[Case Study] Why Ben & Jerry’s is the Most Social Ice Cream Brand
How does an analytics company celebrate National Ice Cream Month? Answer: We analyze the social media presence of a leading ice cream brand. With over 4M fans and followers, Ben & Jerry’s was the perfect case study to satisfy our sweet tooth.
What we discovered is that social is a core component of their marketing initiatives. With a seamless flow between their website and all their social channels, this isn’t just something they “have to do.” It is something they fully embrace and reap many benefits from. In this post, we are breaking down some of their social media strategies to highlight why they are so successful.
Increasing Engagement with New Flavor Announcements
Ben & Jerry’s is known for their innovative ice cream flavors that fans can become quite fanatical about. (Just ask our CEO about the merits of Cherry Garcia if you need more proof.) Their new flavor announcements area great example of product promotions done right through social media. Their formula is simple: announce the flavor and include a tantalizing product shot. Given how “tasty” these look in a Facebook feed, it’s not surprising that the most recent announcements averaged 23K engagements per post.
Driving Offline Engagement
Ben & Jerry’s also uses social channels to facilitate consumer participation both online and offline. For example, this summer @BenJerryTruck(s) are traveling up and down the East and West Coasts, promoting their new Greek Frozen Yogurt. While they are in a particular city, followers Tweet and tell them where they should show go. This Twitter activity increases their social engagement. This campaign also drives offline activity with the truck visits. By raising awareness for their new product line in this way, they are turning social fans into actual consumers, via free ice cream. All of which (we can assume) results in increased sales.
Amplifying Their Message
Beyond the world of ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s is also known for promoting social change. Currently they are a part of the “Get the Dough of Politics” campaign to “put democracy back where it belongs.” By communicating these messages through their social channels (see below), they are able to amplify their content and connect with an even greater number of people. All of whom could turn into Ben & Jerry’s consumers.
Creating An Interactive Community
On their Facebook Page they run a weekly photo contest where fans submit photos of their Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Each week, Ben & Jerry’s selects a favorite and it gets promoted as the “Fan Foto” of the week. This simple weekly engagement activity motivates fans to interact with their page and increases fan engagement. They also average over 300 engagements per post. Campaigns like this foster an interactive Facebook community, rather than having a group of passive fans.
What Does This Mean for Your Brand?
Not every brand wants to get involved with politics, nor can everyone drive around the country giving away free samples. However, your brand may benefit from trying an integrated offline/online campaign. Or perhaps creating a weekly fan promo will help turn your passive listeners into engaged social participants. By experimenting with campaigns and programs like Ben & Jerry’s, you will learn more about what drives engagement with your audience and provide you with the data needed to run successful social campaigns.
Adam is the Co-Founder and VP of Strategy at Simply Measured. In 2010 (aka the dark ages of social marketing), Adam joined Damon Cortesi and Aviel Ginzburg to found "Untitled Startup, Inc" with the goal of helping marketers and analysts use social data to do their best work. The company quickly evolved to become Simply Measured and the trusted leader in social analytics. Outside of Simply Measured, Adam is a golfer, breakfast enthusiast, and long-time data geek.