Guayaki Yerba Mate to Market Only with Social Media

Social media now provides a basic means of communicating with friends.  It has even taken deep root in the way companies interact with the public.  This is especially true with Guayaki Yerba Mate

The company announced yesterday that it will be engaging their consumers solely through social media channels.  Guayaki going all out with social media begs the question, is it a risky strategy?  Or is it a smart move?

Guayaki is one of those rare companies that integrates its business with people, planet, and profits, paying fair trade prices and sourcing rain forest grown mate.

According to Guayaki, this move is unprecedented, thus “becoming the first consumer product company to allocate their entire public relations budget to the discipline [social media].”  If the company is truly taking this move to heart, it would mean no more magazine, newspaper advertising or even television commercials.

The risk in going with just social media is that it hinders communication with potential customers who do not utilize Facebook, Twitter, or the latest web social application.  We can all probably think of a parent, grandparent, or friend that barely touches the web, let alone social media.  These folks may be a perfect customer for Guayaki, but will be untouched with this new strategy.

On the flip side, this bold social media only strategy may be a smart move.  By doing so, Guayaki has the chance to not only communicate with its customers.  Moreover, the company also gets to interact with its customers.  One of the benefits of social media is the multi-way dialogue it facilitates.

However, just plain interaction through social media is not enough.  As TriplePundit covered last year, creating and building relationships is the key to social media: “it’s all about creating a sustainable relationship with your customer, be it online or offline.  Social media can only help strengthen or erode that relationship, but it cannot readily create it.”

Does Guayaki have what it takes to make its social media only strategy successful?  Judging from the Guayaki story and its continual actualization of its mission, it seems it may be one of the few companies to that may be genuinely able to do so: “These five ambitious friends aka the “semillas” (seeds) channeled their activist mentality into the creation of a new restorative business model [Guayaki Yerba Mate], calling consumers to action by voting with their dollars.”

The social media only strategy is a bold move.  But just as Guayaki took a (successful) risk with introducing yerba mate alongside coffee and tea, Guayaki might just do the same in how a company uses only social media to communicate and interact with its customers.