How Receptional built a digital community for a local fitness retailer using only social media
Supplement Central is a thriving local business in the heart of Cwmbran Shopping Centre in the South Wales valleys.
Founded by Paddy Maloney and Rhi Jinny-Jones in 2008, Supplement Central sell an extensive range of fitness products, from protein powders to vegan drinks. Each product is carefully chosen by the team. Supplement Central is at the heart of its community: they offer expert advice to customers and sponsor local athletes.
‘Team Supp Cent’ had noticed that more of their customers were enquiring about the brand’s social media activities. Realising there was a community online they could tap into, Rhi and Paddy approached Receptional to see how we could help recreate their offline success on the web.
Our objective was to build a web presence for Supplement Central – but without a website. The client wanted to build brand awareness and encourage more offline customers, but wanted to avoid the commitment that a fully functioning website brings.
What we did
Receptional acted as consultants to the Supplement Central team, offering a campaign strategy, ideas, and advice. Our aim was to provide gentle guidance so that, over time, the Supplement Central team could take full ownership of their social media activity, which they later did with great success. Here is more detail on how the campaign evolved:
- We conducted extensive social media training, introducing four of the main social networks: Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.[/list_item]
- We published best practice guides. We felt that anyone from the in-store team should be able to manage social media activity, while keeping a consistent tone. A best practice guide encouraged consistency.
- We provided competitor analysis, so that Supplement Central were better informed about the competition and, more importantly, their potential audience.
- We created weekly reports backed up by a phone call, where we’d discuss possible tactics and provide editorial advice.
Social marketing can be a fickle master. Yet, by combining a prepared strategy with this ‘by the moment’ approach we were able to grow the company’s following and influence.
Supplement Central had a great rapport with its existing customers. We wanted to build on that relationship – which was based on the team’s outgoing personalities.
Supplement Central had recently changed its branding and moved premises. Their old brand, Seriously Fit Nutrition, had only a limited social network presence in the form of an old-style Facebook Group page:
The old page had a good level of engagement. It was important for Supplement Central that they didn’t alienate their loyal customer base. Yet, we needed to update the brand, refresh the look and feel of the page, and make sure existing members transferred to the new page.
From our first meeting we agreed that we wanted to entice existing group members to the new Facebook page. We set a deadline of December 2013, giving us six months to complete the transition.
Campaign and strategy
Supplement Central had decided they didn’t want a website. So we weren’t able to target specific product keywords. Yet we wanted ensure that the business had an online presence and could be easily discovered with a Google search.
The entire six month campaign had to be cost effective. Supplement Central are a small local business, so costs and profitability are critical.
When resources are limited, a focussed strategy is often a successful strategy. We had to focus on cultivating the local community and boosting the company’s brand. This approach would make Supplement Central a ‘household name’ in its local area – and more likely to convert online activity into offline customers.
Ideas, ideas and more ideas
One of the biggest challenges many clients face is planning content for their social updates. It would have been difficult for Supplement Central, with its three members of full-time staff, to commit additional hours to regular blogging. So we wanted to find creative ways of creating great content. Ways of engaging the audience that wouldn’t eat into the team’s time.
Receptional provided weekly content recommendations, a mixture of brand, seasonal, team-inspired and community updates. We created:
- We asked local fitness fanatics to Tweet product reviews. We encouraged loyal customers and well-known athletes to review a product using Twitter. This was aimed at customers who wanted to sample a new product and to give honest reviews from real-life influencers.
- Rhi’s Recipes are bespoke recipe cards created by Rhian, the company’s co-founder, who is a fantastic cook. Every month Rhi chooses one product and creates a seasonal recipe around it; that product goes on offer to encourage customers to buy.
- We launched a Pinterest Page. Supplement Central create fantastic bespoke images which are well suited to Pinterest. We wanted to appeal to a more female market as Supplement Central’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are male dominated.
- We tested a Q&A session on Twitter. ‘Ask Team Supp Cent’ allowed potential customers to ask questions about fitness, nutrition and products at a set time each week.
- We optimised Supplement Central’s Google Places page and researched relevant Google+ communities.
- We created online quizzes – ‘Guess the Product’ and ‘Guess the Location’ were designed to reward followers for their local knowledge. These campaigns were an inexpensive way of boosting local community engagement.
- We used the #FitForChristmas hashtag as part of a Christmas Countdown campaign, the largest campaign the store had ever run. Hosted on the Facebook page, the campaign aimed to get people through the door to experience the first class customer service Team Supp Cent had to offer.
- In the New Year the #FitFor14 campaign helped customers generate the motivation needed to get fit for 2014. The campaign hashtag included inspirational quotes from the team and is proving popular.
Over a six-month period, Supplement Central increased its social media. We started from nowhere in the first month. Over the next 5 months, Supplement Central’s followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ increased by 1,718 a whopping 479%!
Here’s what Supplement Central had to say:
Paddy Maloney, Supplement Central’s owner outlines the challenges his firm faced. “We are a bricks and mortar retail business in a specialist market dominated by a handful of established internet retailers and as such wanted to increase the awareness and reach of our premises thereby increasing footfall. We needed awareness to include our knowledge base, range of products and, just as importantly, our family-friendly personality and attitude.
We decided that social media was the way forward but had limited knowledge of the workings and etiquette of tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.”
We asked him why he chose Receptional over other agencies; it was, he says, “as a direct result of Sarah Bradley’s personality and obvious knowledge base. Under Sarah’s guidance we ran a Christmas campaign involving Christmas characters, a close up magician and a daily advent calendar which was extremely cost effective and contributed significantly to our best Christmas takings ever. This is even more significant when you factor in an average increase of five new, previously totally unaware, customers per day actually spending in store.
All in allthis has been a significant but worthwhile investment for us which continues to reap rewards. Thank you Sarah and thank you Receptional.”
Due to impressive levels of engagement on their Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles, Supplement Central in Cwmbran began ranking in Google search results for the term ‘Supplement Central’ meaning that the business now has a meaningful presence online.
Through Google+ activity and Google Places integration we were able to add a new dimension to the search results increasing online enquiries for a brand that doesn’t need a website:
The community Supplement Central built online continues to go from strength to strengthand we would urge the reader to find and follow their fun, exciting and informative updates – on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
Get in touch
Would you like to grow your social media presence? Give us a call today to discuss how we can start building an online community.