Yesterday the Social Media Alliance of Chattanooga hosted Emily Barnett, Social Media Coordinator for Little Debbie, to discuss the brand's strategy. It's clear that the company values social media as an integral part of their marketing plan. Emily, along with a team of four others, helps manage the Little Debbie brand on Twitter and Facebook. In less than two years, Little Debbie's Facebook page has gone from a few thousand fans to close to 1 Million. As I'm writing this post, the page has 937,484 "Likes," and it seems likely that Little Debbie will reach their goal of having a 1 Millionth fan by the end of June.
I've listed some of the highlights from Emily's presentation in hopes that you or your business might be able to learn something from their success:
Little Debbie does a great job of engaging their consumers. Whether it's through contests, national promotions, or the content they create, the brand has had tremendous success getting their consumers to engage with them. The social media team uses HolidayInsights.com to find holidays that they can tie in to their products. Consumers also provide great ideas for content. See this recent photo that was submitted for graduation season - "Swiss Roll Diplomas:"
Emily recommends allowing your Facebook fans to sign up for newsletters and your other social media channels from your Facebook page. This will not only help you gain subscribers but will allow your audience to connect with you in their preferred platform.
It was interesting to hear that Little Debbie keeps all comments on their Facebook page, including the negative ones (unless they're offensive). Companies need a policy in place to know how they'll handle both the good and the bad. Emily explained Little Debbie has chosen to show the full spectrum of comments and the brand's openness to criticism and opinions.
Little Debbie recently decided to start partnering with other company Facebook pages. The Little Debbie page showcases these partners in the Featured "Likes" section, and they occasionally may post something and tag the company in their wall post.
For example, Little Debbie partnered with the Bristol Motor Speedway for an event and gave away Little Debbie snacks to everyone in the crowd. They then used social media to promote this partnership further and engage both their customers and fans along with those of the Speedway.
Little Debbie has cultivated relationships with bloggers who can become advocates for the brand, Emily says. The social media team at Little Debbie attends blogger conferences that relate to their target demographic and looks for ways to partner with bloggers across the country.
While Little Debbie is a national brand that has had major success with their social media strategy, small and large businesses alike can learn from their efforts. As we can see with Little Debbie, it isn't about the hard sales pitch. Instead we see how engagement, brand awareness, and outreach go a long way.
If you have any observations about what works for your business or what doesn't, I'd love to hear your feedback! And if you attended the Social Media Alliance Luncheon yesterday and have other takeaways you'd like to share, please do!