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Hudsonville Ice Cream finds flavor on social media

November 8, 2013
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Hudsonville Ice Cream orders flavor on social media
The idea for Hudsonville Ice Cream’s Pure Michigan Double Berry Pie was created by Linda Ann Stewart of Taylor and submitted online. Photo via fb.com

Hudsonville Ice Cream’s fall flavors have a taste of social media.

Customer-submitted flavors

The ice cream maker’s Pure Michigan Double Berry Pie was the winner of its Pure Michigan Ice Cream Contest this spring.

The contest was held online and asked Michigan ice cream lovers to submit flavors reminiscent of the best the state has to offer.

Linda Ann Stewart of Taylor won the contest with her entry, which includes homegrown Michigan blueberries and strawberries and flaky pieces of piecrust, swirled in rich vanilla ice cream.

Taylor’s Pure Michigan Double Berry Pie beat out more than 7,000 flavor suggestions to appear on grocery store shelves.

This year’s other fall flavors are Pumpkin, Toasted Coconut and Pure Michigan Carmel Apple — which was last year’s winning entry out of more than 3,000 suggestions.

“The year before was kind of a learning experience,” said Caryn Beatty, a Hudsonville Ice Cream representative. “We pushed it on our Facebook page and had people submit ideas, but this really took it to another level. It was a big jump.”

Social spikes

A typical Hudsonville Facebook post receives an average of 4,000 views, but during the flavor contest, more than 188,000 people saw contest posts on Hudsonville’s Facebook page.

Additionally, the company saw its conversion rate rise from an average of 5 percent to 43 percent during the contest.

This year, Beatty said the company partnered with Pure Michigan, Grand Hotel, Ann Arbor, Traverse City and Grand Rapids to extend its social media reach.

“We created three posts and said, ‘Over this two-week period when we are holding the contest, could you post this out to your followers?’”

She said the result was more traffic to the Hudsonville website, where people then submitted flavors.

The company’s Facebook page also received 2,186 new fans during the two-week period.

Year-round social

Hudsonville’s focus on social media extends beyond the yearly flavor contest, serving as one of the best ways the company can reach out to consumers throughout the year.

“Being a smaller company, social media is really important to us, because it is an inexpensive way for us to connect directly with our consumers,” Beatty explained. “Because of the way we make and sell our products, we don’t have an opportunity to really talk to consumers as they are purchasing it.”

Hudsonville is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, using each platform in the way that best reaches users.

For example, Beatty said that Pinterest and Instagram are great places to focus on how Hudsonville Ice Cream is part of celebrations and life’s special moments.

“On Pinterest . . . we’re really working into the lifestyle of the people who enjoy Hudsonville Ice Cream,” Beatty said. “We’re not really focusing exactly on our product, but memories where our product might be in the background.”

She added that Hudsonville Ice Cream has a “really strong focus on the Great Lakes and the seasonality of our product.”

“We have this great imagery around us, especially here in West Michigan: there’s the sunsets, beaches, lakes, changing seasons, so to share that on Instagram, it’s building into that lifestyle, again, of our consumer,” Beatty said.

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