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How to Drive Fuel Retail Profits Using Social Media

With competition for volume at an all-time high, it’s no surprise that retailers are increasingly looking at ways to differentiate their sites to win out. Most of the time, this comes in the form of innovative shop offerings and differentiated forecourt facilities.

However, one of the many lessons from the COVID-19 lockdowns is that forecourts are seen as a valuable part of a community, offering the convenience that many larger companies can’t. What we’ve seen is that if you can find a way to engage with your local community, particularly in times of crisis, you can foster that community feel, build loyalty, and in the longer-term, profits.

That’s exactly what Goran Raven, owner of RJ Raven, a Shell forecourt in Essex did during the latest crisis, where panic buying left tanks dry and retailers scratching their heads. When everyone was scrambling around trying to find any forecourts with fuel, Goran took the opportunity to keep everyone updated on his Facebook page.

He even took the time to show his humour, posting memes to help keep people’s spirits high.

He even uses TikTok to share his brand, with the video below gaining an incredible 250,000 views in 24 hours. At the time of writing this, it had over 450,000 views!

And this video has over 617k views!

I remember talking to Goran when he decided to start posting on TikTok. He said the inspiration was a local butcher who had millions of views on his behind the scenes videos. Since then, he has said he’s had people coming into the shop quoting their TikTok’s – showing that it works to drive business.

Back to the business case of using social media as a fuel retailer, initial feedback from Goran’s local customers has been overwhelmingly positive. Every post has comments from customers being appreciative of Goran’s efforts to keep them updated on the situation.

They’ve even received a thank you card and cupcakes – customers really appreciate it when you go above and beyond!

Goran has said that his Facebook following has doubled since the start of the shortages, and there’s no doubt that his transparency and humour has led to increased customer loyalty, and in the long run, more volume and profit, but of course, if that’s not enough, he even got some cupcakes out of it!

When looking for ways to differentiate yourself from the competition, there’s nothing that’ll be easier, cheaper and more impactful than social media.

If you do decide to enter the realms of social media, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be consistent – It’s going to take some time to build up your presence, and the more consistent you are with posting, the quicker you’ll build an audience and start to see an impact.
  2. Engage with your customers – Customers who comment on your post help in a number of ways. Their friends can see they’ve commented (and these probably live in the same area, and so are potential customers too), and engaging with those customers will help them feel like they’re building a relationship with you, increasing their loyalty to your site.
  3. Be transparent – Posting about the highs and lows of running a petrol station will make you come across as much more relatable, and will help your customers “get to know you”, again, fostering loyalty.
  4. Remember, it’s not all about self promotion – posting historical pictures of interest, fuel based memes, funny videos, and behind the scenes posts will give customers and potential customers a reason to follow your page. When you do post about new promotions, or new items in store, it should feel earned.
  5. Post a variety of content – social media is now geared towards picture and video content,  and whilst the odd text only post is ok, try and post it along with a relevant video or photo to help it cut above the noise on the news feed.

To conclude, forecourts are very much valuable community businesses, and by engaging with that community as much as possible, it fosters loyalty which will positively impact profit. One of the quickest and easiest ways to engage with that community, is as RJ Raven has shown, through the use of social media.

If you’re looking for inspiration as to how you can use social media, I highly recommend taking a look at their Facebook and TikTok.

To see how EdgePetrol has helped Goran make great strategic decisions for his business click here!

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