Future Implications of Allergy Friendly Brands And Social Media

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As food allergy awareness week is coming to a close it’s a good reminder of how far we’ve come, and how much social media has helped the food allergy community grow and share with each other. It’s helped bring awareness to both the increase in food allergy diagnoses,  brands that make allergy friendly foods, and shown just how big the food allergy and natural foods market is. This increase in social media usage has also shown us the best channels to use to spread awareness and communicate with each other, some of the bigger brands have shown us what to do and what not to do, and it has given us an idea of the future and how we can do more with the technology available.

Brands like General Mills that have had their fair share of social media missteps have purchased several natural and allergy friendly brands. General Mills is the perfect example GlutenFree-Organicfor why every site needs to have a crisis management plan in place. They’ve made several announcements or had to issue recalls that really upset people and drove them to share their feelings on social media as a result. Having a plan in place to help direct teas on how to respond and any other actions that could help calm the storm would be be important to include. While many were not happy to see trusted brands purchased by a large company that might drastically change things General Mills has surprised some. Perhaps buying up all of these organic and health related brands is having an impact on them. They are making an attempt to make their more popular brands healthier and better for you by removing artificial flavors and colors. While some are still skeptical this is a brand to watch to see how they go about keeping their promises and how it changes their approach as a whole. You can’t help but notice how the feedback they’ve received from social media has influence this behavior. We need to let them know we appreciate what they’re doing in trying to make their products healthier and that we’d love to see them do more.

Another big brand that has bought up some of our most loved allergy friendly brands is Cookies-PlentilsMondelez. They actually have some of the best examples of how to use social media to grow your audience and how to share content that gets people talking. Their Oreo images on Instagram are bright, colorful, and fun while the Triscuit Pinterest account is full of all the amazing recipes and toppings people have come up with. It’s not only beautiful to look at but also mouth watering. We’d also love to see the make allergy friendly cookies and crackers (hint, hint). They really listen to their customers and it shows in their social media efforts and in their products (limited edition Oreo’s). Hopefully they’ll pass on their expertise on social media to some of their newly acquired brands to help them create content that reflects what customers are talking about and help grow a stronger community.

While General Mills and Mondelez are large well known brands getting into the health and food allergy markets there are still a lot of little guys that could use some help when it
Tinkyadacomes to social media to help them grow and to help spread the word about who they are what they do. I always think of
Tinkyada pasta when I think of the little guy that could be so much more. They are a smaller gluten free noodle brand out of Canada with an easily recognizable bunny on all of their packaging. While I find their product everywhere up here in the western mountains I don’t think they are as well known on the East coast or further South. They also don’t have a social media presence. I can only imagine what they could be if not only were using social media, but also had a strategy in place.

As I wrap up my final projects this week as graduation nears for my masters degree I’m reminded of how far I’ve come with not only social media, but also the Allergy Friendly site as a whole. I think about future plans for the site, expanding into other social media channels, and having the time to put more effort towards new content and how best to share it with you. I’m excited about the future of the site and how social media has allowed the food allergy community to grow, but also not blind to how access to social media has almost made it harder for this community to be taken seriously. My biggest hope for the future is that we all continue to raise awareness of food allergies and the risks associated with them, that people would be more understanding, and that we continue to show the world just how amazing this community is.
Don’t forget to visit the Allergy Friendly site for more blogs, information, and recipes.

Viral Marketing Initiatives for Food Allergy Awareness Week

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FoodAllergyAwarenessRibbonWhen we in the food allergy community hear the word viral our minds may go to colds, stomach bugs, or any other number of ailments, but everyone else may be thinking about a funny video, a new dance, or maybe a little girl nicknamed Mayhem that makes dresses out of paper. That she also suffers from food allergies is just secondary and doesn’t stand out to most.

Most content that goes viral in the food allergy community goes viral for the wrong reasons like the Dana family that was removed from a flight because of nut allergies recently. Or the unexpected death of a child or young adult that didn’t have an epi-pen close at hand. These stories infuriate us and pull at our heart strings because we all secretly fear these same things.

Know one can predict if a blog post or video will go viral. There are certain aspects of content that does go viral that stand out and can be highlighted to increase the chances of your content going viral, but don’t necessarily guarantee it.

We do know that emotion is one of the big reasons that anything goes viral. Whether it’s positive or negative if a video or blog message brings out strong emotions it encourages us to share it with friends and anyone else who will listen.

Humanize your content and make it relatable to large group of people. We’ve all been frustrated at the lack of safety in restaurants, brands that change ingredients without notice, or even just a boss that drives us nuts. We can all relate to some or all of these issues and would love to read an experience that either makes us laugh at the crazy things people do or confirms our belief that we’re not the only one struggling.

Maybe the content was useful to us. It stresses a really important issue or message, gave us support or ideas on how to approach a certain situation, or even a new recipe that everyone in the house can eat, or gave us a new approach to a stressful event like the Teal Pumpkin Project and Halloween.

Memorable is another big one for viral content. Whether a video puts a smile on your face or brings a tear to your eye it spoke to you in some way and sticks with you just like the Face Your Risk video did for me the first time I saw it. Not being there when our loved ones have a reaction is a big fear of mine and hopefully I’m not the only one. This video was a reminder of the importance of little things like making sure you know what’s in the food every time even if it drives the host crazy, and always wearing a medical alert bracelet.

Last, but certainly the most important, is make it easy to share. If you want to see your content get passed around by others increasing the chances of it going viral make sure you have social media buttons on your video, blog post, or recipe page so that if others find it relatable or memorable or important in any way they can share it with others.

With food allergy awareness week this is our chance to spread the word and sport those teal ribbons. If you have something amazing to share get it out there and encourage everyone to share it with their friends, family and followers. The same goes for you reading this post. If you see something amazing about food allergies or any topic that truly speaks to you don’t hesitate to share it. If you thought it was helpful or memorable in any way someone else may find it helpful too.