Content brand of the week: the wholly wholesome Whole Foods Market

Oh no – natural food alert – this isn’t going to be a re-run of Chic-Fil-A and their misguided attempt at a healthy living online hub?

Far from it – this is the real deal. Whole Foods Market lives and breathes its values, and their product offering matches their content offering perfectly.

For those of you who prefer hotdogs to hummus, Whole Foods Market is a natural and organic food store, which now has over 360 stores in the US, UK and Canada. There can be no doubt that their content marketing efforts have contributed to their success (naturally!).

Ok, let’s get stuck in then! What’s on the menu?

‘Whole Story’ is the company blog, hosted on the company page. So far, so good – but what Whole Foods excels in is offering content that promotes the lifestyle around the brand – a very ‘soft sales’ approach, without too much direct plugging of products. The CEO also has a blog, helping give the company a feel of ‘transparency’ – a business buzzword of the moment, to help brands appeal to cynical millennials. As well as the blog, the website has a section listing the brand’s mission and values, which is very detailed and breaks down all their various community work. The recipes section is a valuable resource – and the team clearly plan ahead to deliver topical content to their followers, such as this handy ‘back-to-school’ breakfast recipe collection. It’s possible to look through content through sections such as ‘special diets’, ‘cooking and entertainment guides’ and ‘parents and kids’. You’ll be hosting an all-vegan, GMO-free toddlers birthday tea party in no time!

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Lordy. Sounds like a fate worse than hell.

Don’t worry, if that’s not your thing, Whole Foods is bound to have you covered whatever takes your fancy. The brand recognises the value of segmenting their content offerings for different audiences – each city has a separate account on every channel (which may cover multiple stores, depending on how keen on quinoa the residents may be). Each store has a unique events calendar posted on the website, so nobody misses out on tofu tastings or organic beauty regime workshops.

So how does Whole Foods feed us its carefully balanced content?

Whole Foods has also sliced up the type of content on its social channels like a wholemeal, all-organic pizza.

Twitter is mainly used as a customer service channel. The main feed from head office has a mighty 3.8 million following ­– with an impressive user response rate. Local feeds also respond to customer comments to a lesser degree, as well as tweeting out events and product launches.

Facebook is used to reinforce the brand message – by posting news of community work, store events, discounts, all visually rich and often including photos of staff members.

Pinterest has worked extremely well for this brand! It’s amassed almost 200,000 followers, and almost 4,000 pins with boards appealing to a wide range of interests, but all with the theme of healthy, ethical living in common. ‘Concocting Condiments’, ‘How does your garden grown?’ and ‘We’re used to reusing’ are just a few examples of the varied boards. And once users have been pulled in via their particular niche, they will be exposed to other brand-related contents, like recipes or products that could lead to that all-important sales conversion.

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Quite a banquet. But how do all these ingredients combine into one tasty, holistic hotpot?

The brand has used social listening to discover what its followers are passionate about, and work out what is important to them, and used these insights to inform their overall content strategy. It’s all about hyper-local – a huge brand that stays true to its core values. Splitting social by cities gives local stores (which know the community better than head office) the autonomy to provide the best content and customer service at a local level. All this helps consumers feel a valued member of a community, rather than just a customer of a faceless corporation.

 

Where next?
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More from Rebecca Wilson
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