For the latest instalment in our series of posts looking at how brands use the four main social networks I have decided to turn the spotlight on Kellogg’s.

The breakfast brand has a massive range of products that appear to be well suited to social marketing, so one would probably assume that they have established a strong presence across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

As you’ll see though, that assumption is almost entirely incorrect.

By way of comparison, check out our other posts that took a similar look at brands including Nike, Walmart, Red Bull, Cadbury and McDonalds

Facebook

As far as I can tell Kellogg’s doesn’t have one main corporate Facebook account, but instead has a wide range of separate pages for each of its products.

It’s common for brands to operate individual pages for different sub-brands and markets, but generally they also have one central account as well so Kellogg’s approach is quite unusual.

It might be linked to the fact that campaigners against the use of genetically modified crops targeted Kellogg’s last year and began leaving loads of anti-GM comments on its Facebook page. As a result, the company might have decided to cut its losses and delete the account rather than face the barrage from protestors.

The product pages include Pop-Tarts, Frosted Flakes, Krave and Nutri-Grain, and all of them are used to churn out marketing messages on an almost daily basis.

If we take the Pop-Tarts page as an example, all of the content is product–related and ties into its current marketing activities.

At the moment this includes frequent cartoons that are actually quite entertaining, alongside images of events it sponsors and standard product photos.

The social team also posts text-only updates such as questions, quotes and links to its Instagram feed.

With 4.7m fans the Pop-Tarts account is one of Kellogg’s most popular Facebook pages and as such it achieves a steady number of interactions on each post, with thousands of ‘likes’ and hundreds of comments.

In comparison, the Frosted Flakes and Krave pages have 777,800 and 855,900 fans and consequently receive very low levels of engagement despite having similar content strategies.

The Kellogg’s pages also have a noteworthy collection of apps between them, which typically need access to all your personal data before you can use them.

This includes a Crazy Good Summer ticketing app on the Pop-Tarts page, a game from Frosted Flakes that gives you the chance to win a $10,000 scholarship, and a rewards app from Nutri-Grain.

In general very few people actually bother to use Facebook apps, so it’s interesting to see that Kellogg’s has persisted with them across its product range.

Kellogg’s has also used its Krave UK page to launch new varieties of the cereal in the past few years. For example in September last year it created a Facebook app to promote the new white chocolate brownie flavour, which required its fans to guess where the products would land when they were fired off a ramp in a trolley.

The campaign also involved Facebook advertising such as marketplace ads and promoted posts. This is similar to campaigns by Cadbury, which frequently uses its social platforms to build up excitement around product launches.

Twitter

I’ve said before on many occasions that when evaluating a brand’s success on social you shouldn’t just look at the number of fans and followers that it has managed to attract, yet it’s worth dwelling on the fact that none of Kellogg’s Twitter feeds has more than a few thousands followers.

This is a remarkably low number compared to all the other brands I’ve looked at, several of which have managed to attract millions of Twitter followers.

Even the Pop-Tarts feed is only followed by 6,100 people while the corresponding Facebook page has almost 5m fans.

In fairness none of the feeds – which also include Special K, Krave, Kellogg’s US and Kellogg’s UK – has tweeted that many times so it could be that they’re new to Twitter.

But it more likely reflects the fact the feeds are generally quite uninteresting.

The Pop-Tarts feed tweets a few marketing messages and responses each day, while Krave mainly retweets people that have mentioned the brand in between quirky product-related tweets.

The Kellogg’s US feed is probably the most dull as its tweet include mentions of spring cleaning and tax returns though it does also respond to occasional customer service queries, as does the UK feed.

 

But although its official feeds aren’t that impressive, Kellogg’s did carry out an interesting Twitter campaign to promote the launch of its new Special K Cracker Crisps.

It set up a pop-up shop in central London that only sold the three new varieties of crisps and instead of paying with cash customers had to pay with a tweet.

A menu in the ‘Tweet Shop’ showed the messages people had to tweet out in order to buy a packet:

  • Guilt-free snacking with new, moreish Special K Cracker Crisps. Only 95 calories per bag #tweetshop #spons
  • Special K has gone savoury! 3 flavours to try – sea salt and balsamic vinegar, sweet chilli, sour cream and chives #tweetshop #spons
  • Love new Special K Cracker Crisps- everything you want from a crisp, nothing you don’t #tweetshop #spons

The hashtag ‘#spons’ is to highlight the fact that it’s a sponsored tweet, thereby avoiding any ASA investigations.

The Tweet Shop’s main purpose was probably PR, but it is still a clever way of rewarding people for talking about your new product.

Pinterest

As far as I can tell Kellogg’s isn’t particularly enamoured by Pinterest as it has only established an account for its Froot Loops brand.

In my opinion this is missing a trick, as Special K is the sort of brand that might find an audience on Pinterest bearing in mind its focus on lifestyle and fitness.

The Froot Loops account appears to be relatively new and all of the pins link to the product’s Tumblr.

All of the pins either include actual Froot Loops or the brand logo and give ideas for crafts and games people can create using the product.

Personally I find it quite uninspiring and don’t really see the point of only pinning images from one source and it seems that Pinterest users agree, as the account has only 228 followers. 

Google+

Kellogg’s doesn’t appear to have any presence on Google+, which is odd as often businesses claim their brand name even if they don’t actually bother to post anything.

Most digital marketers believe that Google+ will become more important over time, potentially becoming a sort of official online identity card for Google’s other products and building even closer ties with search results.

And though a number of other brands that I’ve looked at (such as Walmart and McDonalds) haven’t put any effort into their G+ accounts they have at least established an account on the network, so it does seem strange that Kellogg’s has ignored it entirely.