Online Marketing Strategies, Tips & Articles for Business

Online marketing and social media tips for business from Shannon Belew, best-selling author of "Starting an Online Business For Dummies, All-in-One"

Food Gets Social: Will You Engage?

Your food has a Facebook page and it’s tweeting. Heck, it may even be on Pinterest. That’s right, people. Open your refrigerator and your cabinets and pay close attention: your favorite food brands are on social media and they want you to like them…to engage with them.

But will you?

Use of social media icons on products seem to be on the rise  – but brands need to get smarter if they really want consumers to take action. First, consider the cold, hard facts, according to brand loyalty research by eMarketer and others.

The majority of consumers say they follow a brand on social media for some very specific (incentive-based) reasons,  including:

  • Get coupons or discounts
  • Participate in contests
  • Access customer service

Still, there are plenty of folks who are simply loyal to a brand and want to show it and get updates about what’s new with the brand.

So, why bash brands for a poor social media strategy? Too often, those infamous social media icons (the little “F” or “t” ) are prominently posted on product labels or packaging, but there’s little other incentive to take action on those icons. In other words, where is the offer or the reason to pull someone over to the FB or Twitter? It’s a case of plain ‘ol lack of solid promotion.

Not to pick on anyone, but…  A favorite BBQ sauce brand, Sweet Baby Ray’s, is guilty of its lazy social media product placement. The Facebook and Twitter icons are prominently placed on the label, but there’s nothing else. The funny thing is, there are lots of good reasons to engage with them. When checking their Facebook page, they have a prominent tab featuring lots of recipes to use with their sauces. They also just ended a great summertime contest, giving away product. Why weren’t either of these incentives referenced on the label? Why would brands avoid asking for fan engagement?

  • Lack of space on label: Sometimes space is precious on product labeling and there’s just not room for anything more than a little social media icon.
  • Contests end between production runs: This is a valid point. If you have short production runs, or it’s expensive to change out labeling, then it can seem wasteful to promote a contest or offer with a shelf-life shorter – especially if it’s shorter than that of the product.
  • No discounts or appealing offers: Maybe the product can’t afford to offer (or just won’t offer) a solid discount or a fun contest. So, there’s really nothing to promote.

However, all three of these points can be easily addressed. In the case of Baby Ray’s, there was room on the label and there was plenty to promote to someone willing to engage with the brand. For example, that label could have easily read, “Like us on Facebook to get Free Recipes for a sizzling summer BBQ!”  (That didn’t require a discount or contest – but was free content the brand could offer.)

Or it could have read, “Follow us on Twitter for contests and free recipes.” That references contests but doesn’t call out a specific one with a hard end date. Both sentences could also be further abbreviated for space limitations.

Another example is that of Lay’s Potato Chips. They are not afraid to promote contests on their product labels – and this summer they proudly promoted one that required you to text or email a picture of two of their products shown, together.  That’s an example of a contest ripe for social media.

Sadly, they failed to provide the opportunity to Tweet it or post it to Facebook (which would have netted a much wider reach and given fans a great reason to interact with them on social media). Good grief, they didn’t even use this chance to ask people to follow them of Twitter or Like them on Facebook for more details, prizes, or contest updates – or to see pictures that other people submit!  It seems like a missed opportunity.

Have you seen good examples of brands using their product labels to ask for fans to engage on social media? Let us know! Oh, and don’t forget to Like OnlineMarketingToGo on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for some pretty cool updates and links to fun stuff! (See what we did there?)


One comment on “Food Gets Social: Will You Engage?

  1. Pingback: Social Media Stats and Your Weekend [Poll] « Online Marketing Strategies, Tips & Articles for Business

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