Zach Barkus Webinar Discussion Summary

Zach Barkus, an alumni of Lebanon Valley College, currently works for Campbell’s Soups and is in charge of their Leading Mobile Strategy and Emerging Partnerships. In our discussion, Zach talked about some techniques and strategies that he and his team at Campbell’s uses for their social media campaign, some tips about how to use social media as a tool, rather than just for fun, and lastly about the practices that companies will adopt in the future.

Of all the things that Zach talked about,  engagement with the consumer seemed the be the most important point of his presentation. A large number of followers simply isn’t enough anymore, but a good company engages with those followers. He believes that the expectations of consumers are changing- they now have a higher hope for a relationship between the brand and the consumer. Because of this, companies have to pay attention to their customer base and model their posts accordingly. For example, Zach explained how Campbell’s is aware that moms look online after work, and they utilize that time to post a recipe on Facebook. They look for the times with the biggest reward on a post.

Another major point of Zach’s presentation was unplanned vs. planned social media strategies. Some planned strategies can be shorts, say three months, or long, say three years, depending on the desired outcome of events. The purpose of planned events is obvious- to have a fluid marketing campaign that will develop brand identity. This has been the norm up until the last few years, where with such increased social media usage, we are now seeing unplanned strategies as well. They provide a brand with an opportunity to make a statement and get widespread attention. The classic example, that Zach referenced, was the Oreo tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout.

Zach also talked about some of the strategies that we will see companies adopt in the future. Google, for example, is beginning to track user behavior. With data such as GPS tracking, they can have an entire day tracked out based off of the data. Google can then sell this data to companies who are interested in targeting a certain audience. Going back to the mom example, companies like Campbell’s who target moms, will be interested in the data that tracks moms’ daily routines. If the data indeed confirms that moms do leave work around 4:30, then those companies can target their ads in that time frame. This could be done using the Facebook post of a recipe around that time as mentioned earlier, or even sending an alert of a deal to mom’s smartphones not long after 4:30 pm.

Zach gave an excellent presentation and I’m thankful that he took time out of his day to do that for us. If we were able to ask questions after the presentation, here are my questions-

  • What do you do when people say mean and angry things against the Campbell’s brand(s) on social media? Just ignore them? Or something else?
  • Have you or Campbell’s thought about using some of the other forms of social media such as Vine, Snapchat, or Pinterest?
  • Do your social media posts have to go through some sort of proof-reading/checking process before being sent out?
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