Having the right ‘voice’ is key to establishing an effective and engaging brand presence in social media. But what about when your corporation needs multiple voices – for distinct products with their own respective fan bases? Hershey’s provides a great example of this – North America’s largest chocolatier has Facebook pages for many of its brands, including Hershey’s Syrup, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Ranchers, Reese’s and more.
Once fans log onto the Hershey’s Facebook page (with over 3.2 million fans), they can scroll down and find “more fun on Facebook” through links to Facebook pages for Hershey’s Bliss, Hershey’s Syrup, Hershey’s Kiss and Hershey’s Kitchens (“recipes for every occasion”).
Anna Lingeris, public relations manager at Hershey’s, spoke with Ragan.com about how her team engages fans of these multiple brands on social media, after inheriting the company’s Facebook pages from the marketing department.
The main question is: why does Hershey’s keep Facebook pages for each of these individual brands? “Each brand has its own personality,” Lingeris says. “To mash them all into one, you’re doing a disservice, because you’re looking at it from a corporate standpoint rather than a brand standpoint.”
While the classic Hershey’s page has a “genial, friendly tone,” the Reese’s page is more “conversational” and the Kitchens page posts tips for fans and boasts a “resident baking expert” to answer questions right on the Facebook wall.
Once fans are on a Hershey’s page, Lingeris aims to make Facebook “a one-stop shop” for them. Rather than promoting events that are happening elsewhere, Hershey’s found success with a s’mores photo contest held entirely on Facebook.
But not everything is individualized for a specific Hershey’s brand on Facebook. “Sometimes content is cross-posted among multiple pages” says Lingeris, including polls, behind-the-scenes videos, photos and more. The team also looks to other social media, including Twitter and Pinterest, to find content to post on Facebook.
What is the timing for posts? Lingeris and her team post once or twice every day on Hershey’s Facebook accounts, with the philosophy that “more content generates more engagement.” Fans’ questions are answered if the company’s “decision tree” determines that they should receive a response – so there’s a system in place to respond to questions, but it doesn’t guarantee that each post will receive a reply.
Lingeris also stressed the importance of listening to fans, being “aware of what your fans want to hear, what they want to talk about” and recognizing that sometimes “They just want to voice their opinion.” Which is often perfect for the brand, because fans are happy to share their love of the product.
And when fans do express their love – or their dissatisfaction – respond immediately when appropriate. When Vinny Martino, a boy with Down syndrome and leukemia, posted on a Facebook page that Hershey’s declined to send the T-shirt he had requested, fans immediately began sharing their disappoinment. Lingeris’ team was closely monitoring the page and immediately send Martino a package with T-shirts and wrote a response for not sending them in the first place.
Martino posted a picture of himself in the shirts (which he collects), and Hershey’s turned a potential PR flub into a social media success. “We took something that could quickly escalate into a more negative situation and made it positive,” Lingeris told Ragan.com.
By letting “each personality to shine through” on Facebook, Hershey’s is engaging fans across a wide spectrum of products in a much more intimate way than a broad, all-encompassing “Hershey’s” page would allow.