Social stories: Greggs

5 minute read

A little while ago now I worked on a series called ‘social stories’, aimed at looking at well-known people and brands and how they market themselves using the most popular online marketing channels. Today I’m relaunching that series, first by looking at Greggs the bakers.

Why Greggs? They’ve recently been in the news due to disappointing results. It was announced at the beginning of August that their like-for-like sales for the first half of 2013 had fallen by 2.9%, with their profits falling by £4.6 million.

Since the news they’ve announced they’ll be focusing on both improving their existing 1,700 outlets and on launching a customer loyalty scheme. Loyalty is a hugely important aspect of the relationship you build with your customers; from that initial engagement through to regular contact, building loyalty means building long-term sales.

Regular email marketing

If we first consider their email marketing, I first signed up for their newsletter a few months ago, yet I’ve only received two emails. The first gave me a discount if I purchased a sausage roll and the second offered me a free doughnut to launch their new range. Great discounts, definitely likely to entice people into store. Interestingly the website form asked for my first and last name, but yet the email lacked any personalisation, a quick and easy element to add to any email campaign. They could also look to add more personality to their website, as it would be great to learn more about the people behind the business.

Greggs doughnut offer

Social media

Looking at social media their pages have a huge following, with over 700,000 Facebook fans and 66,000 Twitter followers. 700,000 Facebook fans is quite the number and it looks like they’ve previously run click-to-like competitions to help boost their numbers. The page is full of comments, and responses directly from the Greggs team. They post regularly, so followers aren’t likely to forget them in a hurry. There are also clear links through to these pages via their website – hugely important for any business looking to continue on the conversation via social media.

One thing noticed was the consistent reference to ‘John the baker’, both on Facebook and on their website. I’ll be honest, I don’t quite understand who John is, and I’ve never seen him in store. Perhaps I’m not a big enough fan to have spotted him previously? Consistency is hugely important so it’s good to see him featured on all channels. If they’re looking to build a loyalty scheme, having a familiar face that people can relate to is likely to boost engagement.

Video, TV and beyond

If ever in doubt about who Greggs are and what they sell, you only need to check out their YouTube channel for their past and present television adverts. When we pair this with their television show, it’s fair to say they’re not afraid of using multimedia to promote their brand. Putting their adverts on their branded YouTube channel isn’t a great deal of work, but adds to their overall online presence.


What we can learn from Greggs

There has to be a great admiration for Greggs. They’re operating in a difficult environment (one that has been struggling for a while), yet have built themselves to 1,700 stores and over 700,000 loyal Facebook fans. They may have struggled with the numbers recently, but have a really strong brand to work with, a brand that is going to be crucial as they work to build a loyalty scheme. Their clear direction will put them in good stead with stakeholders and ensure any marketing activities executed are in line with those objectives.

We hope you’ve found this social story interesting, and if you’d like to see a specific social story, get in touch with us in the comments box below!