If you’ve ever been in the southeastern part of the U.S. you’ve probably seen a few Publix grocery stores. Publix was started by George Jenkins in 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida. Jenkins wanted his stores to be revolutionary. He designed stucco floored stores with air conditioning, electronic sliding doors and superior customer service. Jenkins wanted his stores to be “where shopping is a pleasure” and have a family feel. When I walk into the stores I get this feeling, but does this culture translate on Publix’s social media pages?
I follow Publix on Facebook and in my opinion they do an excellent job of expressing their tone on the network, they even say so on the “About” section. The grocery store’s page is filled with recipes, saving opportunities, family-based content (i.e. images), and employee praise. Publix does a great job of responding to comments, both negative and positive as well. While looking at some recent comments I was very impressed to see that most posts were addressed within an hour and employees running the social media page even signed their name in the response. This correlates with the Publix culture. Anytime I’ve ever had a problem, it’s quickly been addressed and always in a friendly and welcoming manner.
That being said let’s take a look at two examples of how Publix effectively employed their welcoming tone to their Facebook audience. Timothy is pretty upset. He’s been having issues with his local Publix and feels as though his voice isn’t getting heard, so he did what any disgruntled customer does nowadays and took to social media. Even though Timothy’s message got a little heated Publix responded in a calm tone. They apologized, reinforced their mantra (premiere customer service), asked for more details via a private message, and apologized again. They could have ignored this post but instead addressed it within the hour it was posted. They want Publix to be a place “where shopping is a pleasure” and are making it right for Timothy.
In this post Publix is reinforcing their belief that they are a family oriented store. Everyone who shops there is special to them. This post received a lot of attention and positive feedback and a Publix employee responded to every single comment, including comments from other Publix employees. Recognizing the people on the frontlines making Publix stores a success reiterates the respect Publix has for ANYONE who walks through their special sliding doors.
Ultimately I believe it is the content Publix posts and the way they respond that make their Facebook page very effective at illustrating their brand. I wish more companies (cough*CitiBike*cough) would take the initiative to connect with their audience, and loyal followers like Publix has on social media.