Which candy companies use social media best?

Hint: It’s about so much more than "Likes."

candy social media

It turns out that candy companies really "like" Facebook. Or at least there’s where a majority of them have focused their social media efforts.

In fact, few brands have any presence at all on Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest, at least according to a new report from Unmetric, a social media benchmarking company based in New York, N.Y. (View an amazing info graphic expaling the study's findings here). 

Unmetric recently analyzed the social media efforts of popular candy brands during August and September of this year, and discovered some interesting insights into what’s working and what’s not for confectionery companies online.

Some highlights:

► Women make up the majority of candy brand fans online. (i.e. Nestlé Crunch has three female fans for every male).
Kit Kat is the preferred candy among young people, with 67% of fans younger than 21.
Hershey’s is the most talkative candy on Facebook, posting almost twice as often as the next closest brand.
M&M’s does the best to engage users.

Lux Narayan, Unmetric’s ceo, says the data is important, because, “even brands that seem fun and whimsical to consumers, like candy, need to remain interesting and engaging to their fans.”

He goes on to say that at first, he was surprised to learn that so many candy brands were focusing solely on Facebook.

“But with 1 billion users, it makes sense that these brands would focus on reaching the largest pool of their consumers,” Narayan explains.

The final report focuses strictly on Facebook analytics, going beyond total number of fans to investigate growth metrics, engagement and content strategy.

In terms of raw number of fans, Hershey’s Reese’s tops all candies, nearing ten million total fans.

However, Kit Kat, also part of  Hershey’s stable of brands in the United States, is catching up, growing its fan base by a remarkable 20% over the last four months. In a large part, Kit Kat’s “Fan of the Month” contest during the month of September contributed to this growth.

Succeeding at social media is more complicated than fan numbers and growth though. It’s about identifying with your fans, posting engaging content and creating real conversations, Unmetric says.

The company assigned company’s Unmetric scores based on a blend of various quantitative and qualitative metrics, weighted and averaged by sector to produce a single benchmarkable score ranging from zero to 100.

Mars’ M&M’s scores the highest among all candies on Facebook, with a score of 55. Reese’s isn’t too far behind though, with a score of 54.

In terms of posts, Hershey’s is easily the most talkative candy on Facebook, posting almost twice as often as the next closest brand. However, while Hershey’s replied to a respectable 13% of fan posts, putting it in third place, it also had to deal with the highest number of negative fan posts, likely due to the scrutiny it’s been under for its labor issues in the cocoa fields.  

Nestlé Crunch wins when it comes to responsiveness, replying to 24% of fan posts in an average of just over 4 hours — both bests among all candies measured.

However, while Hershey’s and Nestlé Crunch do a great job of talking, both are yet to hit upon a winning formula for starting conversations.

Unmetric considers each post’s Likes, Comments, Shares and Impressions to determine a weighted average engagement score for each candy brand. M&M’s wins big in this category with a weighted average engagement score of 312. Reese’s comes in second with 203 per post, while Mondelez International’s Sour Patch Kids comes in last with an average engagement score of 17.

That’s a lot of talk. But what is it that these candy brands are actually talking about? During the last four months, the most common type of post was a question to fans.

However, posts that encourage fan participation get the most people talking, while questions to fans come in second place.

And, Reese’s struck gold by posting recipes, which were the most engaging posts of all for the time period measured. Peanut butter cup-marinated turkey anyone?

Here’s a breakdown of some notable metrics, gathered from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, 2012:

Unmetric Score
1.     M&M’s – 55
2.     Reese’s – 54
3.     Kit Kat – 46
4.     Hershey’s – 40
5.     Snickers – 37

Total Fans
1.     Reese’s –  9,926,317
2.     Kit Kat –  8,026,272
3.     Hershey’s –  5,429,317
4.     Snickers – 4,523,350
5.     M&M’s – 3,904,936

1.     Kit Kat – 20.6%
2.     Nestle Crunch – 8.8%
3.     3 Musketeers – 6.8%
4.     Sour Patch Kids  – 4.9%
5.     Hershey’s – 4.4%

Average Engagement
1.     M&M’s – 312
2.     Reese’s – 203
3.     Snickers – 46;
Kit Kat – 46
4.     Hershey’s – 42
3 Musketeers –  42

Admin Reply Percentage
1.     Nestle Crunch – 24%
2.     3 Musketeers – 15%
3.     Hershey’s – 13%
4.     Reese’s – 7%
5.     Kit Kat – 4%;
Snickers – 4%

Average Admin Reply Time
1.     Nestle Crunch – 4 hours 3 minutes
2.     Hershey’s – 6 hours 41 minutes
3.     Snickers – 6 hours 44 minutes
4.     Kit Kat – 8 hours 24 minutes
5.     M&M’s – 9 hours 28 minutes

Largest Gender Disparity Among Fans
1.     Nestle Crunch – 78% female, 22% male
2.     Hershey’s – 76% female, 24% male
3.   Kit Kat – 69% female, 31% male
4.   Snicker’s and Sour Patch Kids – 66% female, 34% male
5.   Reese’s – 61% female, 39% male

Next: View an amazing info graphic detailing the study's findings. 

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