Nouf AlQethami was recruited as a Community Manager by Goody back in 2010, when that position was still very new & unfamiliar in the region. In 2 years, her job responsibilities grew with the rise of social media marketing, to become in charge of all of Goody’s digital activities.
In her role, she focuses on achieving Goody’s goals of building brand loyalty among existing customers, raising and increasing awareness about the company’s large variety of products,and building a community that maintains a good level of engagement among its target audience which is Saudi females, between 20 and 45, single and married, who are cooking enthusiasts. Based on the brand’s goals and target audience, she developed the social media strategy after brainstorming with the brand manager and marketing department, researching competitors and studying the Saudi market. After thorough assessment, she concluded that Saudi females extensively search for recipes from expert chefs in the region and also from peers in their networks, which were mostly forums. The young females also thought of Goody as a “mommy” brand, something that moms used that is ancient and not modern. Therefore, there was a need for a local online community that can meet these females’ requirements, and building a community using social networking sites would help the brand communicate with the young females and create a “trendier” image.
She realized that building a community will take a lot of time, effort and resources, and the company was willing to invest and commit to that. The first step in building the community was opening a Facebook Group, in March 2011, as a small-scale experiment, then in January 2012, a full-fledged Facebook Page was launched. A twitter account was also launched earlier in November 2010 but was only activated this past year. The brand’s youtube channel was also created in September 2010, but only activated about a year ago. Nouf stated that, due to lack of knowledge in those times, it was important to just join these social networks, listen and experiment until she develops a clear content and communication strategy. She continues to experiment with social media as she adds relevant new and upcoming social networking sites into the mix, such as Instagram.
The brand had ready content since it was already maintaining an offline cooking magazine as well as a website filled with local recipes; the website was recently remodeled to be “social”, and the content was used to build conversations and engage with the target audience around what recipes they like and use or like to learn, and drive them to the website’s community. The brand focused then on creating valuable content that encourages the audience to engage with it and share it, rather than on pushing for product promotion in a direct and uninteresting way. The content strategy was also supported with a communication strategy that aimed to enable cooking enthusiasts, and support them by giving them space to showcase their cooking skills in The Goody Kitchen community, to turn them into brand evangelists. It’s important to note that the brand uses only the Arabic language in its content and to communicate with its target audience.
Nouf has utilized a mix of tactics to achieve the brand’s goals, ranging from online to offline. She leveraged the Goody Cooking Academy, which offers cooking enthusiasts 5 free cooking courses, to fuel content as well as connect with its audience on a more personal level and reward it. She also maintains regular social media competitions on Goody Kitchen’s Facebook Page, as well as third-party platforms such as Yahoo! Maktoob,with prizes ranging from electronic devices, to Goody products, or a feature/ shout-out in the brand’s new magazine “The Goody Kitchen”, which is a very good example of integration between traditional and digital media. Nouf believes that such integration is very important in the Saudi market because there is a big percentage of the brand’s target audience, mostly the older ones, who do not use social networking sites or have preference for traditional mass media such as newspapers and magazines. She believes that having digital and traditional media support each other is a good way to convert the offline audience to online, and to give the online audience something tangible they can keep and value.
Nouf has also used some one-off tactics to increase fans/followers growth and engagement, such as product placement of Goody’s fava beans in an episode of a popular Saudi youtube show called “Masameer”, which targeted young males who are the main buyers of this product. This tactic did not only just achieve the best results in terms of views, likes and virality, seen below, but it has also created a big buzz in the Saudi online population on the topic of product placement in Youtube show, i.e. the commercialization of social shows. After the success of this tactic, she was encouraged to also test it on Twitter by getting sponsored tweets from HawaaWorld, the largest community of Saudi females online, and WAM (Women Appreciation Month) that is organized by femi9, the fashion brand. These tactics are great in increasing reach; however, when it comes to increasing engagement, Goody Kitchen’s own Youtube Videos with Chef Sumaya and featuring fans’ own recipes are the most engaging.
When it came to measuring the results, Nouf translated its brand goals into metrics: brand awareness meant reach and fans/followers growth, brand loyalty and community building meant engagement, and social2web conversion meant traffic. To measure these metrics, she used tools such as Facebook Pages Insights, Klout.com for Twitter, and GoogleAnalytics, and used competitors such as Shahiya.com, YumYummy.com and SahawHana.com for benchmarking.
This post is part of my MBA thesis, titled "Leveraging Social Media Marketing in Food and FMCG Industry in Saudi Arabia". To stay updated with the rest of the thesis, subscribe to my blog!