Recently I visited Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, PA, and I came away with appreciation and a number of valuable take-aways on how Chocolate World increases social media power, particularly with user generated content.
Social Media has power for all businesses. However, to expand and use the full power take creativity and strategy. I came away from a visit to Hershey's Chocolate World impressed with a few of the ideas I saw being implemented. Interested in learning more about what I saw and learned? Let's dive in...
Hershey's takes a "we and" approach to social media. Meaning they do a good job with self-publishing on social media and being active with engaging and sharing but they do not rely on this solely. They have a strategic strategy in place to easily empower visitors to share their experience on social media. This is the "..and" approach I'm talking about.
Hershey Chocolate World knows that if they share a post, they can reach their fans and followers on a decent basis. To magnify their impact, however, they get visitors to share. Hershey's makes this easy by doing the following:
Hershey's Chocolate World is intentional about creating an environment to share and encouraging users to share. They had signs in the facility to recommend taking photos and sharing to social media. As well, they outlined the specific hashtag to use in multiple places.
Bottomline: Make is easy to share. Give instructions. Don't assume users will share without being told too!
As noted, Hershey's was intentional about using their hashtag and they had signage in multiple places to remind and educate visitors to use it. The #chocolateworld tag is simple to remember and it then pulls together all the content shared under that tag.
For the screenshot below, I simply searched the hashtag on Instagram and it returned all the results. This is a great way to showcase user content and by having users include it in their posts, a company gets the added benefit that the followers of the user posting may go visit the hashtag and connect more as well.
One unique thing that Hershey's did well was to offer a print memory book and include with it a digital option. They had photographers and cameras at various points on the tour where your group picture could be taken. At the end of the tour you were presented with the printed book ready to purchase!
To have the print version immediately ready was amazing but even more so, they included a website link to the photos online. This again is a brilliant way to encourage social sharing. Perhaps a visitor didn't have their camera and take photos.
Hershey's took photos of you for you and all you have to do is go to the link on and you can share them to social media!
As shown above, Hershey's created Photo Sets which were specific environments setup for photo taking. Nothing exotic about them that others could not do in their store, restaurant, or event space.
It's all about taking some time, creating a space, setting up the area, and encouraging with signs that photos with a hashtag be taken!
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