6 Social Media Strategies All Food Brands Should Be Using Right Now
Food is both a necessity and a pleasure. New food brands are launched all the time -- and interestingly, the failure rate for new products launched in the grocery sector is 70-80%. From a marketing perspective, what separates a food brand from succeeding or failing?
In our opinion, the first step is awareness. People have to be aware of a product first. Next, comes marketing.
Recent estimates show people now spend over 4 hours a day on their phones; almost 2 hours of which are spent on the top 5 social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube). As people’s attention is continually absorbed by their phones, it is pertinent that businesses learn to adapt. Advertising and marketing techniques that may have worked 10 years ago must be adjusted. Today, not having a social media account for your business automatically puts you behind your competitors.
Given the current state of social media and the Internet, attention is now one of the most valuable commodities. The key to grabbing your audience’s attention in an increasingly noisy world is to give them something worth their time. Think of it as a transaction not unlike one made at a store. Your social media strategies should focus on giving them VALUE above all else.
So, what makes something valuable? People value sources of entertainment and information. This creation of valuable and relevant information is called ‘content marketing’. Studies by the University of Southern California Psychology Department show that this is particularly true if these sources trigger an emotional response. In fact, emotional responses to an ad (specifically, that of ‘likeability’) are the most predictive measures of an ad’s success.
Once you have created this item of value, it is equally important that you choose the right channel and medium to distribute your message. When it comes to social media, the two key players at the moment are Facebook and Instagram.
The easiest way to get your company noticed on Facebook and Instagram is to use ads. As a result, these ads are becoming more and more popular, with big name brands competing to get their share of the pie. The importance of Facebook ads is only set to increase with the recent release of Facebook’s new algorithm.
In addition to this, it’s always a good idea to consider a partnership with compatible brands and/or influencers. Influencers are social media icons who have built up a high level of trust with their audience. Partnering with them ensures your brand gets a stamp of approval, as well as having the added benefit of reaching a larger total audience pool and getting the most bang for your buck.
So now that you have a brief idea of what you need to do, let’s delve into six key social media strategies that will ensure your content provides value and keeps your audience’s attention in the long run.
Social media strategy #1 - Be consistent
Visuals are the most important aspect of a brand’s social media efforts. Telling your brand story through appropriate and consistent imagery will have a powerful and lasting impact.
To be consistent, it is important to create a visual calendar outlining the subject matter for each day of the week, ideally prepared several weeks or months ahead. As part of this social media calendar, be sure to have a list of hashtags on hand. These should include both popular industry hashtags and customized hashtags specifically for your brand.
For example, Canadian artisanal chocolate brand @zimtchocolates was posting on Instagram with an average of a week-long hiatus between posts in April 2014.
After updating their social media strategy to include posting roughly every other day, hiring a professional photographer, and being more consistent in the aesthetic of the types of photos they posted, they raised their average likes per image to roughly 100.
Social media strategy #2 - Invest in visuals
A picture is worth a thousand words. Every company today must also consider themselves a media company. This means investing in the creation of original content.
Visuals are arguably the most important aspect of a brand’s social media efforts -- and the fastest way to tell your story to the world. In an analysis of over 1 million articles, BuzzSumo found that articles with more images received double the social media shares compared to articles with fewer images. Furthermore, Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images (according to this article).
Case in point: Hubspot reports that casual readers will remember approximately 10% of a piece of information that they heard if quizzed 3 days later. Show them an image with the information and that number jumps to 65%. Therefore, a clearly defined visual marketing strategy is crucial to brand recognition and building a loyal following.
Social media strategy #3 - Partner with influencers
Social media influencers have become the “new” celebrities and trendsetters. For consumers, seeing a well-known influencer share a product on social media feels more genuine than a million-dollar ad campaign. If your budget allows for it, we recommend using a mix of both medium-sized influencers and micro-influencers.
Examples of successful influencer partnerships include FitTea’s (@fittea) partnership with Vanessa Hudgens and Kylie Jenner. FitTea currently boasts 1.7 million followers.
Micro-influencers are arguably the most important component of beauty marketing right now because they offer:
Higher Engagement Rates: Micro-influencers see between 2-5x more organic engagement per Instagram post than influencers with 100K+ followers.
More Cost Effective: Because they are not yet huge Instagram stars, their fees are typically very reasonable and they are more likely to say yes to working with brands.
Better Targeted Marketing: Micro-influencers “often cater to a specific, niche audience”, allowing you to connect directly with your desired customers in a particular demographic.
Greater Level of Trust: Posts by micro-influencers are seen to be more authentic than social media celebrities who frequently post sponsored content.
Another example is SmartSweets, the award-winning healthy candy brand @eatsmartsweets. With a current following of 64.8k followers, SmartSweets regularly works with multiple food brands to run contests.
Social media strategy #4 - Make your product shareworthy
You may think that packaging is a business and operational strategy but it’s no longer confined to that realm. Now, when brands develop new products, they should directly consider how visually striking and Instagram worthy it is.
For example, Mast Brothers chocolate (@mastbrothers) ensures that each of their wrappers is a share-worthy work of art. As a result, they have amassed 92.2k followers.
When brands take care to make sure their package and product look Instagram-worthy, customers are more inclined to take photos and post them on social media. Here’s a consideration to bear in mind when developing your product and designing packaging: the goal is to make your product look so aesthetically pleasing that your customers will want to take a photo of it right away and share it on their social media channels.
Take a look at Pop and Bottle, Dirty Lemon and Sakara Life, all of which have been successful in creating beverage bottles that look so enticing, customers cannot help but take and post photos of them with their bottles right away.
In addition, NYC-based restaurant Pietro Nolita (@pietronolita) has clearly designed their space with Instagram in mind. Clearly, designing with ‘shareability’ in mind is not optional: it’s essential.
And the marketing gurus behind Compartes chocolate (@compartes) have done a similar job with their colourful wrappers and their motto “Compartes chocolate is Art + Design + Style”. At last count, they had 209k followers.
Social media strategy #5 - Tell a story
At the core of your social media strategy, your brand should have a clear idea of what story you are trying to tell. Once you have pinpointed this, you can build your social media strategy around telling your brand’s story. At Pivot Six, we believe there are three ways to tell a story.
These three methods can be remembered using the acronym CDC:
Your brand story should be told in an engaging and memorable manner in order to increase awareness and drive sales. One way to achieve this is through a company blog. Besides being a crucial asset for storytelling, blogs greatly help with brand SEO. Furthermore, original blog content can be used for marketing and distribution, establishing your brand as a top authority in the market.
Remember, the online world is noisy and incredibly busy. Companies and consumers now create and consume content faster than ever before. This has opened up an entirely new avenue of marketing for brands. Instead of focusing just on selling, brands must now create entertaining and educational content as the gateway to the long term sale.
Our recommendation is to ABC:
Always be creating content, both visually and through words, in order to continually raise your brand profile.
One brand in particular that does a great job of this is Sakara Life (@sakaralife). They create original content, which is then shared in their S Life Mag and blog posts.
Amoda Tea (@amodatea) is another fantastic example. The brand is known for their curated blog posts and email content. Examples of this include their tea guide and their monthly tea boxes.
Kasama Chocolate (@kasamachocolate), a hot new chocolate startup, documents their entire bean-to-bar process with their social media followers. This is becoming an increasingly popular approach among food brands, as transparency builds trust and helps customers connect with a brand.
Social media strategy #6 - Utilize Facebook and Instagram Ads
Let’s be honest: the use of Facebook and Instagram ads is no longer optional. Organic social media reach is becoming much more limited as social platforms introduce restrictive algorithms. The creation and tracking of Facebook and Instagram ads is an important part of any brand’s marketing strategy, allowing you to target prospective customers by region/city/neighborhood, age and multiple interests.
In fact, big-name brands like Whole Foods now consider social media ads to be a critical component of their marketing strategy.
We strongly advise that brands set aside a monthly budget for paid social media ads to help boost organic content they post on Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, if your budget allows, consider investing part of this budget in paid media spends on influencer posts. This is often referred to in the industry by its nickname, “dark posting.” Despite its ominous name, it is commonly used (and very powerful!) tactic for optimizing content on an influencer’s social channels, simply by adding yourselves into their Facebook Ad Manager account and controlling promoted posts to their audience.
Nowadays, people spend a large chunk of their day on their phones looking at social media. The amount of information available to us has meant that attention is now one of our most valuable assets. In a world brimming with information, the key to capturing the interest of your target audience is to provide them with something of value. You must do this through a relevant channel and medium.
As discussed, there are six social media strategies all food brands should be using.
The first strategy is to post consistently, using the help of a social media calendar. This ensures that you retain the interest of your audience.
Next, be sure to invest in visuals. Visuals are an important part of capturing attention, as well as ensuring information retention. Use images wherever possible to help increase brand recognition and effectiveness of your ads.
Look for opportunities to partner with micro- and medium-sized influencers to increase brand engagement and humanize your product. Influencers also provide you easy access to a new audience.
The fourth strategy involves making your product share-worthy through images that stimulate emotions. This is particularly important, as it is essentially the art of getting your audience to work for you.
Ensure that your social media strategy tells a story. You can do this using the acronym CDC: Create, Document and Curate.
Finally, make sure that you are taking advantage of Facebook and Instagram ads. They allow you to target your ads to a high degree and they are the best way to make your brand seen in an increasingly difficult environment.
For more information on how to build your brand’s strategy, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to chatting!