You’ve got a juice bar. Now, how do you make it an even more engaging part of your store’s shopping experience? And while you’re at it, how do you make your social media community more active?

Rainbow Acres, a 33-year-old retail store in Los Angeles, CA, asked itself some similar questions and came up with the JuiceGenius contest, which not only raised the visibility of its signature juice bar, but also increased its social media presence.

“We had two goals in mind: we really needed to inspire our Juice Bar team to interact with our customers, and we also needed customers to not only follow us on Social Media (specifically Instagram) but even more importantly, participate on our social media,” say Lexi Rodriguez and Kristi Hughes of Rainbow Acres’ social media team. While collecting more social media followers was a nice perk, the store was hoping a new contest would create a more active community of Rainbow Acres shoppers and social media followers.

The rules of the game were pretty simple. Contenders of the Juice Bar took a stab at creating a new delicious juice. Customers would then sample the juices, buy their favorites and post a picture or comment about their favorite with the hashtag #JuiceGenius. Juice bar staff came up with some interesting options like spicy mango frozen juice and sweet yam juice. The juice with the most hashtag votes (and in-store sales) would be crowned the Juice Genius and receive a minimercial, a grand prize and a place on the store’s juice bar menu for a year.

Rodriguez and Hughes made sure to make the contest highly visible. “We placed posters in the stores, posted on Instagram, and created buttons to promote the campaign,” the pair states.

The contest, which ran during February, met its goals of boosting the store’s juice bar sales and increasing the number of its Instagram followers. “Every day, we receive more likes, followers and comments and in receiving those we are learning about new ways to successfully reach our customers,” Rodriguez and Hughes explain. And, social media followers offered a number of great comments through the contest.

But perhaps the best result was something else: “We think one of the best outcomes of the contest was the increase in creativity, involvement and camaraderie in our juice bar team,” state Rodriguez and Hughes. “Although they are competing for title of Juice Genius, they collectively helped each other with the creation of each other’s juices and self promotion.”

In the end, the winning juice came from Wilson, with his mango and pineapple and cayenne pepper 'Willy Kick' frozen juice.



Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2015 (online 3/4/15)