How food manufacturers make Facebook and Twitter pay

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food manufacturers, Social media

Social media-savvy food manufacturers use Facebook and Twitter to forge links with customers that boosts sales in ways that large firms cannot, claims Wilfred Emmanuel Jones, founder of the Black Farmer brand.

In this exclusive podcast recorded at Food & Drink Expo, Jones told consumers are hungry for a relationship with the people who supply their food. “They want a 24-hour relationship and, for the first time, social media really puts them in the boardrooms of food manufacturers and retailers,”​ said Jones.

This offered an opportunity and a challenge that small- to medium-sized firms found much easier to meet that the large corporate companies, he added. “Consumers want to have interaction with senior people​ [within the firms that produce and sell food].

Give something of yourself

“That’s easier for a one-man-and-his-dog business than a big corporate. You can’t just sell to these people – or they will go elsewhere. You have to give something of yourself,”​ he said.

Jones, who preferred Facebook to Twitter, posted up to five times a day on subjects as diverse as business matters and the health of his cats.

When supermarket buyers proved reluctant to stock his range of gluten-free sausages, Jones posted their contact details on his website and invited fans to lobby on his behalf. Black Farmer is now the country’s second largest range of premium sausages, he said.

For our photogallery of highlights from Foodex 2012 and Food & Drink Expo, click here​.

To watch our interview with agriculture minister Jim Paice praising the achievements of food and drink exporters, click here​.

For ethnic food guru Levi Roots’ advice on how to building a winning career as a food entrepreneur, listen to our podcast here​.

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