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Andy’s Answers: How J.M. Smucker Co. keeps consumers engaged while maintaining 20+ brands

J.M. Smucker Co. brands
(Image credit: The J.M. Smucker Co.)

With over 20 food brands under their belt, The J.M. Smucker Company had an issue with staying unified and engaging with online consumers. When Ray Hancart was brought on as social media manager, he discovered two problems keeping his team up at night. The first was making sure they were providing value to their consumers. The second issue, because of the scope of the brand, was making sure they weren’t treating their consumers like “mindless sheep.”

In his presentation at’s Brands-Only Summit, Ray explained how they revamped their customer engagement strategy on social media using the following guidelines:

  • Each piece of content has to be valuable to the consumer. At J. M. Smucker, all social media content now has to express at least one of the following: financial relief, knowledge, empathy, humor, soliciting input, or shared beliefs.
  • Make the brand more knowledgeable and easily accessible. Before, there was a disconnect between day-time specialists and off-hours customer care. So they found a platform to track ongoing conversations with online users and strengthened their internal network, legal team, and archive team to better answer questions.
  • It’s okay to test content, as long as you learn from it. By testing content on their social channels, Ray’s team was able to identify valuable insights and opportunities that would have been missed otherwise.
  • Protect the brand under fire. As a food manufacturer, they learned that in most cases, they were deemed guilty until proven innocent. Smucker’s armed their customer care team with information covering these key areas: ingredients, manufacturing, product size and quality, sourcing, and marketing parameters.

Watch Ray’s full presentation in the video.

You can also check out Ray’s presentation deck here.

Andy Sernovitz builds organizations that help people help each other. His company, GasPedal, builds peer-to-peer communities for people leading meaningful change at the world’s biggest companies, including and Health. He wrote the best-selling book Word of Mouth Marketing that teaches you how to earn the respect and recommendation of your customers.