Nutella! How a Hazelnut Spread Made it Big on Facebook

By on November 25, 2011

Nutella is one of the brands that has rocketed into the social sphere, with their clever marketing and outreach strategies. Clearly a wildly understated brand, before breaking into the Facebook scene, Nutella now enjoys a human fan base of over 11 million people. How did this delicious hazelnut spread become a Facebook sensation? What can you learn from their rise to fame?


The Nutella Story

Nutella burst onto the Facebook scene a few years ago – from a surprising place. It wasn’t a crack team of Nutella marketers that launched a great Facebook page, it was a fan. One single, fan. In fact, word on the street is that Nutella itself only spent $300 000 on marketing in 2008, because the Facebook page was such a hit. Mashable orterepd that this was because Nutella, was ‘just one of those cult brands people love to talk about.’


What Makes Nutella So Appealing?

There has been a lot of discussion over why Nutella made such a big impact on Facebook. The most common arguments find that it’s because they’re European, and have a huge European and US fan base. Fans from the US love it, because they are reminded of trips to Europe, and it has that ingrained ‘cool’ factor. We’re not so sure. People are overlooking the fact that it’s spreadable hazelnut chocolate.

If there’s one thing people love its novelty. Add that to a delicious flavor, and you’re going for the gold. Nutella is a household favorite, and their fan page proves this. If you have a product that has the novelty of Nutella, and tastes equally as good, it will also become a social hero.


How Do Nutella Use Their Facebook Page?

Nutella has many of the basics required to pull off a successful Facebook page, with none of the complexity that brands like Coke have chosen to use. It has a simple welcome page, leading up to their ‘like’ button. They have an etiquette page, and a choice of different countries. Other than that, the site is pretty much dominated by conversion. At any given time, as many as 100 000 people are talking about Nutella on Facebook.

That’s why they’ve implemented ways to spark conversion, and have invested in image based updates. Nutella posts images about their product, promoting different ways to eat the spread. With these images, they ask questions, or pose statements to their fans. “Click ‘like’ if you’re eating Nutella right now,” or “It’s called breakfast because you have to eat it fast – true of false.” These conversation starters form the crux of their page.

If you want to be more like Nutella, focus on the way you engage your fans on your wall. Use images that spark conversation, questions and open ended, or interesting statements. Most of us will never truly understand how a hazelnut chocolate spread became such a top runner on Facebook. Perhaps they don’t even understand it themselves. What we do know, is that they have the right idea.

Likability, chocolate and lots of conversation, always equals more sales.

How do you think a brand like Nutella made it big?

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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