Over the past year, we have seen more and more food manufacturers and ingredient marketers starting to use social media. In fact, we have connected online with hundreds of food industry executives, marketers, R&D professionals, research chefs and innovative culinary types through sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. And yet we still hear from many food ingredient companies that they are hesitant to get started in social media and have concerns about how to use social media sites and tools.
In his wonderful book on social media interaction, “The Thank You Economy,” Gary Vaynerchuk addresses many of these concerns head-on. Here is our take on some of the more relevant concerns for food marketers.
Are you concerned that someone in the B2B space is never going to interact with you online? Why not? They are still human beings—with the desire for emotional connections, strong relationships and quality engagement. Business transactions are ultimately about goodwill and trust. And social media is one of the best channels to display this. Your customers have smart phones, and personal Twitter and Facebook pages. So why wouldn’t they interact with you online?
Are you stuck because your boss needs to know the ROI and you aren’t able to measure this? Consider this: can you measure the ROI of a handshake, of a first impression, of an employee who went out of his/her way to make something right for a customer? No, but do you expect this level of interaction to take place in your business? Of course!
Are you concerned that you don’t have the time to manage or monitor it? Think about how you are currently allocating your resources. Can you identify somewhere you aren’t spending your money wisely? Consider taking that money and hiring a firm like Anderson Partners to help you with strategy and execution.
Ultimately, you can’t afford not to invest in a social media strategy. The benefits may not be noticed immediately but will be noticed long term; you will have greater brand awareness, stronger brand loyalty, increased word of mouth, improved understanding of your customer needs and direct access to customer feedback. Plus, it’s your customer’s access to the authentic you. Get out there and get started already.