered," Cockroft says.
The company's customer outreach includes strategically crafting engagement across several social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, using Socialbakers Builder and Analytics.
"Our audiences differ from channel to channel," says Ayesha Yon, a social media analyst for Woolworths. "Socialbakers helps us tailor targeted content for each."
With Socialbakers tools, the Woolworths team can drive online engagement while also offering increased convenience and better customer support. "We’re meeting the customer—any time, anywhere—and offering them a combination of products and services that suits them at that particular time in the day," Cockroft says. "We finish when the customer is satisfied."
As well as helping with outreach, Socialbakers tools also assist Woolworths team leaders in managing internal strategy and expectations. "Socialbakers (tools are) really valuable for us in providing stats and analysis we can feed back into the business," says Sam Wilson, Woolworths' Digital Editor. "You need to analyze, you need to benchmark, and then you can work out how you're going to react and make business decisions accordingly," she says.
After all, social media outreach is vital for the success of the business as a whole, not only its online operations. "We don't see it as simply an online store. We see online as a way of using technology to resolve and innovate around traditional in-store problems or inconveniences," Cockroft says.
- First Woolworths store in South Africa: Cape Town, 1931
- Products sold: Homeware, clothing, grocery items and more
- Employees: More than 18,500
- Social media platforms used: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Google+
- Areas in which Woolworth Holdings is active: South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Nambia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mauritius, Dubai, Adu Dhabi, Australia (Country Road, Trenery, Witchery and Mimco), New Zealand, Tasmania
- Currently acquiring David Jones in Australia, additional 38 stores
- Number of retail stores: Almost 1000
- Named for, but isn't a part of: The F.W. Woolworths Company in the United States
Woolworths primary challenge is to learn about their consumers - who they are, what they want, how they want to engage with social media, when they want to have that contact. Then, it is essential for them to differentiate between those answers for different social media platforms. How are audiences different on each platform, and where do they want to be met? And, beyond the question of figuring out their audience, how can the Woolworths social marketing team successfully report back to upper management and show them their progress?
Socialbakers Analytics allows Wilson and her social marketing team to meet their audiences in the places they want to be met, when they want to be met. While the sense of humor is all theirs, finding out that it works, thanks to in-depth metric analyses provided by Socialbakers, is why the humorous tweets keep coming. Analytics enables Woolworths to tailor their content to each channel. Meanwhile, by using Socialbakers Builder, Cockroft and the Woolworths online team are able to post content across each of their active networks, and maintain a constant dialogue with fans everywhere.
- Provides competitive data that contextualizes Woolworths' performance
- Gives an individual portrait of fans on each network
- Reveals ideal posting times and best-performing content
- Builder enables a small team to perform like a huge team
- Makes reporting easy, and effective; keeps the online team aligned with each department