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Meatsnacks Group Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott on content and social media

Agnieszka Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 14 November 2017

Marketing manager for Meatsnacks Group Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott on content marketing

Meatsnacks Group logo 150x150Social Media Portal (SMP): What is your full and what do you do there for Meatsnacks Group Ltd?

Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott (JMN): I?m Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott the marketing manager for the Meatsnacks Group.  I?m responsible for all the communications and marketing strategy and planning for the Meatsnacks Group.  In addition to this,  I?m currently project managing the creation of the new branding that we?re launching and designing and implementing our launch activity.  It?s a varied role and very hands on.  I?m also a chartered marketer and work on CPD regularly.

Photograph of Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott the marketing manager for the Meatsnacks GroupSMP: Briefly, tell us about Meatsnacks

JMN: The Meatsnacks Group is Europe?s largest manufacturer of jerky and biltong with two jerky factories in the Scottish Highlands and the biltong factory in Milton Keynes.  We are currently producing beef, pork and chicken jerky in Forres and have just opened a new factory in Grantown on Spey for salmon jerky which launched in September.  We have a unique biltong drying room in Milton Keynes that was designed by two of our founders who are from South Africa.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

: Our jerky and biltong meets a number of consumer need states such as meal replacement, alternative snacking, post-gym recovery, and social sharing.  Being able to cross so many consumer need states means that we can reach a wider consumer base.

SMP: How did you initially attract users to site, social channels et al and how do you do it now?

JMN: We included our social media channels on all our packaging as an initial method to attract users to our site and did limited social media.  

We?ve now got a robust content strategy in place since the spring and have been increasing our content on our blogs and the range of content we share on our social channels.   This has generated more engagement and feedback from users and ultimately more brand awareness.

SMP: What are the challenges that you?ve encountered and how are you overcoming them in what you have been doing so far at Meatsnacks?

JMN: Our main challenge over the last 12-months has been the challenge of a house of brands versus brand house strategy that we?ve worked on and to overcome this I?ve focused on content marketing and using our blogs and social channels to raise awareness of our brands.  We also brought all our communications in-house too and although it?s been a steep learning curve with getting contacts for the media together, what do they want to hear about and when it?s been a great challenge and now after 10-months we?re seeing great results every month with the coverage we?re getting.

WildWest image

SMP: The social accounts look relatively new, why is this?

: The Meatsnacks Group accounts are only two years old, as the Group was formed from a merger so this has taken time to create the group accounts from a low base.  Our other social accounts for Wild West and Cruga have been going since before I joined the business two years ago.

SMP: Where does trade media fit into your communications plan and what is the plan for consumer media?

JMN: Trade media is important in our communications plan, especially as we are launching new branding for our top selling brands Wild West and Cruga.  Wild West has 24% share of the jerky and biltong market and Cruga 8%.*  I?ve developed relationships over the past 12-months since we brought all our communications in-house and this has proved very useful for getting our message to trade buyers.

** Source: IRI w/e 18 June 2017

SMP: What is your budget for media and how are you using it to reach our audiences (B2B and B2C)?

JMN: For B2C we?re focusing our spend on promotions and marketing within the retailers we are stocked in, which is complement by social media advertising.  We also attend events so that we can sample direct with our consumers and find that this is so beneficial to have that direct feedback and contact with the end consumer.

For our B2B customers is it supporting the sales team with email marketing and collateral the can use in the sales tool kit.

SMP: Give some brief examples of a few campaigns you have been managing recently.

JMN: Weekly content sharing on our social channels wasn?t really driving results until I discovered the MeetEdgar social media management platform.  This platform allows me to schedule all our blog content across our channels and since we started using it in July our reach and engagement has increased by 12%.

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

JMN: Having control of our communications and having the trade press coming to us has been a major highlight for me.  This has included a profile piece for our MD in Meat Trades Journal that appeared online and in print, plus product placement this year on Coronation Street and The Only Way is Essex.  We?ve also been featured on the and our blog content has enabled us to double the referrals to our website from our social channels YOY.

WildWest product images

SMP: What are the main social channels are you using, why and which are the most effective for Meatsnacks?

JMN: Our main channels for our brands are WildWest Snacks on Facebook
WildWest Snacks on Twitter, Cruga Bilton on Facebook  and Cruga Biltong on Twitter.

I use the Facebook accounts for running any competitions and Twitter is great for when celebrating things like #NationalJerkyDay.

I use LinkedIn and Twitter for sharing any group news wider than just our brands and aimed at buyers and trade media.

Meatsnacks on Twitter and Meats Snacks group on LinkedIn.

The insights that Facebook and Twitter give you are great data for finding out what posts are working and what aren?t so that we can plan our content.

SMP: What sort of activity / engagement are you receiving across the social channels that you use and how do you create / sustain this?

WildWest on Facebook

JMN: I?ve started using for some regular scheduling of our blogs and social media content and I?ve seen our engagement in our post about our oxygen sachet had an organic reach of 7K in August alone and was the most commented on post.  

Wild West Snacks on Twitter performs really well with over 32K impressions over the last couple of months which is down to tweets and competitions our brand ambassadors have run.  The Meatsnacks Group Twitter account which has less followers has received 44K impressions on Twitter in the last two months and this is growing.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities for your sector and the competition that you have?

The biggest challenge for me is educating consumers about jerky and biltong. They are still an unknown snack and we?re working to make them mainstream, with permanent fixtures in retailers.  Although general education may benefit our competitors too, we have a 77% market share so we consider all mentions a win for the category and a win for us.

SMP: What is the most challenging part of building upon your brand presence in digital environments?

I find it challenging to cut through the noise of all the messages that consumers are getting pushed at them 24/7.  I find you need to come up with something that is relevant to them as an individual.  Rather than just focusing on your brand focus on how you can help your consumer with their problems.

SMP: What do you think is going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media, social networks and/or technology for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

JMN: Algorithms, how do you stay with them? Will we ever be able to predict them?  I feel that these keep marketers on our toes about how to get messages and engagement from followers.  We know that people are consuming their news through social media and we as brands need to be on the channels where our consumers are and social channels are key.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for social media for the next 12 to 18-months and why?

JMN replies with:

  • Data, there will be more focus on using the insights available to target followers.

  • Video, I believe that there will be in an increase in video content as users are turning to social channels for all their information and news and want to consume it in different ways.

  • Social media advertising will continue to grow as the platforms reduce the number if followers that see content organically.  Brands will need to develop more viral content to be seen this way.

  • More and more businesses will have to focus on content marketing as consumers are looking for brands to answer more of the problems direct and with a personal approach.

  • New social platforms will continue to challenge established platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

SMP: What are your top overall five social media tips and why?

JMN replies with:

  • Make sure that you have one social channel for your business on Twitter, Facebook etc.  Otherwise it?ll be come difficult to manage and look after your followers.  You don?t want to dilute the effort you?re putting in each day.

  • You need to go onto your social channels a few times a day but not let it overtake your day.  I tend to go on first thing, late morning and lunchtime and before the end of the day to respond to comments and post and new items that have come up.  This way I can get on with other work during the day too!

  • Use a scheduling tool.  There are a few out there MeetEdgar, Hootsuite etc and use this for regular posts across your channels.  It helps to free up time too.

  • Monitor. use the insights tools on each channel to work out what posts are working not working so that you can adept and change depending on the level of engagement form your followers.

  • Follow others. Follow other people?s channels, those you admire, competitors and see what conversations they are creating and get involved with them.  It?ll be good for your brand and you?ll be remembered.  

SMP: Is there anything else we should know, or is there anything that you?d like to share?

JMN: The Meatsnacks Group will be launching new branding on their top two brands Wild West and Cruga in September 2017 with the key launch to the trade at Anuga, Cologne.

SMP: Best way to contact you and Meatsnacks?

JMN: The best way to contact me on Twitter @JenMN1 or LinkedIn.

Are there any videos you can point me to? Please provide direct and unique URLs to YouTube video et al.

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

JMN: For breakfast I always start my day with a bowl of granola, Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit.

SMP: What?s the last good thing that you did for someone?

JMN: Supporting our friend who?s been going through radio therapy for the last month.

SMP: If you weren?t working at Meatsnacks what would you be doing?

JMN: I?d be job hunting!  I?d probably be a housewife looking after my husband and two children and being involved in the community.

SMP: When / where did you go on your last holiday and why?

JMN: We went in our Motorhome to Sandend, on the north east coast of Scotland. It?s quiet, with a sandy beach to go surfing and watch the dolphins.  

SMP: What?s the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

JMN: I always check my social media accounts and post/respond to anything that?s current that day.  I find it the best way to see what?s current in marketing and social media too.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

JMN: It would have to be some of Wonder Women?s superhuman strength, durability and longevity.

Have you got an interesting story to tell? Get in touch.

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