Coverage of this session by Sharon Gilmartin of SocialMedia.org. Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

1:30 — SocialMedia.org’s Lauren Clevenger introduces¬†ConAgra Foods’ PR/Social Media Manager,¬†Amy Morgan.

1:31 — Amy starts with a quote, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ConAgra is using social listening to better understand the consumer, not just engage in dialogue.

1:33 — Amy notes that the sheer volume of chatter and content online is overwhelming. Brands listening to this content benefits the brand by acting as a warning system, crowd-sourcing ideas, gaining insight into the consumers’ minds, and garnering feedback with very quick turnaround.

1:35 — Amy says that ConAgra’s approach is three-pronged: listen via social listening tools, ask questions of consumers via polls and surveys, and engage with the consumer off-line through conversations, panels, and other platforms.

1:37 — ConAgra has over a dozen brands, and each has a distinct voice. For each brand, the process involves identifying the core and growth consumers, determining from a social listening standpoint what they’d like to learn from those consumers, finding the right tools, and then finally engaging.

1:39 — Amy gives an example of the Chef Boyardee brand, one of their oldest and most-followed brands. The brand removed “pop-top” can tops, and quickly heard on social how unhappy consumers were with the change. The team needed to get the pop-tops back on the shelves and grab consumers’ attention at the shelf. They vetted two options using an A/B survey, and they received 400+ responses in five hours.

1:40 — The “Pop-tops are back” campaign ran this past summer, and was considered incredibly successful.

1:41 — Amy offers another example through their Slim Jim brand. The brand polled fans on their preferences for a bacon-flavored jerky in light of a potential bacon shortage, and used the findings to inform a very successful Bacon Jerky product launch.

1:43 — A third example: Healthy Choice polled consumers to vet three potential greek frozen yogurt flavors and names. They also simultaneously launched three Facebook ads that were identical except for the names of the frozen yogurt flavor. Ads received the same click-through rates, but the two activities together helped them zero-in on the best name for market.

1:44 — Amy shares that the brand also used a “Wouldn’t it be better if…” crowdsourcing program through their Reddi-Wip brand. The campaign is currently still in the market.

1:45 — Amy says that Hebrew National has tapped their Facebook consumer base to survey consumers for a variety of topics surrounding intentions, tastes, etc.

1:47 — Amy notes that if the brand wants more detailed information following the poll, the team can then conduct more in-depth conversations with a subset of consumers to get additional insight and details.

1:48 — A final example: the Ro*Tel brand found that consumers were pairing their tomatoes with chicken wings. The brand used social listening to learn of that pairing, and then posted a recipe using that combination right before Superbowl to provide consumers with content of interest.

1:49 — Amy reminds the group that Pinterest can be really helpful for testing sentiment and hearing what grabs the attention of consumers. For identifying trends, social media is a great sounding board for determining whether a trend is actually relevant to a brands’ consumers.

1:50 — Amy is excited to share that fielding survey through a mobile app allows her brands to get targeted responses. She reminds the group that social listening really helps the brand integrate the findings with other consumer feedback, and that working in tandem with other business units sets the brand up for the highest success.

Q&A

Q: Has using social for in-store experience given you any key insight?

A: We have a separate in-store team that works directly with retailers, but we are working to make it more integrated.

Q: How do you identify influencers and do you have any results tracking the contributions of the influencers relative to reach and sentiment?

A: Using social listening tools, we just try to determine who is using and talking about our brands. That’s the first step, as we want to reach out to consumers who we know have some brand affinity. We have several brands that have used blog partnerships, and we try to find the biggest advocates in that group. It’s an ongoing process that really varies by brand.

Q: What was the time-frame for the “pop-top” apology?

A: We saw the negative commentary starting to creep up early this year. In March, the product was starting to ship back into stores, and then we really kicked off our campaign in May.

Q: With such a diverse product line, do you have any focused strategy to cross-pollinate to reach audiences that overlap?

A: We have a platform for any of our brands that have recipe content, “Ready, Set, Eat.” There is a lot of synergy between the brands with editorial content.

Q: When you crowdsource, is there anything on your websites that speak to the ownership of the ideas?

A: We have legal language on our sites that is consistent across brands. When we crowdsource, we take it a step further and are very specific in our language about ways we may be using these ideas.

Q: What was the process of how you dealt with the product change for the “pop-top” campaign?

A: When we launch a product, we have a certain “complaint threshold” that we will tolerate. The feedback far exceeded that threshold, and it was for a more extended period of time. It was an exciting thing to be able to respond to the consumers’ feedback.


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