Grocery chain Whole Foods got social media buzzing by un-following everyone on their Instagram account except for three people: Beyoncé, Cardi B and Sting. The company also deleted all of its photo posts but for a few blank white posts. This was in an effort to raise awareness about the plight of bees.
Though fans might have been hoping this had something to do with the entertainment industry, some guessed it had to do with the bees. The grocer later acknowledged its partnership with Whole Kids Foundation for National Pollinators Week and National Pollinators Month to raise $100,000 for 50 new school honey beehives. The changes to the Whole Foods Instagram account were meant to raise awareness about the important role bees play in the and ecosystem.
“We launched the Give Bees A Chance campaign because kids are often taught to be afraid of bees, but the role they play in our ecosystem is imperative and deserving of our respect and protection. One of the best ways we can teach kids about bees is through educational beehives at their schools, where they get an up-close look into the world of pollination,” president and executive director of Whole Kids Foundation, Nona Evans told Fast Company.
The company has also dedicated a full page of their website to bee awareness.
The page states, “From apples and almonds to strawberries and tomatoes, many of our most beloved foods depend on pollinators. If pollinators disappeared from the planet, even beef and dairy products would be scarce because pollinators are vital to crops that feed cattle and other grazing animals,”
Having a webpage with information is great but with modern technology and social media habits it might not be enough. Whole Foods has more than 10 million followers over 850 social media profiles, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. The retailer proved that using the power of social media is a good way to catch attention.
The retailer made a smart decision by not selling anything through this social media campaign. Instead they caught the attention of media outlets and the public. It is claimed that millennials want to buy from companies that openly support social causes, as this lets them feel good about their purchases. This is known as cause marketing. Millennials are also considered to be “pro-social” and are interested in making a change in world issues. In fact, a study found that 80 percent of those surveyed volunteer their time.
Aside from cause marketing, Whole Foods utilized social media campaigning. This can be an effective way for manufacturers and companies to gain attention considering most of the population has a social media account. However, Whole Foods isn’t the only group to try this type of marketing. The Dairy Farmers of America also recently tried this. In an effort to counter the plant-based milk trend, the organization had created an imaginary drink. This tactic specifically targeted millennials. The drink they called “Mülü” had sleek packaging and social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Mülü was discovered to be a regular bottle of milk that was being advertised on social media as something more. Unfortunately, the Instagram account was only able to accumulate 107 followers as part of the campaign, signalling that it wasn’t as successful as they may have hoped. Their Twitter account also did not do too well, but their Facebook promotional video seemed to have caught some attention.