Superstore's Strategic Approach to Social For Grocery

October 1, 2020

Key Takeaways

Content & Messaging — Clear and transparent communication could be linked to higher-than-usual audience growth: The highest spikes in followers coincided with Superstore’s clear statements related to the COVID-19 measures meant to protect shoppers as well as their team. Strong engagement and high shareability of these posts were reflected in the accelerated audience growth during the same time period.

Organic Social Tactic — Engagement-oriented social media: While 55% of Superstore’s social posts focus on driving conversions and are often copied from their social ads, it’s clear that the company puts a lot of effort into increasing genuine community engagement. In addition, Superstore actively leverages various holiday seasons and frequently reposts user generated content.

  • Holidays: Superstore taps into the festive holiday mood to stimulate a higher response rate from its followers. The company also extends holiday seasons to benefit from the prolonged periods of elevated engagement.
  • UGC: Superstore’s social campaigns call for active community participation. To invite its followers to co-create the festive spirit, the company tends to rely on simple hashtag techniques.

Organic Social Focus — Instagram & TikTok: While Facebook has the largest audience size for all brands in the competitive set, Instagram has the most engaged audience, with an average engagement rate that is 87% higher compared to Facebook. While no grocery chains in Canada are actively posting content on TikTok, brands like Walmart have gained a substantial following on the platform with 380K followers. Consider activating on TikTok as it is the fastest growing social media network ever.

Facebook and Instagram are two primary battlegrounds for Canadian groceries, where Sobeys leads in terms of community size and engagement. Superstore is aiming to close the gap by actively growing its audience and increasing post cadence.

Indicates followers growth/decline over 2 year period.
Post cadence and ER timeframe is two years (Oct’ 18-Nov’ 20) average

While all grocery chains actively compete in the established social media channels, not many are seeking to utilize massive audience on TikTok. Sobeys is the only grocery chain in Canada that tapped into this territory, while Walmart (US) has already generated sizable following of 380.7K.

Superstore’s Facebook account saw the highest audience increase in April and August this year. The increase coincided with their messaging focused on the COVID-19 response.

Superstore’s Instagram has been steadily growing at average 8% MoM over the last two years. Instagram and Facebook accounts share the same content (both visuals and copy). Similarly to Facebook COVID-19 informational posts gained higher engagement, yet didn’t have such evident impact on the audience growth.  

Each Loblaw brand follows its own social communication strategy. The only company-wide cross-posting concerned the Executive Chairman’s message during COVID-19 (Apr ‘20), which was originally posted by PC Optimum.

Video #1, Video #2, Video #3

Facebook constitutes 81% of Superstore’s online community. The company focuses its communication strategy on three main pillars: convert (55%), inform (24%) and engage (21%). Every other post is aimed at driving online sales. 

The majority of conversion-oriented posts on Facebook are food-related. 86% of these are posted as links, which lead to digital flyers or the ecommerce website.

Posts about the COVID-19 response and protection measures highly resonate with the online community.

Superstore actively seeks to engage its community and spark conversations in different ways—from doubling down on holiday-themed content to experimenting with Facebook polls.   

Superstore community positively responds to the poll format, with the record-high average engagement rate of 2.1% (6x the 0.35% page average).

Post #1, Post #2, Post #3

Superstore extends holiday celebrations to increase engagement across its social media channels and aggregate UGC into its community gallery.

Facebook post

For #RealCanadianDads, Superstore shared 11 posts over 11 days. Kicking off the campaign as early as June 10 allowed them to extend the celebration and benefit from 3x the usual engagement rate (1.14% vs. 0.35%).

Post 1, Post #2, Post #3

Extended holiday campaigns allow Superstore to generate higher engagement rates (0.7%* vs. 0.35%). As a result, 25% of all posts over the last two years have a celebratory undertone.

All Facebook holiday-related posts ( Sep. ‘19-Nov. ‘20 ) average ER. Last two years defined as time period between Sep. ‘19 to Nov. ‘20.

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