Founded in 1824, leading chocolate company Cadbury exemplifies a traditional company making a successful transition to a more social business model. During their campaign as the official treat provider for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Cadbury used Google+ Hangouts to connect with their younger, tech-savvy target audience.

Cadbury hadn’t even launched their official company pages on Google+ when they saw conversations happening around their brand on the social network. Jerry Daykin, Social Media Community Manager at Cadbury, explained to Google that they had begun searching the network for brand mentions and realized the opportunity before them. “Every day, we saw people were talking about Cadbury and chocolate and the Olympics. So there was already a platform where conversations relevant to us were happening; we were just able to step in and be a part of them in a positive way,” he said.

Their Google+ presence came alive with the repurposing of creative content Cadbury was already creating for other campaigns. In the planning of each new creative piece, they began to think of how it could be incorporated into their social strategy.

In an effort to take advantage of the unique features of the platform and connect with their audience in a meaningful way, Daykin and his team planned a series of Google+ Hangouts. In this video, he explains how they used each of their first three Hangouts to offer a unique fan experience that helped them increase their page following by 150,000 people.

In the first, Cadbury carved and decorated a chocolate version of their Google+ page, much to the delight of fans. Their second featured a live chat with one of the Olympians the company sponsors, Rebecca Adlington. Video content created through Hangouts gives fans the kind of exclusive, behind the scenes experience that keeps them engaged with the brand.

At first, Daykin and his team put quite a bit of effort into planning their Google+ Hangouts. After the first one they held, they realized it could be as simple as sitting and having a face-to-face conversation. The benefit to marketers, however, is that the conversation then lives on as a video content object that remains searchable on YouTube and becomes an evergreen marketing resource.

Cadbury also uses Google+ Hangouts to connect with their community of tasters, who test different types of chocolate and share their thoughts with the brand and its fans.

How could you use Google+ Hangouts to boost social engagement andoffer value to fans? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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