One look at the social media playground and you will observe that a lot of the players are from the food/restaurant niche. And not only they’re just playing, but are scoring nicely as well. Social media is something that has worked out wonderfully for them and it is not surprising that some of them have a community with more than 30 million members. Now, building such a huge community requires a sound strategy coupled with immaculate implementation to ensure that it is always abuzz with conversations; and also results in increased footfalls into your outlets. I was always curious to know what goes on behind the management of such a huge community and last week I got an opportunity to interview Ms. Prachi R. Chaturvedi, DGM Marketing at Mad Over Donuts – Himesh Foods Pvt. Ltd. In this interview, she explained how they go about managing their marketing efforts on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, their social media strategy and what they intend to do in future. So keep reading as I am pretty sure there’s a lot of information here for you to take away from this interview:
As social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter are vastly different from each other. How does your strategy for Facebook differ from your Twitter strategy?
Our core strategy on Facebook and Twitter is more about letting people see what we’re all about and engaging with them; fresh, delicious, gourmet donuts and refreshing coffees. We consciously maintain consistency across the platforms with our communication and content strategy. It’s not wrong to say that one can easily get lost in the fast paced environment of Twitter. So instead of us flooding people with tweets, we get people to flood us! We want to be a part of people’s special moments and every moment that’s spent at our store is valuable to us. So Twitter is more centered on people and their experiences with us. On Facebook, we intentionally tried to be more visually appealing as food needs to satiate not just the palate but also the eye. Also, community building is a HUGE part of Facebook and we want to make sure that every one of the 300k+ fan base we have on Facebook looks forward to our updates as much as we look forward to seeing their comments and experiences.
How often do you tweet and post updates on Facebook? In your opinion, what is the best time to post that ensures maximum participation from your community?
Generally twice a day on twitter and one to two times a day on Facebook. Evenings are the best time to post. For Twitter we post as and when we feel, albeit in moderation.
What type of content works best to keep the community engaged with your brand?
Our Content is driven by pictures and conversations. Any content we post is to try and induce a response and spark a conversation rather than doing an FYI. Our fans look for constant innovation. So a fair portion of our content is dedicated to new flavor launches and promoting existing top sellers.
Being hands on is the only way to make sure you can give personal attention to the tons of conversations. While tools help, we try not to rely heavily on them. Our response mechanism is almost real time because we want it to be that way and Tools can usually complicate it. Tools are used majorly during hash tag contests to monitor the effectiveness and participation.What is your average response time while replying to a tweet or a facebook comment?
We have a 6 hour window generally to answer all queries on either of these platforms, but we try to answer them within 2 hours.
How do you handle a disgruntled customer?
We generally take the conversation with disgruntled customers off social networking platforms and try to resolve it personally via email or phone. We prefer to interact one on one with anybody who gives us critical feedback and make sure we incorporate suggestions that they provide as best as we can.
Do you offer discount coupons to a cribbing customer in order to regain their loyalty? If yes, at what level are such decisions taken and how is this communicated to the ground staff?
Discounting may not always be the solution to a genuine problem. At times, guests require a hearing ear and personal attention and things are sorted. We have mostly ensured our guests come back to us happy and satisfied.
Recently, you had organized #ForMyDonut contest on Twitter. Can you please share with us details about how the contest was received by your community and what were your major takeaways from it?
We run two general contests on Twitter every month. The idea is to engage with our followers on Twitter regularly. The contest lasts for a period of 24 hours and we get an average of 150 tweets for every contest in 24 hours. In the case of #ForMyDonut, we received 146 tweets of which a few were re-tweeted as well. Our giveaway for such contests is a voucher which allows the winner to redeem it for a box of 12 Donuts from any MOD outlet. The number of winners range between 2 – 5 people per contest. Most of our contests last for 24 hours and we’ve had hash tags that trended worldwide like #ReplaceMovieNamewithExam and Hash tags that received a moderate response like #ForMyDonut.
How often do you get flavour suggestions from your Suggest A Flavour app on Facebook?
‘Suggest A Flavour’ is an app designed with a specific purpose. We use it to leverage our various store launch activities. So, the app is in full swing when a store launch is around the corner. The response has been overwhelming.
You are one of the first Indian brands to have used Facebook Offers and all your 3,000 offers were lapped up by your consumers in a very short time. Can you tell us how much of it resulted in actual sales? And will you try Facebook Offers again?
As mentioned earlier, we are a young and fun loving brand. So are our socially active followers. Our activities on facebook have generally proven to give positive results. The quick download was expected. Moreover, we received a redemption of 6%. We will surely explore the medium more in future.
At the end of the month when you sit down and analyze, what are the key metrics you look for when determining the ROI of your social media efforts? What tools do you use to measure these metrics?
Like I said, we usually don’t like to over complicate matters. So we use mainly Facebook Insights for reporting. Also our twitter reporting is very objective. We look for new likes, Engagement, Virality and other regular things. Also, we look for trends as to what time do posts get top engagement, what kinds of posts get maximum likes etc. Similarly for Twitter we use basic metrics like # of followers added, mentions, the kind of mentions etc. Social Media ROI for us is based on how happy our overall community is. Which technically no tool except reading their feedback can tell us.
Do you look into user reviews on sites such as Zomato, Burrp and MouthShut?
Definitely! What goes up on the internet is very critical to us. As a brand, we make conscious efforts to ensure that people take away happy memories from our stores. If it hasn’t been one and if they’ve shared that, we want to make it up to them by incorporating their feedback and improve.
Can you give as an introduction about the team that is behind your social media marketing efforts?
We have been working with Gozoop Online Pvt. Ltd. as our Social media partners for over 3 years now. We call them partners as they truly understand our values, propositions and take ownership of being our Brand custodians online.
Do you have any social media policy in place? If yes, what is the purpose of it? If no, how do your employees know what can be done on social media and what cannot?
There is a basic policy which is followed by every employee apart from our partners. These is a part of our induction process. Hence it becomes easy for each and everyone to know how he is socially bound as far as brand is concerned.
A lot of businesses have started giving more importance to social media as a marketing channel. How much of your marketing budget is spent on social media?
We are a young brand. Most of our young followers are active online. We have taken special care to allocate part of our budget to social media accordingly. There is a healthy balance between our offline and online spends
How has your social media marketing budget varied over the last few years/months?
Given the intense use of various applications and facebook updates for brands, our twitter strategy, budgets have also increased from past years.
Do you use Linkedin for hiring?
Yes, to an extent.
Why don’t you have a blog? Any specific reason or just an unexplored territory?
We want to make the best use of existing platforms before venturing into new ones. Hence no real activity has taken place with regards to blogging. We will soon look into exploring this opportunity.
You have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter. Are looking to explore other social media platforms such as Google+, Pinterest or maybe even a Tumblr blog?
Yes, we are going to begin with Pinterest very soon. As for G+ and Tumblr – well, G+ we are still undecided about, to be honest. Although India is one of the top adopters of G+, just very basic conversations and observation tells us that not many really use it actively. So while there is volume in there, we suspect we will not get the kind of quality we strive for. Tumblr is far more interesting. However, for a brand like ours, we need to use it wisely. We are still just in the nascent stages of exploring this avenue.
Do you think adding YouTube to your marketing mix can help your business?
This one is for the future! How near or far we can’t tell at this point. Youtube interests us for sure, as a Video can capture experiences like no picture or story can. However due to company policies we haven’t allowed videos at our store locations yet. Other opportunities like viral videos are being explored though. We want to be Brand focused when we enter the Youtube Marketing space and that too, with a bang!
Go mad over donuts now! ;)