Saturday, 3 December 2011

As the Giant Pandas arrive in Scotland, Dean’s is released into the wild…

Travelling North on Thursday I listened to the news story about the long awaited arrival of two giant pandas in Scotland, I wondered if we would ever see the day that a panda cub is released into it’s natural habitat to enjoy life in the wild. I realised the purpose of my trip had striking similarities to that scenario; I was going to visit Dean’s to start the transition from fatBuzz managing their social media to them doing it internally.

Dean’s now feel comfortable about managing their social media presence and I am confident that they will manage it and, continue to grow their highly engaged community. Dean’s is a great client, they listen to advice, they have embraced social media, they opted for an organic growth and, they committed to the plan – now they are reaping the rewards.

The main thrust of their social media presence are the blog, Facebook page and, Twitter. However, they are now starting to enjoy success with video content on YouTube and phenomenal download numbers from their video podcast on iTunes. They have also adopted tools such as QR Codes; they have perhaps one of the best examples you’ll see in their recently published Recipe Book (Try scanning this QR Code lifted from the Scottish Scones page in the book).

Dean’s opted for an organic growth in order to build a relevant community that wants to engage with the brand. Yes, we did run the odd competition but only if it was relevant to Dean’s product range. They were patient in the development of the community and they trusted the plan to attract fans and followers with good, interesting, relevant and, regular content; they avoided big giveaways and irrelevant promotions and that will now pay dividends.

Visits to the blog are very healthy and growing, “likes” on their Facebook page are increasing everyday, followers on Twitter are multiplying but the team at Dean’s are not overly concerned with numbers; they are rightly concentrating on relevance and engagement rather than big numbers. The number of shares, likes, tweets, re-tweets, tags and, comments are the important figures for them. They are open to suggestions and willing to try things; likewise, they have made great suggestions based on their increased understanding of social media and how it works. They are not afraid to try things, neither are they overly concerned if not all of the initiatives are a resounding success.

It’s not the end of the relationship between fatBuzz and Dean’s; it’s the start of a new relationship. Much like a wildlife expert may tag a newly released cub in order to track it’s progress and keep a watchful eye, fatBuzz will adopt a “watching” brief, helping them if they require it. Moreover, we will continue to provide social media marketing ideas and keep them abreast of new tools as they emerge.

A year ago when we first met Dean’s, we said our aim was to get them to a stage where they could manage their own social media; it’s something we say to every client and we mean it. The client will always be more knowledgeable and passionate about their product than we can ever be, our role is to show them how build a community and how to transmit that knowledge and passion in an engaging manner. We are genuinely happy that Dean’s have reached this stage and that we have played a small part in helping them on the road to social media success.

I am increasingly frustrated at the numerous reports, surveys and, “research” that suggest businesses are not benefiting from social media. Certain people seem all too ready to report failure – but we don’t conduct surveys or commission research because many people fail their driving test, what’s the difference? They’ve done something wrong and they’ve failed. I firmly believe any organisation that claims social media participation was a failure has done it badly. Usually, they didn’t understand it or have a clear reason for doing it, they didn’t have a strategy and, they weren’t truly committed to it.

Fortunately, more and more brands like Dean’s are emerging and they will be the winners and here’s why:
  • they have a clearly defined strategy
  • they have adopted social media as part of their overall communications strategy
  • they have an excellent content strategy
These are the reasons why Dean’s will succeed and, why they are now ready to be released into the very natural habitat that is social media.

Oh, I almost forgot, they have a great team and a world-beating product range - I wonder if pandas like shortbread!

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