Facebook has over 800m active users. According to Comscore, the average user spends 405 minutes (6.75 hours) a month on Mark Zuckerberg’s social network. Facebook use represents one of every seven minutes users spend online.
Twitter also has formidable online stature with around 140m active users, with 340m messages tweeted every day.
Mintel analyst Robert Parkin previously told this site that "social media remains a genuine opportunity to engage with consumers". Our sister publication FoodNavigator-USA recently reported on a social expert from market analysts Nielsen, that detailed food and drink firms could build consumer trust through online conversations.
We delve into what the big confectionery firms are doing to develop their brands on the big social networks.
Facebook: 5,400* fans (Mars Incorporated)
Twitter: 34,500 followers (@Skittles); 15,600 (@DoveChocolate); 7,000 (@Snickers)
Although Mars doesn’t own the @Mars Twitter handle, (that belongs to a man describing himself as the most controversial artist in America) it has an active Twitter presence through its brands.
The company almost landed itself in hot water earlier this year after a Twitter marketing ploy involving model Katie Price (Jordan) and footballer Rio Ferdinand.
The two celebrities and others stars posted photos of themselves posing with Snicker Bars shortly after generating buzz by making out-of-character tweets – Ferdinand on the joys of knitting and Price on Eurozone debt problems. Mars was cleared by the UK ad’s watchdog after a complaint was lodged. (See HERE )
Matt Incles, market intelligence manager at Leatherhead Food Research, recently told our publications that Wrigley and in particular Skittles have the most active Facebook pages of all food brands. Skittles has over 22m fans on Facebook.
Facebook: 604,000* fans
Twitter: 11,200 followers (@Nestle)
The company that describes itself as the world’s largest food company perhaps doesn’t have the largest presence of on social networks.
Like Mars it has social network pages for its brands, but can be defensive over user uploaded content as this site found out first hand. ConfectioneryNews.com posted an article directly on the company's corporate Facebook page about Nestlé action on child labour (see HERE ), and it was removed within minutes.
In 2010, Nestlé was criticised for attacks on Facebook fans using altered images of the company logo. In the same year its Facebook pages were attacked by Greenpeace over the firm’s use of palm oil.
Facebook: 887,800* fans (Kraft Foods) 951,100* (Cadbury)
Twitter: 36,000 followers (@KraftFoods); 35,900 (@Cadbury2012)
Cadbury is currently making the most of its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics by giving regular updates of its Games related activities on Twitter.
Kraft’s Oreo Facebook page recently created a media storm in the US when it posted a mock-up of a rainbow cookie on Gay Pride Day, which analysts have called a clever stunt. (See HERE )
Facebook: 24,700* fans; 16m (Ferrero Rocher)
Twitter: 1,300 followers (@FerreroFans)
Ferrero has not upgraded to timeline on its Facebook fan pages and the organisation’s main page does not include a wall for user-uploaded content.
Its Ferrero Rocher Facebook page is its most active. Here it runs seasonal promotions on events such as Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day.
The company is less active on Twitter. On this social network it has posted only 10 tweets, the last from 2009.
Facebook: 5.1*m fans
Twitter: 7,100 followers
Hershey is another preferencing Facebook over Twitter. It hasn’t yet converted to the Facebook timeline, but regularly updates its page on this social network with videos of its latest commercials and new product launches.
Its presence on Twitter is less apparent. The company has never tweeted.
Perhaps this is linked to Mintel analyst Parkin's view that Twitter is "still very much at its early stages of brand involvement and remains a relatively niche network"?
*Facebook ‘fans’ and followers numbers have been rounded up to the nearest hundred from yesterday’s figures.