Speaking at Chinwag and Our Social Times’ Facebook Marketing 2012 conference today (18 July), Sarah Lindley, brand executive of Dairy Milk at Kraft Foods, said the brand’s model going forward will be “social first”.

The news comes despite Kraft’s top digital marketer in the UK Sonia Carter saying last year that justifying spend on social media to senior executives can be “a battle”.

The first example of this strategy was rolled out earlier this year, when Cadbury Dairy Milk switched to its Joyville brand platform.

The brand thanked its fans for reaching the 1 million mark by producing a giant chocolate “thumbs up” sign. It filmed the building of the thumb and streamed the footage live via its Facebook page, giving fans the option to influence what happened with the thumb while it was being built and whether to reward their workers with a cup of tea or a cake.

Lindley said one of the reasons it launched this activity before it switched to its Joyville platform was to ensure its community was engaged first before they transferred over to a new concept.

She added: “There aren’t going to be any more gorillas banging the drums. Our adverts are going to be about chocolate and we needed to introduce people to that.”

The thumbs up campaign saw 350,000 fans actively involved and 40,000 new sign ups to its fan page.

Lindley said: “This proves that if you give [fans] something to go back for, they can be tempted. You want to give people an option for a very tiny effort on their part to receive a very big reward…it has to be easy to interact with and give them something they will not get anywhere else.”

The next strand of Cadbury’s Joyville strategy is due to be launched in September after its activity for the Olympic Games has finished, which on digital has focused around its Spots vs Stripes initiative.

Lindley hinted: “Joyville is about how to be imaginative and magical in the real world; we are getting people to associate happiness with chocolate again.”