For the past several months, the Almond Board of California (ABC) has been working closely with various teams across the globe to reposition California almonds for the online community.

It is the ABC’s policy to periodically audit and evaluate ways to realign its website to current online marketing trends, thereby ensuring maximum exposure of almond-related messages to our target audiences.

The result is the new www.Almonds.com website, an online ‘hub’ for California almond–related information. With its re-launch, we are even better equipped to emphasize the long-term value of what is arguably the best food on the planet.

Analytics showed that user engagement on the ABC website (how many pages they view, how long they stay on any particular page, and how many exit altogether upon visiting) was low, and the opportunity for improvements was great.

A refreshed website would not only make it easier for online visitors to access the information they were looking for and it would also improve the search ranking.

As part of the new website launch, a considerable amount of time was spent adhering to the following objectives:

· Build awareness and increase usage of almonds among consumers, health professionals, and food professionals in key opportunity areas.

· Be the go-to resource for information about almonds for all stakeholders.

· Educate and inform the almond industry.

· Act as the ‘hub’ of all online (e.g., social media) information about almonds; making content easy to find and share.

· Optimize for social media platforms and mobile devices.

 One of the most notable changes with the redesign is the change in the website address from www.AlmondBoard.com to www.Almonds.com. Almonds.com is a keyword-rich domain name and can have a positive impact on search engine ranking; making it easier for all target audiences to find the information they are looking for about almonds.

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A more useful website is just the first step, however. It would be an oversight to ignore the prevalence and penetration of social media.

According to Pew Research Center, 72 percent of U.S. adults in 2013 used social media sites which present more vehicles to deliver messages to consumers.

Our goal is to leverage any social media platform to bring consumers back to its respective California almonds website where we can provide them with unique and valuable almond-centric information.

Using the North American website (www.Almonds.com) as an example, in addition to an updated interface and visually appealing content, there is an undeniable focus on social media.

Social aplenty

You will immediately notice a heavy presence of California Almonds on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. At the end of 2013, ABC was launched on the popular photo-sharing social platform Instagram and in early 2014 ABC was launched on the image-friendly platform Pinterest.

Strategically, California almonds reach a worldwide audience using digital properties including the website and social media.

To understand the impact of social media, consider this:

In the United Kingdom, nearly 60 percent of adults use social networking sites, with Facebook the most-used platform.

South Korea has the highest usage of Facebook and Twitter; and the country’s leading search engine, Naver, has its own blog where California almonds will have a presence.

China has two increasingly important social platforms - Sina Weibo (similar to Twitter) and WeChat instant messaging.

The changes to the website and social media platforms are already underway.

The last quarter of 2013 marked the re-launch of the North American website with the European websites following shortly thereafter, in the first month of the new year.

By summer 2014, we will have redesigned the South Korean and almond growers/handlers websites.

You may find California Almonds across the web: North America - www.Almonds.com; United Kingdom - www.Almonds.co.uk; France - www.Almonds.fr; and Germany - www.Almonds.de.

With a revised digital strategy and online presence, California almonds should see a resurgence in online searches and a more effective dialogue with consumers. This will continue to position almonds as the ‘Nut of Choice’ for consumers worldwide.