By Crystal Lindell
If you sell candy and you’re not on Facebook yet, then I have really bad for news for you - the world has passed you by while you did not pass Go and did not collect $200.
But don’t take my 20-something word for it, just look at the data.
An article at MyCustomer.com ranked UK companies’ Facebook pages by the number of fans who followed them (or clicked “like” on their pages). The results show just how sweet social media is - four of the top five were confectionery companies.
With about 2.9 million fans, Skilttles ranked number two, behind number one Burberry, which has more than 8.6 million fans. Coming in third was Cadbury Creame Egg, with about 2 million fans; followed by Cadbury Wispa, with about 1.8 million fans; and Maltesers at number 5, with about 1 million fans.
I’d like to think the data means confectionery companies finally have figured out that they need to spend their time where their shoppers spend their time. That they finally understand how to be open-minded about the whole social media thing, and that there will never ever be a need for even one more column begging confectioners to sign on.
And we can all move on with our lives. The End.
Of course though, that’s not the end. Because even when companies sign up for Facebook, and create charming profile pictures featuring their product and smiles, and then they amass large numbers of fans simply because people like candy, that doesn’t mean the work is done.
In fact, that’s when the social media work starts. Because unlike commercials or print ads, the job doesn’t end when you plop your message into the world and hope that someone, somewhere responds. Rather, with social media, that’s when the companies are given the wonderful gift of direct contact to consumers, and the marketing can start.
It’s when brands can reach their audience at all hours in all places, whether it’s 11 a.m. at a desk via a computer, at 5 p.m. on the train via a laptop, or at mid-night in the bathtub via a smart phone.
It’s when confectioners can dramatically increase brand awareness, simply by posting things like, “I’m making a horror movie about a world without Skittles. What should I call it?”, and then receiving replies from people professing their love for your product, such as, “The dark side of the rainbow,” and “No Skittles! No Rainbows! Know Skittles! Know Rainbows!”
It’s when candy companies can finally market to the core of their customers by creating a fun dialogue that makes them want to buy Maltesers not just because they taste good, but because they feel like their purchase supports a friend they communicate with online.
But, I think, most importantly, it’s when businesses can figure out how to keep customers who otherwise would “dislike” if not for the glorious opportunity to complain. Because when customers have the opportunity to complain, they’ve just given a company the greatest gift of all - the opportunity to resolve the issue.
So go forth, and create the prettiest Facebook page ever, and then rack up a million fans. But don’t forget to engage, communicate and respond, because that my Facebook friends, is how you grow your consumer base one “fan” at a time.