Nestlé: Use of Social Media

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Nestlé is the world’s largest food and nutrition company, headquartered at Vevey, Switzerland. The company functions in over 80 countries of the world. Nestlé promotes nutrition, health, and wellness by creating shared values across the organization (Wikipedia, 2011). The use of social media has assumed significance in the world of digital marketing and for establishing a close connection between employers, employees, and consumers. For a global company like Nestlé, it becomes central to establish its social media footprints. This company analysis seeks to understand the usage of social media by Nestlé, and the strategy adopted to attract and handle customers through its proper usage.

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Usage of social media

On visiting Nestlé’s website, one finds the names of Twitter (Twitter, 2011), Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook (Facebook, 2011). Further, as we glance through the statistical details of the social media pages of Nestlé as of 21 December 2011, we find that there are 282,745 likes on the Facebook page, 481 subscribers on YouTube, and 9,533 followers on Twitter. Flickr has been used to share photos and update the viewers about the events of the past. Searches do show the Nestlé pages on Orkut as well. Clearly, after the analysis of recent updates, one would find that Nestlé has been using Facebook and Twitter extensively to connect to the online community. Facebook boasts of over 800 million users and this makes every company use it as a social connecting tool to attract customers and for branding purposes concerning its competitors. Nestlé too cannot lag and uses it the most, despite an online ruckus on its Facebook page that erupted over the palm oil use. Nestlé uses Facebook extensively and its strategy is to utilize the extensive network and connectivity of this social website.

Online campaigns are extremely effective. It can have both positive and negative consequences. Like in the Nestlé case, in early 2010, there were reports of negative campaigning on its Facebook page by site users as Greenpeace had reported that Nestlé was using palm oil from companies that destroyed rain forests. Nestlé was forced to make changes, audit its supply chain and cancel contracts with any firms that threatened the rain forests to extract the product, and in turn put many species under the danger of extinction (Hickman, 2010). There is positivity too; when the company projects itself, and releases its products or shows any corporate social responsibility campaigns on social media, it tends to go viral due to sharing nature of such sites, and thus more potential customers could view it as a good and ethical company. This surely enhances the brand image of the product, and hence the company. A few months back, Nestlé launched a new animated social media campaign to encourage healthier drinking habits for consumers in the USA by Nestlé Waters. The Nature’s Fix campaign started in August 2011 and has been successful as this has been used to showcase Nestlé’s leadership and commitment to tackle global water problems. Another example is Nestlé Purina celebrating a decade of passion for pets (Nestlé Media Page, 2011). The campaigns were launched on YouTube and Facebook pages. Yet another evidence of the success of Nestlé using Facebook has been that KitKat reached more than 2.5 million fans. Thus the efficacy with which these commercials, promotions, and campaigns have been proved beneficial to Nestlé ((Nestlé Home Page, 2011).

Strategy for handling customers

Consumer trust is the first thing to win and the last thing to lose for any company. Any event that may be related to quality assurance issues and other food products may severely hamper the company’s brand image among the consumers. Nestlé has policies and strategic control mechanisms to take care of Greenpeace sort of campaigns. Though there is no specific guideline as such against or for the usage of social media in its annual reports, the governance reports do take into consideration certain vital factors that may affect results. Today’s consumers have become more informed through the use of various media platforms to keep themselves updated. They also compare products while purchasing on various parameters, including how socially responsible the company is, apart from doing business and amassing profits. Information that the company is not sustainable with its business practices may lead to the furtherance of the troubles and terrible losses in terms of branding loss and operating profits. Being a global player also brings the regional effect into the picture as Nestlé has to take care of the motives of the regional nations and contribute to its development apart from business (Nestlé Annual Report, 2011).

The crux of the issue is to use the available social media responsibly. The brand enhancement and destruction of the reputation are both possible. In this era of extensive competition, the use of social media has only aggravated corporate war. The intermediate agencies like NGOs do play a major role in this game. Nestlé has used social media to a great effect except when there was an anti- Nestlé campaign. But that incidence has positive aspects as it made Nestlé more responsible towards the consumers and the world, in general.

References

Facebook, 2011. Nestlé. Web.

Hickman, M. , 2010. Online protest drives Nestlé to environmental friendly palm

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Oil, The Guardian. Web.

Nestlé, 2011. Annual Report 2010. Web.

Nestlé Home Page, 2011. Nestlé. Web.

Nestlé Media Page, 2011. Nestlé. Web.

Twitter, 2011. Nestlé S.A.

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Wikipedia, 2011. Nestlé. (2011). Web.

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