APFISurvey_S.MediaRecent mar-com research published by Anderson Partners Food Ingredients provides an interesting look into how leading food ingredient companies are utilizing social media platforms as part of their overall marketing communications programs. Two-thirds of the food marketing execs that responded to the survey indicated that their companies were currently using social media as part of their marketing mix.

Food ingredient marketers have discovered that using social media delivers value on many levels. One-third of respondents reported that they successfully use social media to increase awareness of their brands and products. Nearly one-fourth noted the value of social media in generating sales leads. Still, other are keying on the “high-touch” possibilities, using social media to enhance customer support and increase transparency.

The social media platform used most widely by food ingredient companies was LinkedIn. Over 48% of respondents cited LinkedIn, far more than any other social media option. LinkedIn’s popularity comes from its relevance in the B-to-B environment. In particular, the LinkedIn discussion groups like FIMC (Food Ingredient Marketing Communications), the Food Marketing Network and INgredients all provide forums for connecting and engaging with customers in marketing, R&D and product development. LinkedIn also provides tools that help facilitate customer contact, either directly or through networking groups. Some of these applications are available on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, but LinkedIn remains the B-to-B leader among food ingredient companies.

These findings on social media usage are part of a new research study conducted among mar-com executives at leading national food ingredient companies. The research also covers a range of relevant marketing communications topics, including the general state of mar-com programs, best trade show tactics, how to engage prospects and measuring ROI. A summary report titled Best Practice Research Report for Food Ingredient Marketers is available by contacting Anderson Partners Food Ingredients.