The Juice! Fresh Ideas in Food Marketing - July 2009

This month Savor - The Food Agency turns to an extremely timely topic: Holiday Marketing. Yes, calendar-wise the Holidays are still a few months away. But, marketing and sales-wise you need to act now.

5 Ways Your Food Company Should Use Social Media

By Seth Bender, Partner

Here’s the thing. Marketing has changed from the traditionally one-sided broadcasts of radio, TV and even web advertising to a new conversational style. People expect you to talk with them, not to them. The good news is that unlike traditional methods, such as TV, a good social media program can be effective without being cost prohibitive. But, how do you get one off the ground? What are the principles of a good program? Take a good look at the data you have on your customers and answer these questions: Who are your best customers?

1. Pay Attention to the Conversation

The first step… Listen. Between mommy blogs, cooking forums, food sites, Twitter and beyond, somewhere on the great, wide Internet someone (or a group of someones) is talking about your product. Hear what they have to say. This is a great way to obtain truthful feedback about your product and insights into consumer desires.

2. Join The Conversation

Savor Tip: Addictomatic.com is a great free online tool for searching many sources at once for mentions of your brand on the Internet

Interact with people talking about you or your category. Open a Twitter account. Get on LinkedIn and join food groups (which is great for B2B food interactions). Post on blogs and forums. Thank people who are complimentary. Answer questions (such as, where to buy). Correct errors (such as price or ingredient inaccuracies). In this “misinformation” age where fact checking isn’t required, you should be proactive in making sure your product is represented accurately. Keep in mind, people are entitled to their opinions. But, your voice has its place in the social media community.

3. Create A Space For People To Converse

By creating an environment for people to discuss your product, you’ll obtain open access to interact with them. This “space” could be a blog or forum on your site (or sponsorship of an existing food forum, which already has the technology and visitors in place). It could also be a company Facebook Page where people can post questions and comments as well as respond to your prompts, photos and video. Or, create a YouTube channel of short clips (interviews, production, etc.) and commercials.

Savor Tip: Want specifics on Twitter and Facebook? Email me for our short white paper

4. Start The Conversation

Use your followers’ enthusiasm to garner feedback on new undertakings as well as create buzz. Additionally, PR is an incredibly beneficial compliment to your social media program. Your PR team should be reaching out to web writers, bloggers, podcasters and videocasters in addition to traditional media (print pubs, radio, TV), which will also most likely end up on the web. Get people to talk about you with a well-crafted, timely and interesting message. Now, further fan the flames by using
your own social media programs to point your followers to what others are saying about you.

5. Push Sales

Like any other marketing program, your social media program needs to have a return. So, while you’re building relationships with your consumers, you also need to point them toward purchasing your product. That could mean offering them exclusive coupons, specials or early ordering on new products. Also, tell them about new stores or restaurants offering your foods or specials that stores and restaurants are running (your retail and foodservice accounts will appreciate the extra support).

In The Grand Scheme...

You’ll have to determine which outlets make the most sense for your message and brand. And, you’ll want to have a written out strategy stating goals, month-by-month messaging and tactics for obtaining followers. If your program is managed properly (and updated on a consistent basis), you’ll build solid connections that will enable you to continually (yet tactfully) promote your products to a highly targeted, highly interested group of consumers.

Want to know more about Twitter, Facebook, Blogs or other tools? Have questions about how to win followers? Curious what role we could play in helping you establish and manage a social media program?

You can email me, tweet me, post on our Facebook Page, fill out our site’s contact form
Or, just call me at 847.556.7511.

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