Engaging customers through social media

It is no secret that today’s consumers are not what they used to be and that the digital era has brought many new challenges for marketers. Consumers are now more powerful and demanding than ever since they have the ability to find product information and compare brands in a matter of seconds. Communication between companies and customers has shifted away from one-way towards a two-way conversation where consumers want to be heard.

This week’s industry reading “Customer Engagement: The Best of the Best” highlights the importance of listening and knowing your customer to gain their loyalty and mainly focuses on the significance of engaging customers by providing real-time, convenient, and personalised experiences across different channels.

I found very interesting how companies like Lenovo are successfully using social media data and insights to deliver more relevant products and connect with customers through real-time marketing. This drew my attention as what I have perceived from my digital marketing experience is that many businesses still do not know how to use social media. Many companies use social media platforms just as an extension of their advertising efforts or to develop a company’s profile where content is generated daily but with no customer engagement whatsoever.

When looking into social media marketing successful examples, Lenovo’s case reminded me of Chobani and how this brand builds loyalty by engaging customers across its social media channels. Founded over ten years ago, Chobani is now the top yoghurt brand in the United States with a 60 percent of the market share.

So, how a low-involvement product such as Greek yoghurt generates customer engagement and brand loyalty? The following are some marketing strategies the company has used.

  • Increasing WOM by encouraging user-generated content:

Chobani created a marketing campaign on social media encouraging consumers to share their “love experience” with the brand by submitting video clips, photographs, and comments.

Love Stories1

These stories not only helped in spreading WOM and creating a community of Chobani lovers called “Chobaniacs” but also allowed the brand to engage emotionally with its customers by using their real-life stories as input for advertisements. (Watch the following video about one of their advertisements)

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  • Using social media for real-time marketing: Every mention of the brand online generates an immediate response from the company. For example, through social media, the company identifies consumers that have never tried the brand and offers them free packages.
  • Leveraging the power of social media to connect deeper with their customers: This has enabled the company to know their customers better and get insights for new products. For example, the black cherry flavour was introduced as a result of suggestions from consumers.

According to market research firm SymphonyIRI Group, Chobani is the top brand for brand engagement in its category. It is a clear example of a company where the customer is the core of the business and where channels are integrated to engage consumers in a relevant, convenient and responsive way. Are there other examples you can think of?

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5 thoughts on “Engaging customers through social media

  1. A great example and analysis of the chobani campaign. I like that you raised the point that yoghurt is a low-involvement product, so it is certainly a testament to their campaign that they achieved such positive engagement. Do you think there are any products/ categories that could not achieve engagement with their customers? What is the qualifier for being an ‘engagable’ company or product? If there is no qualifier, why do so many brands miss the mark in facilitating engagement?

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    1. Hi Teagan, thank you. I really appreciate your comments. Regarding your questions: I don’t think there are brands that cannot achieve engagement, although it is undeniable that some categories naturally generate more consumer involvement than others. But still, if you think for example of insurance companies. Insurance is not something people love shopping for or that you think it will generate high levels of consumer engagement. Nevertheless, there are many examples of insurance companies who are succeeding on social media. At this moment it comes to mind the example of Geico (auto insurance brand) and its campaign of “Gecko’s Journey Across America”, which highly engaged consumers and increased followers across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I think its success has been partly a result of the combination of and innovative and humorous campaign along with the right selection of media channels. Also, it seems the effective use of analytics and data-driven insight to target and engage their audience has played a key role in their success as well.

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  2. Great post Catalina. I really like the marketing examples you discussed in particular the use of “user generated content”. This strategy really hits 2 birds with one stone. On one hand consumers are engaged as they are able to share personal experiences and on the other, they get the opportunity to have a fleeting moment of fame. Every body loves 10 seconds of fame. I personally came across Chobani myself via WOM so they really done a fantastic job in marketing themselves.

    In one of your links they mentioned that they like to acknowledge every mention of Chobani online and I think that’s an amazing attitude in putting customers first and the willingness to invest the time to interact with them. Now that I know this about them it kinda makes me like them even more 🙂

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    1. Hi Ann, completely agree. I think their “share your Chobani love story campaign” is a clever strategy that encourages participation and engagement by triggering emotions in consumers. Also, I found fascinating what they are doing by targeting people on social media who haven’t tried the product and send them a package for free. As one of the articles’ writer said: “once ambivalent about which yogurt I buy, a simple Twitter exchange made me brand loyal”. I have to say that I came across this campaign on YouTube and it encouraged me to try the yoghurt even though I am not into added-sugar yoghurts myself.

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  3. Hi Catalina,
    What a great post about engaging customers using social media! I agree and think it’s so important for businesses using social media, to understand the importance of actually engaging with customers and not just posting for the sake of it.
    Your Chobani example was great! They really are using social media effectively and showing that if used correctly, it can help to build the brand even further!
    I always love it when I interact with brands on social media. It makes you feel more connected to the brand and help build brand loyalty.
    The film distributors, Madman, are really good at interacting with their customers on social media. When I volunteered for the Melbourne International Film Festival, I was tweeting about it and Madman responded to one of my tweets and that kind of thing makes me feel closer to the brand. Is it the same for you? Madman does this a lot via twitter and Instagram and even takes recommendations on which film and TV shows they choose to distribute.
    Thanks for a fantastic post!
    Sam

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