Stirring up Customer Engagement at Chobani

LAESmith    February 8, 2016

I will admit that until very recently I was not familiar with the brand Chobani. You see, despite being the number one Greek yogurt in the United States, Chobani’s line of all-natural, non-GMO products aren’t currently available in Canada. However, when I started researching companies using social media as a means to engage their customers I kept seeing the Chobani name come up, so I decided to explore this brand and its strategy a little deeper. And now I’m thinking it might be time for a road trip south to see what all the fuss is about.

Founded just over 10 years ago by Kurdish-American businessman Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani has quickly risen to the forefront of the yogurt industry capitalizing on the market shift towards the creamier Greek-style of yogurt. In a 2013 interview Ulukaya stated that at the time of Chobani’s product launch in 2007 “Greek yogurt market share in the United States was less than 1 percent. And today it is almost 60 percent.” Becoming the top brand in that marketplace is quite the accomplishment, and proves that the company is doing something right not only with its product but its marketing strategy as well.

Before Chobani even started utilizing Instagram they noticed that fans of their products were already posting their own pictures of recipes they had prepared using Chobani as a key ingredient. This inspired Chobani to hop on board and capitalize on what their fans had already started. Using hashtags like #chobani and #madewithchobani the company now posts their own recipes and continues to encourage others to do the same. Chobani keeps their account current for its 111k followers by regularly posting seasonally relevant posts such as Super Bowl party snack recipes, limited-time product releases and socially conscious images.

In addition to Instagram, Chobani is very active on Facebook and Twitter seeing approximately 1,500 tweets a day and over 150 Facebook comments and posts a day. They also have their own YouTube channel where they post videos of food being prepared using their products, their TV commercials and product reviews posted by consumers. Their YouTube channel has over 7,200 subscribers and has reached almost 16 million views since its inception in 2009. Not bad for a bunch of videos about yogurt.

So what does Chobani gain from all of the effort they put in to their social media activity?

“First and foremost, social gives us the opportunity to connect with our consumers on a deeper level. And as a result, we also gain imperative insights that influence new products, new flavors, and new ventures.”Emily Schildt, Digital Communications Manager at Chobani

From my own browsing of their Facebook page I saw many posts from customers declaring their love for certain flavours and asking that they remain in the product line-up. I also saw many posters who seemed pleasantly surprised to have actually received a response from the company. According to Chobani’s Social Media Strategist Ashley Butler “making sure you can talk to everyone that’s talking to you” is a big part of Chobani’s social media strategy.

You can hear a full interview with Ashley Butler as conducted by Nick Westergaard of Brand Driven Digital here:

Lessons for Others

Opening up your company to consumers on social media can be a scary proposition. On one hand the positive benefits can be far-reaching and can mean immense customer loyalty and insight but on the other it can leave you open to tremendous scrutiny. As with any product, Chobani gets its fair share of negative posts on their social media accounts but how they deal with them is what makes a difference to customers. One quick look at Chobani’s Facebook page will show you that they typically respond to customer posts within an hour. Whether it comes in the form of liking someone’s picture of their toddler covered in Chobani’s TOTS yogurt, or offering to make good on someone’s unsatisfactory experience with a free replacement, Chobani sets out to turn even the most negative comments into a positive.

Organization: Chobani
Industry: Food Processing - Yogurt
Name of Organization Contact: Ashley Butler, Social Media Strategist

Authored by: LAESmith

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


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