Warren said the company became interested in SM based on the amount of general business interest in it.
Sanese has multiple SM pages
Sanese Services Inc., based in Columbus, Ohio, has separate SM pages for its OCS, vending and catering divisions, noted Jennifer Galloway, marketing director. She said the OCS and catering Facebook pages are more active than the vending Facebook page since there is a greater perceived benefit to OCS and catering. “OCS and catering allow a lot more (social media) options,” she said. “It’s a different audience.”
Galloway said the company has done less with SM on the vending side since it is more concerned about vending competitors finding out what it is doing through SM.
Some of the big consumer product manufacturers that serve the vending industry have invested heavily in SM marketing.
In 2010, PepsiCo Inc. invested close to 50 percent of its U.S. branding budget in SM with the intention of building deeper relationships with customers. Using Facebook, Twitter, live Ustream video and an iPhone application, the “Pepsi Refresh” project urged consumers to suggest social causes that would “refresh the world.” Consumers could then vote for their favorite causes and Pepsi would donate millions to these and use SM to promote the impact that its generosity had on these causes.
The response was spectacular: 80 million votes registered; 60,000 followers on Twitter; 4 million “likes” on Facebook. Nonetheless, PepsiCo lost about 5 percent of its U.S. market share and also lost its number two spot to Diet Coke.
Marketing observers noted the effort focused too much on a movement as opposed to products.
PepsiCo hasn’t been the only company to learn a tough lesson. Last year, Timothy’s Coffee offered four free 24-pack boxes of single-serve K-Cups via Facebook. The company was not prepared to meet the response, and supply was depleted in three days, forcing the company to apologize and offer a coupon or a free 12-pack box.
Competition or support?
In an article last month about mobile marketing, Automatic Merchandiser noted that many vending operators view product supplier marketing over the Internet as competition more than support.
At the same time, vending operators can use product manufacturer initiatives in their own Internet marketing efforts.
Peet’s Coffee & Tea offers a chance to win a trip to a coffee estate in Brazil on its Facebook page.
Hershey Co. has Facebook pages for many of its brands and Hershey’s Kitchens, a recipe page.
The company offers polls, behind-the-scenes videos of making commercials, photos, “word clouds,” and posts from other social media pages.
In 2011, Coca-Cola offered its “Twist Text Win” promotion. Besides providing instant-win prizes, consumers also get points for its “My Coke Rewards” loyalty program that is available online and via mobile.
By doing so, Coca-Cola keeps the consumer experience going for a longer period of time, beyond the sweepstakes. Instead, consumers are challenged to gather points on “My Coke Rewards” and redeem them for physical rewards, digital rewards and to enter sweepstakes. Consumers text the code under the cap to 2563 (COKE) to collect points. Consumers can manage their loyalty accounts online.
This past fall, Seattle’s Best Coffee offered free coffee on Black Friday on its Facebook page. Jenny McCabe, a company spokesperson, told Automatic Merchandiser the promotion brought an additional 70,000 Facebook fans with no other advertising, resulting in total 330,000 Facebook fans. The goal was to build brand awareness.
Vending operators who sell Seattle’s Best Coffee could have advertised the offer and in the process directed customers to their own offers.
“The vend channel will benefit from the iconic Mars brands’ 360-degree marketing campaigns,” said Lauren Nodzak, spokesperson for Mars Chocolate North America. “We see social marketing as an opportunity to facilitate connections between our brands and consumers. Social media is a two-way medium, and the consumer is our best source of information and inspiration for products. Through this instantaneous relationship, we can monitor and respond to consumer feedback and attitudes.”