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Too often I hear from brands (large and small, but quizzically, it generally comes from larger organisations) that they haven't got much to say that’s interesting and therefore social media and content marketing would be a waste of time for them.
Just when you think there are deadly boring categories out there populated with brands that, at first glance, probably DON’T have a lot to say, along comes King Arthur Flour to effectively take that argument and knock it out of the park.
Vermont-based King Arthur is America's oldest flour company.
Yes, you read correctly. Flour. That powdery white stuff used for cooking.
This is a business that’s nailing both social media and its online kindred spirit, ‘content marketing’, and doing so better than most large Australian companies operating in higher-interest categories.
What is King Arthur Flour doing that’s so progressive? First of all, the brand focuses on producing interesting and relevant content.
It doesn’t flog us about the ears just talking about its flour and why it’s so great, but rather it takes a more considered and bigger-picture view. Its content strategy is to educate the public on cooking with flour, celebrate the art of baking (also known as ‘food porn’) and generally build and cultivate community of people who are interested in baking.
Furthermore – and importantly – King Arthur Flour markets its brand by telling interesting and informative stories across multiple mediums, especially video.
In keeping with its goal of educating amateur, professional and aspiring bakers, King Arthur Flour runs a baking education centre, a schools-based ‘Life Skills Bread Baking Program’ and a series of travelling, free baking demos.
Let’s shift our attention to King Arthur’s social media channels, an area where it is excelling.
The brand has a thriving community on Facebook, with nearly 90,000 people ‘liking’ the page.
Its Facebook updates are regularly ‘liked’ and commented upon. One such post, in which the brand asked its fans to show “support for American farmers in so many parts of our country battling terrible drought conditions”, attracted more than 2000 likes (this update also featured a video inviting the public to “take a tour with us through the wheat fields of Kansas and meet some of the people who grow wheat that becomes King Arthur Flour”.)
Many of their updates attract between 70 and 100 comments (unlike ‘likes’, comments demonstrate a deeper level of engagement on the part of consumers).
They’re a creative bunch at King Arthur Flour, too.
On the right-hand side of the Facebook page – in the ‘timeline’ – the brand cleverly takes the reader back to 1790 when the company was founded, then on to the 1800s, 1900s and so on. In other words, it uses mini-stories to tell its overall brand story, but produces it in such a way so people can discover it in their own time.
The brand is more active on Twitter than most companies (it has tweeted more than 5500 times and boasts 14,000+ followers). Extending to another social network, 124,000 people have placed King Arthur in their Google+ ‘circles’ while on YouTube, the company’s 70+ educational and storytelling-based videos have had more than 700,000 views.
King Arthur Flour also publishes a glossy hard-copy bimonthly newsletter (which it sells) as well as an award-winning cookbook series.
And to cap everything off, King Arthur features on its website a forum-based community area where consumers and B2B customers can ask questions, share recipes and start discussions around baking and running a bakery business.
Does all this mean King Arthur Flour doesn’t promote its products?
Not at all, but the brand is adept at earning the attention of its customers and adding value to their lives in interesting, relevant and respectful ways. This way, its ‘sales pitch’ can be deliberately low-key and still be effective because consumers have already bought into the brand and its story.
This is marketing today: telling authentic stories with passion and enthusiasm. It educates customers by creating relevant and meaty content and distributing it across different media formats.
Connecting with the marketplace and building a sense of community via multiple social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
And finally, understanding that it’s not all about online communication and that face-to-face and event-based activity is the, ahem, icing on the marketing cake.