By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
In today’s marketplace, shopper engagement on health and wellbeing must include social media interaction. But contrary to popular belief, the goal isn’t full dialogue on Twitter and Facebook. The varying social media platforms have different roles in shopper engagement.
Enter the social media pyramid.
As is shown, there are six levels to the social media pyramid. The sights at the top of the pyramid are where more shallow discussions take place. The bottom of the pyramid reflects the sites for focused discussions on priority topics for varying communities. Retail dietitians need to use all levels of this social media pyramid, but in differing ways. Considering the following tips for making the various levels of the social media pyramid work for you.
Level 1: Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. The ideal use of these sites is to get action from your followers – a click through to a blog article or class schedule, a posting on their own page for a contest entry, or a repost to their own site.
Level 2: News Aggregators including sites like Huffington Post, MSNBC, or e-journals. Use articles from these sites to highlight your expertise or provide commentary on a topic related to health and wellness.
Level 3: Passion Connections like Pinterest, Digg Reddit. Many consumers engage in social media around a topic they are passionate about – hot rod cars, wedding planning, or a Paleo lifestyle. The goal for retail RDs is to identify the passions most important to your target shoppers, find and engage with boards and sites they use, or start pages of your own on these sites targeted to the identified passions. Then use tools like Twitter and Facebook to drive your audience to these sites of shared passion.
Level 4: Video Connections on sites like YouTube, Vine and Vimeo. As the say goes, “a picture is worth thousand words.” This is even more true with video, which provides an impactful medium to share actual behavior change, nutrition and lifestyle education with your target shoppers. Again here, use Level 1 Social Networks to drive traffic to your videos, for a deeper level of engagement with your shoppers.
Level 5: Thought Leaders like blogs and e-newsletters allow retail dietitians to provide insight on topics that are relevant to your shoppers. Use Level 2 News Aggregators to identify trending topics and Level 1 Social Networks to drive traffic to your blogs. Gain added traction by including a key article from News Aggregators in your blog and mention the author when creating a Twitter post to drive followers to your blog.
Level 6: Virtual Communities and Private Virtual Communities include forums and bulletin boards. When an individual is diagnosed with heart disease or cancer, they seek others who have gone through the experience. A parent with a picky eater seeks advise from other parents with picky eaters. Based on what you know about your target shoppers and key topics of interest, seek out these virtual communities and gradually build your reputation as an expert on the topic. Don’t lead with sales, but gradually and subtly, introduce services that offer, as long as they are related to the community’s interests.