Amanda Rubizhevsky, MPH
This week, RDBA caught up with Leah McGrath, Corporate Dietitian at Ingles Market based in Black Mountain, near Asheville, North Carolina. She is well versed in social media, and shared some of her tips and advice on how to get started and how to approach social media as a retail dietitian. Here are her tweeting tips:
How are you using social media? I do many things with my social media accounts, including: promoting in-store events, providing nutrition tips and better-for-you product suggestions to shoppers. I run our supermarket's Facebook and Twitter pages and also have my own (@InglesDietitian for work and @LeahMcGrathRD for personal and @BuildupRDNs to promote dietitians). I use #RDtip for food/nutrition tips, #supermarketTip for shopping tips and also #stand4science to promote science based nutrition messages. I also use #newitem to alert customers to new items in store to get their reactions.
RDBA note: Using the hashtag (#) creates the ability to link similar posts, so if you click on one of the active hashtags, you’ll be able to see all of the related links that used this particular hashtag.
How do you measure the ROI of Twitter, or other social media? Gauging ROI is much easier, on Facebook as it has analytics. Twitter is more difficult to gauge, but you can track your impact by the number of followers you have.
If and when you tweet on products, how do you indicate to your followers that this is a vendor’s product? (Do you use “sponsored” or “client” as a part of the tweet?) No, I would only use #sponsored if I was asked to tweet a particular message, received free product in exchange for tweeting or was paid to tweet - following FTC guidelines. But, since I only receive payment from my store I do not need to do this.
What do you and/or your retailer see as the business benefit of tweeting? The benefits are many and range from customer service, to community outreach, to informing shoppers about events and new products, and winning new customers. One time I saw a college student who was newly diagnosed with celiac disease tweeting how hard it was to find food to eat and how depressed she was. I reached out to her via Twitter to tell her about products at our store and a gluten-free event we were sponsoring and she was very grateful. She ended up working with us on subsequent events and becoming an advocate on her campus for others with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. So that was an awesome success.
In addition, I have gotten TV and radio gigs, requests to write and be quoted on articles, all via Twitter.
Was your retailer initially concerned about the legalities of having you tweet on behalf of the company? I know they occasionally monitor my tweets but they have faith in my judgment and allow me to use social media as I see fit. They do not review my posts before I send them out.
About Leah: Leah McGrath has been a registered dietitian since 1996. She has a B.S. in Human Nutrition from the University of Maryland and attended the US Army Internship. While in the Army, Leah served as the Chief of Clinical Dietetics at Fort Jackson Army Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina. After fulfilling her active duty military commitment, she worked in Public Health a WIC and Nutrition Director in the Low Country Health District (Beaufort, South Carolina). Since 2000, Leah has been the Corporate Dietitian for Ingles Markets.