Importance of Social Media in the Food Industry
Social media marketing is now considered more important than traditional print advertising in the food and beverage industry according to the Grant Thornton International Food and Beverage report, ‘Hunger for growth: Food and Beverage looks to the future’. The report revealed that nearly half (49%) of all food and beverage industry executives say social media is a top method of attracting and retaining customers compared with 46% for print advertising. A company website is viewed as the most important at 78%.
Over ninety percent of food industry executives agree that social media has completely changed the way consumers interact with their brand. Once thought of as an “extra” in marketing departments, social media is now a must-have, and one of the best ways to get results. It is estimated that over twenty thousand companies have a Facebook page for their business. With close to a billion people on Facebook, there is the ability for companies to target nearly any consumer group. The marketing department in Sainsbury’s claims that social media has been a great way for the company to reach out to their consumers via a more “holistic approach.” The ability for the company to have an open dialogue with customers gives Sainsbury’s a way to improve their business, thanks to direct feedback from customers via social media.
Smartphones is where most social media interactions happen. An increasing number of consumers are using smartphones and tablets to access product information while eating in restaurants and shopping in supermarkets. According to Scoop Business, 58% of people aged between 36 and 65, and 61% of younger adults, research products online, using smartphones or tablets, before going to a restaurant or when shopping at supermarkets.
In February 2010, Proctor & Gamble, makers of Old Spice, launched “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign with an online commercial starring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa. He is shown towel-clad in his bathroom as he tries to convince female viewers to purchase Old Spice body wash so their men will be just like him, or at least smell like him. The commercial premiered on YouTube during Superbowl weekend and has since received more than 26 million views. Five months later, Old Spice decided to take things to the next level; they wanted to engage and communicate on a more personal, intimate level, and so “The Response Campaign” was born. On the morning of July 13, 2010, Old Spice posted a simple message to Facebook and Twitter causing the campaign to become a viral sensation. For two days, Mustafa, answered queries on Twitter via YouTube—producing more than 180 videos in real-time. The result from the campaign was phenomenal being the fastest growing and most popular interactive campaign in history. The results were:
- Twitter following increased 2700%;
- Facebook fan interaction went up 800%;
- Traffic to Oldspice.com increased 300%;
- And with more than 75 million views, Old Spice became the no.1 all-time most viewed branded channel on YouTube.
Case study from Zones of Social Media Marketing.
Timing is also important in Social Media. Posting and being available when your customers/ fans are online is important. You want to catch people during their downtime. You might need to get them early in the morning during their commute or “settling in” time at work, during lunch or in the evenings. It is also important to understand the timing may be different for their specific customer base or industry. Experimentation is recommended.