Spicing up sales with social media marketing!

Ken Lupton    November 9, 2015

Oganization: McIlhenny Co.


Industry: Food and Beverage

CEO: Tony Simmons

Web references: FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, Bloomberg Business

Tabasco, Wikipedia,

Edmond McIlhenny was the American businessman that invented and manufactured  Tabasco branded pepper sauce.  In his Avery family garden, between 1866 and 1868, he grew his first commercial pepper crop and sold the bottles in the following year.  It is sold mainly in places like New Orleans and other Gulf coast locations like Galveston, Texas. Initially, they expanded into larger markets like New York City with the help of the major food manufacturer and distributor. E. C. Hazard and Company.

Since the first bottle of Tabasco was produced in 1868, the recipe and the process has remained unchanged.


The process involves aging a mix of hand-picked peppers and salt for up to three years in old oak whiskey barrels, and then mixing it with vinegar and bottling it on Avery Island, LA.

With an old school process that involves the company president, Tony Simmons, who uses his experienced eye to select the perfect plants for seed extraction from the pepper fields in it’s home base in Louisiana.  The seeds are picked and shipped for crop in other locations in Central and South America.  Pickers use a little red stick that Cajun’s call a “le petit bâton rouge” to match the color.  This process is labor intensive, but it ensures that only the perfect peppers go into the sauce.  Once picked, they are then introduce into the sauce production process.

In an effort to be more environmentally responsible, Tabasco is always looking for new ways to improve their business and operations and minimize their environmental footprint according to Tabasco’s Sustainability Report.

Tabasco sauces are labelled in 22 languages and dialects, and prepared for shipment to more than 165 countries worldwide, they produce 700.000 bottles a day.

How it’s made on The Science Channel did an episode on the entire process.

Tabasco’s original red pepper sauce measures between 2,500-5,000 SHU on the Scoville scale.

facebook post

Tabasco is extremely active in social media marketing with multiple FaceBook posts and campaigns to help drive customer engagement.  Like this campaign that asks followers to submit their photos with the hashtag #FeedYourOriginal.  The Group of Seven Chefs then selects the most original to win a trip to Tabasco’s home town of Avery Island, LA. This new campaign will  help increase traffic, exposure, and develop loyal fans.


This is a little different type of social media marketing campaign.  This type of campaign is geared more around generating sales and growing the business by directly sending you to a buy now page on Tabasco’s website.

In this interview from Social Media Marketing’s Michael Stelzner, he asked Amy Porterfield, co-author of the book Facebook Marketing All in One for Dummies, on how to run a successful Facebook ad campaign.  This podcast should help you discover what is needed to get started with Facebook ads or improve your already existing ad campaign.

Social media marketing is a big opportunity for Tabasco.  Many but not all large global companies leverage social media for marketing.  The use of social networks and media can serve as a replacement for the older methods.  There are many benefits to social media marketing.  Tabasco has used social media to benefit from all available marketing tools.  According to the Social Media Examiner, 96% of business us social media marketing and 84% say they have integrated social media marketing with traditional forms of marketing.  Some of the main benefits of social media marketing are:

  1. Increased exposure-Tabasco has more than 3million likes on Facebook, 27k followers on twitter
  2. Increased traffic to your website or blog
  3. Develop loyal fans-every campaign results in loads of customer engagement.
  4. Provide market place insight-Tabasco continually post recipes.  you can search over 1,000 recipes on their site.
  5. Generate Leads
  6. Improve search rankings
  7. Grow business
  8. Improve overall sales-Tabasco is No. 13 Best-Selling Condiment with total sales of $40,572,270
  9. Reduced marketing expenses

source: The Social Media Examiner.

In an interview with Todd Schaus from Xstreamview,  he talks about how he plans to use social media marketing to increase traffic, exposure and ultimately grow the business.  Todd is the president of Xstreamview, a relatively new company and he talks about not knowing what really works at this point.  They have started with Facebook ads and YouTube videos, but are yet to jump in with both feet to all the social media tools that are available.  Xstreamview will need to take a page out of Tabasco’s social media works!



Lessons:  In order to develop a social media marketing strategy, you must be ready to throw some mud on the wall to see what sticks.  Social media marketing will help with your overall brand exposure, website traffic, loyal fan base, increase your search ranking and overall business growth.

  • Plan your campaign and target market.
  • Create content that gains attention and encourages engagement.
  • Develop your brand and share your information and blog with links to outside. information that your target audience may be interested in.
  • Keep an eye on what your direct competitors are doing.  Use some of that data to help you with keyword research.
  • Make sure to track your campaigns with analytics to help measure the success.
  • Use as many tools


Submitted By: Ken Lupton

To contact the author of this entry please email at: k2lupton@uwaterloo.ca

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.