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71 percent of all U.S. adults are online. 72 percent of online adults are social networking site users1. Social networking is a part of everyday life and a part of the social fabric of modern society. It is also an increasingly important part of every marketer’s toolkit. Whether it’s a retailer inviting consumers to Like them on Facebook, a brand retweeting a loyal fan’s recipe on Twitter, or a producer connecting with growers through a group on LinkedIn, people are constantly interacting with brands on social media. Furthermore, the common refrain that social media only works for consumer-focused companies is misguided at best, and irrational at worst. B2B companies are made of people – people that engage in social media, people who develop relationships – people who make business decisions.
Social media is an increasingly important conduit for businesses to get found by and engage with potential buyers on the web. 93% of marketers plan to maintain or increase social media ad spending in 2014.2 When broken down by channel, 47 percent of advertisers say that they will be increasing their spend in social media ads, with 46 percent maintaining current budget levels. On the flip side, this means that just seven percent will be decreasing their spend on social media advertising, which is a strong testament to the perceived value of this medium. The produce industry continues to lag behind in the adoption and integration of social media platforms and tools, even as grocery retailers turn in ever increasing numbers to social media to fuel connections with consumers.
At this year’s Fresh Summit conference session Creating Fruit and Veggie Passion, Bolthouse Farms’ CEO Jeff Dunn called on the produce industry to recognize that its primary competition is junk food, and the failure to fight that battle is having a drastic effect on the health of America. To compete, fresh produce needs to start marketing at a high sophistication level equal to that of the CPG brands, as well as increasing their marketing spend to gain the attention of the consumer. Harnessing the power of social media for marketing and business intelligence will be a critical component to winning that battle.
– Bradley Fitzhenry
Brand Manager, MJR Creative Group
November 21, 2013
1 Joanna Brenner, Pew Internet Project, Pew Research Center, August 5, 2013.
2 Emarketer: Social, Video Sites Will See Big Boosts in US Advertiser Spending, http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Social-Video-Sites-Will-See-Big-Boosts-US-Advertiser-Spending/1010300, October 15, 2013.