Consumer advocates are adept at organizing online campaigns to air concerns about regulatory issues. Your social media presence can provide a quick and thorough means to address these concerns and win new customers. Here, Julie Miguel of Daily Tiramisu answers my questions about social media’s role in educating consumers and maintaining brand reputation. Miguel will be speaking at the upcoming 7th Annual Food Regulatory & Quality Assurance Summit held October 18-19 in Toronto, ON.
Food Online: What role does social media play in the food manufacturer/consumer relationship?
Miguel: Social media is really important for brand recognition and consumer confidence. Nowadays, one of the most prominent places where consumers are finding out about new products is by way of social media: through influencers, bloggers and through food makers’ social media channels. Consumers take to social media to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about products/services and the more transparent your company is, the more consumers will trust the product service that you are offering. Consumers also want to interact with the company’s that they’re customers of, they want to have a connection to the brand other than just going to the store and buying it or using the service.
Food Online: Why is it important for food manufacturers to have an active social media presence?
Miguel: You’re only as good as your last post. Once that 12 hour feed is gone on say, Instagram, the likelihood that someone is going to search your profile is very slim to none. Staying active doesn’t only mean posting, but it includes mentions and tags, also. Engaging with those customers who have tagged or mentioned you is also crucial. They took time out of their day to tell their followers about the great new product/service. The least you can do is acknowledge them and thank them for sharing. Having a hashtag is an easy way to follow up where your brand has been mentioned. Allocating some resources to manage your social media will be very beneficial in the long run.
Food Online: What social media practices do you see successful brands employing?
Miguel: Successful brands use all social media tools available and they also create a unique post for each of the different social media channels, such as hashtags and beautiful, bright photos and engaging comments on Instagram. The latest big brands are using a lot of video and live broadcasting mediums, such as Facebook live, snapchat, or periscope. It’s really fun for consumers because they can get a behind the scenes look at what’s going on at the company’s headquarters or at an event where they are being featured. It makes a company’s social media more genuine and it’s also a great way to engage your audience. Successful brands are also up-to-date on what’s trending, and incorporate the trending topics into posts; it’s a great way to engage customers.
Food Online: What are some first steps a food company might take to begin its social media presence to both help consumers and maintain trust in the company?
Miguel: First, you must think about what messages you want to get across to your customers and open a social media account for Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and snapchat. You should also start a YouTube channel. Decide which platform you will use for which message (purpose) i.e. Snapchat will be used for fun posts about office shenanigans or new product testing fun to show that your company is a fun and modern place to work.
Next, assign a marketing person to handle these accounts being sure that they understand the message your company wants to deliver. Schedule posts and be sure you are doing a post a day on the main stream social media channels. A YouTube channel is great for a few short videos on presenting your brands to the world and these videos can also be promoted across all main stream channels.
Third, create an editorial calendar and get inspiration from industry leaders, competitors and clients as well as from the trending topics of the day. You should use online markets, such as Creative Market or Fiverr, to create custom graphics, animations for posting on social media.
Finally, create a blog on your website and use social media to promote new blog posts. This will drive traffic to your website as well as to your product/service!
If you want to learn more about these steps to establishing your social plan and presence, you can attend my presentation at 7th Annual Food Regulatory & Quality Assurance Summit where I will touch on the previously mentioned points and expand on some unique ways to engage your customers.
About Julie Miguel
Julie is a digital content producer with a specialization in food media as well as an active food blogger. The focus of her blog, Daily Tiramisu, is to empower home cooks to be fearless in the kitchen and she does this by taking traditionally difficult recipes and making them easier to execute. Julie’s food media career began after she placed 7th on the inaugural season of CTV’s MasterChef Canada. Since then, she started her blog and has made numerous appearances on The Marilyn Denis Show and other National and Local Television channels. When she’s not developing recipes for her clients, Julie sits on the Program Advisory Council at Centennial College where she acts as an industry advisor for their Food Media program. She is also the Blog Award Chair for the Taste Canada Awards where she administers the Blog Award and also acts as the webmaster and Taste Canada Cooks the Books Stage Assistant. Follow Julie on Twitter: @julie_miguel
Be sure to attend the 7th Annual Food Regulatory & Quality Assurance Summit where Julie Miguel will be sharing insights on how your company can educate customers about compliance with innovative social media strategies and instill consumer confidence. This year’s summit takes place October 18-19 at the Toronto Marriott Airport Hotel, Toronto, ON. For more information, click here.