secret sauce? An army of influencers
Trader Joe's has long been known for its devoted customers, but many of them are turning their fandom into marketing for the company via nearly a dozen unaffiliated social media accounts dedicated to the store's products, according to Vox.
(Author : Jennifer Sweeney)
For followers, the accounts fill the void left by Trader Joe's near-complete absence from social media and create a place where customers can see new products, share things they love and build a sense of community. The company maintains an Instagram page with 1.7 million followers and a podcast, "Inside Trader Joe's," which is in its fourth season.
One Instagram account, Trader Joe's List, has 950,000 followers. Recent posts have lovingly displayed the grocer's vegan gravy and pumpkin bisque, bags of rose fingerling potato chips and dark chocolate sunflower butter cups. A post displaying Trader Joe's "Advent Calendar for Cats" drew more than 14,000 likes and 5,000 comments.
Influencer marketing is hardly a new concept. Consumers are demanding more authenticity from brands, increasing interest in digital influencers. Creators on these platforms can harness a tremendous amount of influence among their follower base, and their content can be a major marketing tool. Many brands employ celebrities with huge audiences.
According to the recent The State of Influencer Marketing report, Instagram is the fastest growing social network, with more than 1 billion active users. The platform is now skewing much younger than Facebook, making it a good way to reach millennial and Gen Z shoppers.
Instagram-worthy dishes have boosted restaurants' fortunes in recent years, and some experts are encouraging retailers to build share-worthy displays, dining concepts and products. And while grocers' increasing focus on building in-store bars, restaurants and private labels with cozy names like Good & Gather isn't specifically about social sharing from customers, it could be a welcome side effect.
Publix, Aldi, Whole Foods, Kroger and many other grocers have a robust social media presence across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat. All of them are using the channels to engage directly with shoppers – to communicate store events, share recipes, answer questions and more. Whole Foods has more than 843 social accounts, from its regional marketing teams and local stores.
At a time when social media is key to many brands' success, Trader Joe's main marketing tool is a flyer – The Fearless Flyer. The company recently launched a proprietary podcast and only joined Instagram in 2017. The key to its cult like following is the array of products that appeal to the bargain shopper, the health conscious and the foodie all at the same time, coupled with helpful employees and the quirky vibe of its stores.