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How Whole Foods Handles Social Media

Spredfast's benchmark study of social media management users shows distinctions between those just entering social channels and those, like Whole Foods, whose usage is proliferating rapidly.

While Spredfast aims to serve as a comprehensive social media monitoring, publishing, and engagement platform, chief marketing officer Jim Rudden said it's still common for some users to publish straight to the various social networks or use an alternate social media management tool of their choice for some fraction of the activity. "We're in the very early days of this being managed in one place."

At Whole Foods, Anderson said that out of 10 business units, so far she has Spredfast deployed and in active use in the Rocky Mountain region and deployed, with training now ongoing, in the Midwest region. She hopes to tackle the other regions over the next six months, but at a deliberate pace. "The Florida region is very different from the Midwest or Northern California, so we want to make sure the way we're configuring the software and approaching the software is going to work," she said.

Her first priority is less about imposing the use of Spredfast as a publishing tool for the sake of control than it is focused on getting social media posts (regardless of how they were published) imported into the tool for analysis.

"We've created these really fantastic hyper-local communities throughout the country, but now we have to understand: Do people who are engaged with us in social [media] shop more often? Do they have bigger baskets?" Anderson asked. "Just like a lot of other companies, we have to understand the business value of social--and start to make slightly more intentional decisions about the use of social."

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

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User Rank: Apprentice
9/6/2012 | 5:28:25 PM
re: How Whole Foods Handles Social Media
It will be interesting to learn from this report on the future when it becomes more regularly and uniform across the board. I would like to see the most successful business es with a larger social presence and study what techniques makes them uniquely successful growth social media. No doubt that social media will play a role in future business endeavors regardless the business. In addition the chart shows that Facebook is still the number one social media site out to date. I look forward to Whole Foods transitional and the success to follow, Whole Foods has always made a strong community presence which can only lead to good things with social media.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
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