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USPB launches social media campaigns

By John O’Connell

Capital Press

The U.S Potato Board has launched a campaign social media marketing campaign around a new hashtag, #TopTater.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — U.S. Potato Board leaders have launched a pair of new social media campaigns as they seek to emphasize more digital technology in their Fiscal Year 2015 marketing efforts.

USPB will offer creative potato content to followers of the organization’s new Instagram channel, instagram.com/potatogoodness. Instagram is a photo-sharing social media site that is especially popular with millennials — a market sector in which USPB sees great potential, said Kris Hurley, a USPB consultant with Fleischman-Hillard.

“With photo sharing when it comes to food, it’s very popular, so (Instagram) makes sense when we’re showing all of these yummy recipes and working with bloggers and having a lot of new content to share,” Hurley said.

During its annual meeting July 30 in Jackson Hole, USPB also announced a new hashtag program and competition. On social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, hashtags provide a theme and enable those who use them participate in a common conversation.

Anyone who shares spud photos with #TopTater in the caption will automatically be prompted to enter a contest, with a $100 gift card awarded each week for the best example of a “five-star potato experience.” A grand-prize winner of a #TopTater recipe contest will also be selected to attend the World Food Championships in Las Vegas this November.

Furthermore, three growers or industry representatives who most effectively use #TopTater on their own social media sites, post the best potato photographs and generate shares with the hashtag will be selected as judges of the chef and recipe competitions during the week-long, nationally televised food event. Both competitions will feature potatoes. Growers and industry representatives must email Meredith Myers, USPB’s global consumer marketing manager, at meredithm@uspotatoes.com, including links to social media properties showing how they’ve used #TopTater, by Oct. 1.

“If you have any ideas on using #TopTater in your own businesses, please get in contact with us,” Myers urged growers at the Jackson Hole meeting. “With this program more than anything else, we’re going to get more than we put in, but we really need to put in a lot. We need to see growers putting (#TopTater) on their websites or their Facebook pages.”

Myers said the weekly competitions will commence in mid-August. Six recipe contest finalists will be announced in September, with the winner selected by a public vote on USPB’s Facebook page and announced in October. Some grocery chains have agreed to host in-store promotions for the recipe contest, Myers said.

USPB advises TopTater moments can vary widely, from a blooming potato field in a scenic setting to a well-presented recipe or attractive grocery store potato display.

Also in the digital realm, USPB will add 10 more members to its Potato Lover’s Club of food bloggers, who contract with USPB to develop recipes and promote potatoes online, bringing participation in the club to 30.

In FY 2014, USPB met a milestone with its website, potatogoodness.com. Traffic to the site totaled 500,000 hits in FY 2013 but exceeded a million hits in FY 2014, following a $19,000 investment to add new features and analytics.



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