Which food and drink companies use social media well – and which don't?

Which food and drink companies use social media well – and which don't?

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Step one to establishing a presence on social media sites? Set up an account on social media sites.

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Then - and only then - should you add the logo for Twitter / Facebook / Other to your product\'s packaging.

While it may seem obvious, not everyone gets it right and the result can be a little embarrassing - as cereal manufacturer Grape Nuts found out when launching in the UK. Despite placing their social media handles on the packaging they didn’t actually set up the corresponding account.

Senior Strategist Darren Struwig at Born Social told us:  “The handle @GrapeNutsUK was not claimed by the brand and now is under the ownership of what appears to be a rather humorous Grape Nuts fan.

“Whether this is true or an elaborate PR stunt is yet to be seen, but I doubt it as the account has been unclaimed by the official Grape Nuts since mid-May of this year.”

 

Summer is over. The Grape Nuts UK Twitter account isn\'t. Life\'s cruel tapestry sews onwards. Keep chewing them nuts.

— Grape Nuts UK (@GrapeNutsUK) September 1, 2015

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Just as in a real-life conversation, timing is crucial on social media. If people are talking about your company and they want a response, don\'t leave them hanging. 

In April, Nestlé found itself in the social media firing line when criticisms over its bottled water operations during the California drought came to a head – accounting for 60% of the tweets directed at the company for that month.

According to a Brandwatch report, Nestlé’s response was executed “with confidence and poise”.

Nestlé mimicked other effective PR responses by educating themselves on the issue, creating a website explaining their position and directing their followers to the website,” it said.

The only problem? The response came a full eight days after the conversation peaked on Twitter, when most of the buzz had already died down.

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Just as in a real-life conversation, timing is crucial on social media. If people are talking about your company and they want a response, don\'t leave them hanging. 

In April, Nestlé found itself in the social media firing line when criticisms over its bottled water operations during the California drought came to a head – accounting for 60% of the tweets directed at the company for that month.

According to a Brandwatch report, Nestlé’s response was executed “with confidence and poise”.

Nestlé mimicked other effective PR responses by educating themselves on the issue, creating a website explaining their position and directing their followers to the website,” it said.

The only problem? The response came a full eight days after the conversation peaked on Twitter, when most of the buzz had already died down.

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Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ hashtag was met with huge success worldwide. According to brand strategist, Incitrio, this was down to the personal nature of the campaign which shone the spotlight on consumers themselves, making them want to get actively involved by tweeting, liking, sharing (and buying).

“The “Share a Coke” campaign featured personalized Coke bottles and cans with the top 250 most popular teen and millennial names.”

“When people were successful in finding their name on a bottle, they were encouraged to share their find on social media using the hashtag #ShareaCoke. This sharing behavior acted as an organic means of spreading brand awareness throughout social media platforms.”

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Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ hashtag was met with huge success worldwide. According to brand strategist, Incitrio, this was down to the personal nature of the campaign which shone the spotlight on consumers themselves, making them want to get actively involved by tweeting, liking, sharing (and buying).

“The “Share a Coke” campaign featured personalized Coke bottles and cans with the top 250 most popular teen and millennial names.”

“When people were successful in finding their name on a bottle, they were encouraged to share their find on social media using the hashtag #ShareaCoke. This sharing behavior acted as an organic means of spreading brand awareness throughout social media platforms.”

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Protein World’s beach ready campaign attracted a massive backlash of negative comments from Twitter users who saw the company’s poster as offensive, implying that women who did not have a body like model’s should not don a bikini.

But Alex Smith, planning director at Sense, called the campaign one of the most effective and innovative pieces of brand marketing in living memory.

“It bred "brand fans" by the thousand in an age where that term is sorely overused, and exploded the brand’s social following," he wrote.

“It  turned a £250,000 media spend into a viral phenomenon. It has made a little known brand a household name in the circles it cares about. It has reaped £1 million in direct sales revenue.”

Just as polemical as the poster itself – if not more – was the way Protein World dealt with online criticism, seemingly revelling in the negative publicity and answering back to detractors in a less than reverent way.

But for Smith, this too worked in the company’s favour. “In a world where brands are still living with a 20th century mindset of trying to be all things to all people, having particular character and meaning is an increasingly valuable commodity,” he said.

 

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Protein World’s beach ready campaign attracted a massive backlash of negative comments from Twitter users who saw the company’s poster as offensive, implying that women who did not have a body like model’s should not don a bikini.

But Alex Smith, planning director at Sense, called the campaign one of the most effective and innovative pieces of brand marketing in living memory.

“It bred "brand fans" by the thousand in an age where that term is sorely overused, and exploded the brand’s social following," he wrote.

“It  turned a £250,000 media spend into a viral phenomenon. It has made a little known brand a household name in the circles it cares about. It has reaped £1 million in direct sales revenue.”

Just as polemical as the poster itself – if not more – was the way Protein World dealt with online criticism, seemingly revelling in the negative publicity and answering back to detractors in a less than reverent way.

But for Smith, this too worked in the company’s favour. “In a world where brands are still living with a 20th century mindset of trying to be all things to all people, having particular character and meaning is an increasingly valuable commodity,” he said.

 

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Speaking of Protein World...

Companies can ride off another topic’s buzz, attracting conversations about their own brand by associating their products with socially relevant events.

And one company which managed to do this very successfully - with the help of a good joke - was Heineken.

Riding off the back of the (negative) Twitter storm created by Protein World and its ‘Are you beach ready?’ advert, Heineken asked asked its followers ‘Are you beer body ready?’

But brands should be careful, warned James Lovejoy, content researcher at Brandwatch. The practice is known as hi-jacking and if it’s not done the right way companies risk being derided.

“It has to be done in a tasteful way. If it’s obvious you’re branding then it could come across as being disingenuous. [Companies] are kind of walking on eggshells here and there are certain topics that should be avoided,” he said.

\"\"
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Speaking of Protein World...

Companies can ride off another topic’s buzz, attracting conversations about their own brand by associating their products with socially relevant events.

And one company which managed to do this very successfully - with the help of a good joke - was Heineken.

Riding off the back of the (negative) Twitter storm created by Protein World and its ‘Are you beach ready?’ advert, Heineken asked asked its followers ‘Are you beer body ready?’

But brands should be careful, warned James Lovejoy, content researcher at Brandwatch. The practice is known as hi-jacking and if it’s not done the right way companies risk being derided.

“It has to be done in a tasteful way. If it’s obvious you’re branding then it could come across as being disingenuous. [Companies] are kind of walking on eggshells here and there are certain topics that should be avoided,” he said.

\"\"
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Followed by millions, WholeFoods is a company which has managed to build a loyal following by not just focussing on their own products.

Lovejoy said: “They don’t come off as just branding but as wanting to give back something useful for their followers. (…)They are very open and transparent, and don’t just showcase their products but share recipes and tips.

For them, the platform is not just for advertising but for giving something of value back to people.”

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Followed by millions, WholeFoods is a company which has managed to build a loyal following by not just focussing on their own products.

Lovejoy said: “They don’t come off as just branding but as wanting to give back something useful for their followers. (…)They are very open and transparent, and don’t just showcase their products but share recipes and tips.

For them, the platform is not just for advertising but for giving something of value back to people.”

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Companies should make the most of all the media-sharing possibilites the platform offers.

Struwig said: “Another element that makes for a successful brand online is always staying up to date with platform developments, current events and online trends. Haribo does this very well by utilising Twitters video auto-play functionality when promoting their new product range.”

And while research by Brandwatch found that food companies perform best when their tweets and Facebook posts are accompanied by a photograph  rather than videos and links  it did suggest that brands put out diverse content initially to test the water. 

“By continuously tracking their social performance, brands can [then] identify the balance of formats that is the most successful for them,” it said.

 

Have the new flavours in #haribofrenzy Tangfastics got you in a spin?https://t.co/xeSxSiuGQv

— HARIBO UK (@OfficialHARIBO) August 7, 2015

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Companies should make the most of all the media-sharing possibilites the platform offers.

Struwig said: “Another element that makes for a successful brand online is always staying up to date with platform developments, current events and online trends. Haribo does this very well by utilising Twitters video auto-play functionality when promoting their new product range.”

And while research by Brandwatch found that food companies perform best when their tweets and Facebook posts are accompanied by a photograph  rather than videos and links  it did suggest that brands put out diverse content initially to test the water. 

“By continuously tracking their social performance, brands can [then] identify the balance of formats that is the most successful for them,” it said.

 

Have the new flavours in #haribofrenzy Tangfastics got you in a spin?https://t.co/xeSxSiuGQv

— HARIBO UK (@OfficialHARIBO) August 7, 2015

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Nearly one third of UK tweets are about food and drink companies - an impressive figure.  But as we reported yesterday, most companies aren't making the most of the opportunity to engage with their consumers, or rather their friends and followers.

FoodNavigator takes a look at which food and drink companies come out top for using social media to their advantage  and which ones need a little more practice when beating the tweeting drum.

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