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"We aren't afraid to get stuck in": Nando's head of digital reveals why it was one of the first brands to join Jelly

At the beginning of the year Twitter co-founder Biz Stone launched Jelly, a new social media app allowing users to submit questions along with pictures that could be answered by Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

Nando's was one of the first brand's to get its 'wobble on'

Slowly but surely brands have gotten in on the Jelly action with restaurant chain Nando’s one of the first to embrace the latest platform for fan interaction. With Twitter and Facebook fast becoming the stalwarts of social media as newer and fresher platforms emerge, brands are facing the challenge of knowing when and how to join new social networks.

“We’d rather get stuck in than sit on the side lines,” revealed Nando’s head of digital Jonathan Hopkins, when speaking with The Drum about the brand’s decision to get its ‘wobble on’. “We’d been having a poke around with Jelly and decided that we should get involved early on, as it looked like fun. We’re a fast-moving brand and aren’t afraid of getting stuck in.

“It’s important for us to experience the same things as our fans – it helps us get closer to them, understand what’s important in their lives and what they’d like from us as a brand. The social communities which we belong to enable us to do just that – so if something new comes along, it’s an opportunity for us to explore.”

Despite Jelly being little more than a fortnight into its tenure, Hopkins is optimistic about the opportunities it could bring to the Nando’s brand and though it doesn’t “know the value of Jelly to us as a brand yet” he believes “anything which helps us get closer to our fans and have fun along the way has got to be a good thing”.

So far Nando’s has used Jelly to engage with its fans through a mix of fun-filled questions and branded content, with its first question posed simply being ‘Fancy a Nando’s?’. Garnering between 50 and 100 responses to its posts Hopkins explained that the Nando’s approach to Jelly is the same as its approach to the other better established social communities.

Hopkins said: “So far, all of our questions have had a great response and we’ve had a lot of fun on Jelly. Clearly the community is evolving quickly, but the early days have been full of the kind of randomness that we enjoy as a brand. Being there for the start means we can watch things develop and start to hone our approach as we learn from our fans and the community itself.”

Boasting in excess of 1.2 million Twitter followers and over 1.5 million Facebook likes social is a crucial element to Nando’s overall marketing mix with its target audience regularly choosing to interact with the brand in this way, “Our fans give us a lot of love on social and we like to give it right back,” said Hopkins.

Facebook and Twitter, and even newer players such as Instagram and Pinterest, have proven to be effective mediums for brands to interact with their fanbases, but with teens increasingly moving away from Facebook to newer platforms, will Nando’s continue to chase its audience around the social universe?

Hopkins explained: “We always try and keep one eye on the future and like trying out new things. Ultimately, we’ll always want to be part of a community where we feel we can add genuine value and learn something along the way…it’s really important for us as a brand to be where our fans are. It’s not much fun talking to yourself and we place a lot of value on listening to what our fans have to say about us.”

For other brands thinking of joining Jelly, or even taking the risk with the next social media platform to come along (whenever that may be), Hopkins advises brands should “try not to be afraid of having fun and experimenting with new things…[as] your customers aren’t.”

Rumours that Twitter co-founder Biz Stone was working on a new mobile start-up called Jelly first emerged last spring.