855.62.TOAST [email protected]

When you think about brands that run successful customer engagement campaigns on social media, do you include any Consumer Packaged Goods in that group? They have been at the forefront of marketing since the beginning, but it seems that some CPGs have been dragging their feet in the shift towards social media channels. But how can you blame them?

How Can Consumer Packaged Goods Brands Make the Most of Social Media?

When you think about brands that run successful customer engagement campaigns on social media, do you include any Consumer Packaged Goods in that group? They have been at the forefront of marketing since the beginning, but it seems that some CPGs have been dragging their feet in the shift towards social media channels.

But how can you blame them? So much of the publicity generated through social media turns out to be falsified. Just last month, a Mississippi woman took to social media to accuse KFC employees of asking her three-year-old granddaughter to leave the establishment because her facial scarring from a recent accident was disturbing patrons. The story quickly went viral and social media users demanded a boycott of KFC. After the company apologized and offered $30K for medical bills, the validity of the story was brought into question as there is no evidence that the incident took place. The ordeal has become an expensive and seemingly uncontrollable fire to quell, as social media users have quickly and vocally taken sides.

So, what should CPGs do to get involved in the conversation but avoid getting swallowed in a fire?

This study by Accenture does a great job of analyzing effective social media tactics for CPGs. Accenture studied social media strategies of 80 CPG brands. Some were highly active in social media, like Amazon, Coca Cola, and Nike, but others weren’t so active. Here are some key points every CPG brand should consider:

  1. It is far better to enter the conversation, whether positive or negative, than allow it to go unaddressed. CPG brands generate much more activity on social channels than they anticipate. By remaining quiet, CPGs miss out on a highly profitable opportunity to improve products and customer service, increase sales, and lock in loyal customers.
  2. Brands who devote time and effort towards identifying and engaging their most loyal customers are much better equipped to deal with negative sentiment on social channels. Cisco, for example, launched the Cisco SuperFans program, which transforms loyal customers into brand ambassadors. These SuperFans create a sense of community around Cisco, and share the positive experiences that they have had with the brand. They are quick to defend the brand in the face of negative comments and reviews. Cisco spotlights these fans to foster friendship and trust between the company and its customers.
  3. If brands do not develop an intensive and clear social strategy prior to launch, their efforts will fall flat or backfire. Brands can activate and monetize their customers and fans through social media marketing campaigns that offer coupons and other rewards for interaction; however, brands must be able to follow through on these promises immediately or they will face very vocal negative feedback.
  4. When using social media, brands are more successful when they take into account the shift in channels through which they reach customers. Rather than focusing on things like shelf placement which were important in the past, brands would be wise to consider placement on a retailer’s Facebook page or email marketing content instead.
  5. For social media campaigns to achieve optimal results, they should exist hand-in-hand with other necessary marketing and promotional strategies. Social media should be used as a tool, not as an end in itself.

What do you think about the open dialogue that social media creates for CPG brands? How should brands approach activating and monetizing their online presence?