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Anyone that fronts up and admits they're still learning and don't know everything, in this case about using social media in business, gets a sticK award for honesty.

Which, ironically, is part of Whittaker's Chocolates core values, and part of the Porirua company's presentation on 'Traditional Marketing - Digital Twist' recently given in Wellington.

The Social Media Club regularly puts on sessions highlighting different aspects of the use of Facebook and Twitter and a host of other (almost instant) means of communicating.

A hundred or so members of the digital creative sector heard Whittaker's marketing person Jasmine Griffin outline what the cocoa 'beans to bar' company's been up to since engaging a social media strategy since May 2010.

Griffin made the point later in the question and answer session that it customers don't necessarily expect instant answers from the likes of Twitter - which, as she is the main point of contact at least allows her to have a life outside of work.

"The community understands that Jasmine at Whittaker's can't do 24/7," she says.

The Whittaker's Facebook page has more than 55,000 fans, and that as well as its traditional marketing strategy is built around four key values:
• Premium quality
• Honest
• Generous
• Family

Among initiatives undertaken by the company is the first website built of chocolate - literally. The fonts, buttons to click and follow through, were all first crafted from chocolate, before being photographed and laid out on a digital page.

Whittaker's also undertook a Peanut Slab Case Study - appealing to the young men demographic of its main buyers. People were encouraged to enter their own script ideas (based around the honesty-inducing effects of eating a peanut slab), and four winners put up on Facebook. The 'Swear by the Slab' competition attracted 15,000 new fans.

"The key difference between digital and traditional marketing is that traditional is one way, digital is two way," says Griffin.

"But digital's not the be all and end all, it still has to be integrated with an overall strategy. We are still learning. We don't know everything, we're honest about that. The whole field is evolving and changing."

[Disclaimer - sticK did take up Griffin's offer to take home a couple of chocolate bars for sampling - thanks Whittaker's]

Chocolate gets social media attention

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