Getting Social in Canada

Feb 07, 2018
Branding with a bite
 Plate full of bite-sized snacks made with cucumber, rice & red pepper cut in shape of Canadian maple leaf
OTTAWA, CANADA – Social Media is an ever-present and emerging force in communication worldwide.  The shift from traditional media to consumer-driven social media outlets is changing the landscape of how to effectively engage with target populations.  This phenomenon in Canada is a vital element of promoting U.S. rice there.

The month of December showed a very receptive Canadian audience on all of the USA Rice social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) as well as the website www.riceinfo.com.

“The seismic shift in roles, relationships, and power continues to rock Canada’s traditional and social media landscape and the way we promote U.S.-grown rice.  The erosion of editorial opportunities has put greater emphasis on social media activities,” said Pereina Choudhury, USA Rice in-country representative.

USA Rice has expanded its touch by partnering with the Food Bloggers of Canada (FBC) to create rice recipes that were promoted on their various platforms to garner more exposure and brand recognition for the product.  The collaboration reached an audience of more than 6.8 million consumers and Choudhury says paying for that kind of exposure would have cost more than $260,000.  Social media coverage in French is expected in January from Quebec-based La Semaine.

The official Canadian USA Rice Instagram feed (@USARiceCan) was bursting with delectable photos and recipes of the most popular rice dishes from the holiday season such as Jewelled Persian Rice and Baked Cowboy Chili Casserole.  Twitter and Facebook also had a phenomenal December on the social media platforms with almost 21,000 impressions and sharp increases in likes, engagement, and followers.

The organization took a fitness angle in their partnership with Canadian fitness professional Kathy Smart, who incorporated USA Rice in her health and education lecture series (see “The Smart Way to Promote U.S.-grown Rice,” USA Rice Daily, November 21, 2017).  Smart’s substantial Canadian and American following shows great promise for the future, and she has been working with USA Rice to create short workout videos to promote rice as an element of a healthy lifestyle for the New Year.

“We carefully select influencers and partners who will authentically extend U.S. rice messages using recipes to convey versatility and nutrition points,” said Choudhury.  “Being able to select influencers who are vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, pescatarians, or carnivores with a robust following across Canada, allows us to reach niche and mainstream markets giving a breadth and depth to our messages that, in some ways, traditional mainstream media does not always achieve.”

USA Rice’s constant social media engagement is showing no signs of slowing down in the fourth largest export market for U.S. rice.  With strong collaborations among the most influential social media leaders of the area, U.S. rice will continue to maintain the dominant market share of rice imports in Canada, amounting to approximately $150 million in sales annually.