Smart convenience store chains recognize that social networking is a crucial tool in keeping the lines of communication open with customers and growing loyalty for years to come. A social media team can help your chain control brand image, calm any negative conversations that might surface and direct promotions toward a core group of customers.
Sac N Pac stores, with 44 locations in San Marcos, Texas, beefed up its social networking team naming Megan Sutfin the chain’s social media administrator on June 1. Her responsibilities in this new role run the gamut from handling social media marketing, including engaging with fans on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, as well as assisting with the chain’s new Sac N Pac Rewards Club program, which rolled out this past February.
Customers who register for the new Sac N Pac Rewards Club receive a key tag they swipe at the point-of-purchase. Not only do customers accumulate points every time their card is swiped, but they are also eligible to receive random rewards, as well as a chance to earn points every time they purchase club items, such as coffee, fountain drinks, milk or ice.
To encourage customers to register their reward tags, Sac N Pac is running a “Super Summer Sweepstakes” where customers with registered loyalty tags will be entered into random drawings for trips and other exotic prizes.
Sutfin is using social media to get the word out to customers, not only about the rewards club opportunities, but also to announce monthly specials, share photos and congratulate the winners of its sweepstakes drawings. As time goes on, Sutfin aims to use the Twitter and Facebook pages to offer more interactive contests specifically for social network fans.
“Social networking is important because it allows us to further interact with our customers, keep them informed and show them we care about their experience. It’s another form of communication, where they can directly reach us and we can directly reach them,” Sutfin said.
Sutfin began her career with a degree in business from the University of Idaho and went on to work with a computer training company called TechNow, where she went through Google analytics training and generated analytic reports that tracked customer shopping habits.
“A few weeks into starting my position at TechNow, they handed me all the online marketing responsibilities. I also assisted with developing the design of the Website, which is how I first became involved in search engine optimization (SEO) marketing and social media,” Sutfin said. “TechNow provided me with a technological foundation and gave me a solid understanding about the backend of Web technology and what the end user is experiencing.”
Her background in search engine optimization also helps her ensure the chain’s messages are seen by a large number of people.
Translating her tech and business background to the c-store industry has been a welcome change. “I really enjoy the convenience store industry—it’s fun, it’s changing, there is always something going on and there are so many different aspects of the business that you don’t think of as a consumer,” Sutfin said.
In her new role, Sutfin aims to improve the chain’s social media avenue, increase its online interaction with customers and help improve the customer experience. “We want to make our customers’ experience in our stores a very positive one, and we are striving to improve that experience all the time. My goal is to keep our loyal customers happy and to increase the number of loyal customers that we have at our stores,” she said.