By Manita Dosanjh

April 3rd, 2015

Easter is the naughtiest holiday, that’s a universal truth.

At no other time of year can you shamelessly send yourself into a chocolate coma without having to courteously endure less exciting food first. And a chocolate egg is just a chocolate egg right? As long as there is copious amounts of chocolate, does it matter where it came from?

Easter can be a tough fight for chocolate brands, and at a time when your product is neck-and-neck with your competitors, festive success can become all about the social buzz. But with so much noise out there, it can be difficult to set yourself apart from the easter competition and make your audience pay attention.

As a sweet-toothed Brit with a short attention span, I am particularly impressionable around Easter. Unlike those of my countryman who may have sworn a lifelong allegiance to Dairy Milk, or (ahem) Galaxy, I have no allegiances and I’m not ashamed of it. I will go wherever the social media wind carries me.

Armed with our trusty Listen product, we’ve been able to collect some interesting insights into the UK’s biggest selling chocolate brands over the past weekend:

easter competition

It’s pretty obvious here who’s been stirring up the biggest social storm. Weird and wacky Creme Egg and national British darling Dairy Milk are beating out the rest with brand mentions across the interweb. So how did they manage it?

The genius behind food porn
Creme Egg have invested a lot of resource into carving out an effective social media personality. Combining the persona of a loud-guilty-pleasure-that-refuses-to-stay-hidden with mouth watering dessert ideas, the brand has been gaining traction the foodie blogosphere.

easter competition social media

And now it’s paying off. With top food bloggers like ‘A Mummy Too’ sending out Creme Egg related content to their legions of followers, the brand has benefitted from a huge spike in Twitter engagement. By jumping on the #foodporn bandwagon, the Creme Egg has become more than just a chocolate treat, it’s now an essential ingredient for the perfect Easter dessert. This is a great example of how the right influencer can enhance your brand’s presence on social.

Lesson learned: A strong social media customer persona, fuelled by strategic content, will attract an influential brand ambassador.

Finding the right brand partner
Unlike its more risqué counterpart, Dairy Milk is the UK’s national treasure. Having been named the UK’s most beloved chocolate bar several times in the past, the brand has adopted a wholesome family-friendly persona, and its Easter social efforts are no exception.

If we filter by source in our Listen report we can see that 85% of Dairy Milk’s brand mentions have come from Twitter over the weekend, and using the Discovery tool we can see the type of brand messaging that users are engaging with. A lot of Twitter buzz has been rolling off the back of a few well-targeted Easter giveaways.

 Blog-images-Why-British-chocolate-wins-on-social-this-Easter-Dairy-milk-mentions-654x400

Given the fact that Dairy Milk is a staple addition to most British family homes, it makes perfect sense for online retail outlets like 24Studio to use Twitter to run Dairy Milk Easter giveaways with free cuddly gorillas. But this easter competition is also a great way to put the Dairy Milk name in front of its most loyal audience, and it’s working. Dairy Milk has surpassed its Mars-owned counterparts in social media mentions this weekend, and this looks set to continue over the coming week.  

Lessons learned: Clearly define your target audience and identify other brands they might be engaging with on social media. This can be a great idea for a brand partnership.

And what of the underdog?
What if your social media persona doesn’t happen to be as well established as the Cadbury giants, but you still want a piece of the Easter holiday pie?

Using the Measure platform we’ve been keeping tabs on engagement levels with the brands’ Facebook pages over the weekend. For comparison, we’ve added in Thornton’s, a slightly more niche brand in the UK in comparison to juggernauts Cadbury and Mars. Here’s a snapshot of engagement from this weekend:

Blog-images-Why-British-chocolate-wins-on-social-this-Easter-Measure-graph-654x400

In proportion to the other brands we’ve tracked, user engagement with the Thornton’s Facebook page has really taken off, exactly what you might hope for the weekend before Easter. Looking at their Facebook activity over the past week, we can see that Thornton’s have drawn in new page likes with an Easter giveaway, and then rewarded their newly acquired Facebook following with a discount across all their products. Not only does this encourage new followers to stay engaged with the brand, but it also redirects their social media audience to their product. Win win.

 Blog-images-Why-British-chocolate-wins-on-social-this-Easter-Thorntons-654x400

Lesson learned: Gain new followers with a shareable competition and keep them engaged with a reward.

Mmmmm chocolate…
It’s all about knowing your audience and how they understand your brand. Although Creme Egg’s social media content strategy is exemplary (it’s shareable, encourages engagement and consumers can’t forget it in a hurry), it would never work for Dairy Milk’s family audience. Thornton’s are known for being pricey (their cheapest Easter egg is four times the price of a Cadbury equivalent) so a well-timed discount is a great way to rival the competition.

Either way, be sure to run a tight ship when managing your social media strategy. Some of the UK’s chocolate giants are still missing the mark by allowing their Twitter feeds to be overtaken by negative comments, or not posting often enough. This means there’s still a gap to be filled. Our Listen and Measure tools are great way to keep tabs on how your users are interacting with your content, and potentially benchmark against competitors.

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