Wittmann looks at engaging consumers with the beef storyWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Casper – As consumers continue to change, the beef industry strives to keep up with consistently changing social media challenges. Ann Wittmann, executive director of the Wyoming Beef Council, outlined the importance of social media in developing and retaining beef demand at the 2014 Wyoming Stock Growers Association Winter Roundup.
“Consumers are not going to search engines. They are finding links and information through social media, which means we have to be there,” she said.
New strategies are necessary to reach the millennial consumer, she noted.
“The goal of the beef checkoff is to increase engagement and positive perceptions of beef,” said Wittmann.
Engagement is critical in today’s advertising because this generation can see the information, but if they don’t react or respond to the message, it isn’t going anywhere, she said.
“This year, 20 percent of the people visiting our website came from social media,” Wittmann stated, noting that the number is up from less than five percent over the last three years.
The Wyoming Beef Council website provides the main hub of information for the organization. They maintain a presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other platforms to direct customers to wybeef.com.
The site contains information about beef, producers and the industry. Most site visits are on the “Meet Our Ranchers” links.
“We know from our digital research that our visitors are interested in the producers,” said Wittmann. “People want to know that producers are feeding a quality product to their own families. This is an advantage, because we can use the ranching lifestyle and the cowboy mystique to get people interested in beef products.”
Beef checkoff dollars also support national social media campaigns.
The “Beef – It’s What’s for Dinner” website includes nutritional information, tips for finding the right cuts of beef and suggestions to prepare it. The site can be followed on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.
“We own that asset because the producer’s checkoff dollar is paying for it. We want to get people interested, and we want to drive them to that site,” said Wittmann. “It is all about engaging the consumer with the product.”
“One of the beauties of social media is that there are endless analytics,” Wittmann said. “We can determine who visits beef websites, where they come from, how they find the sites, how long they stay, if they come back and more.”
“We know what’s bringing visitors to our site and what kind of information they’re looking for,” stated Wittmann.
The last six months of the social media campaign has provided good insight about today’s consumers, she added.
“The important thing about social media is that we have to be relevant. We have to be there when consumers are looking for the information and we have to be inspiring,” Wittmann stated, commenting, that means being creative, quirky, ingenious and notable.
“We are going to collaborate with other Wyoming social media efforts,” Wittmann explained.
The Wyoming Beef Council is hoping to partner with the Wyoming Office of Tourism, blogging sites and other related organizations.
Wittmann closed her presentation by stating, “We don’t have a choice on whether we use social media with this audience. It is a matter of how well we do it.”