Social Media Marketing for Food and Beverage Brands

Food and drink is inherently social, whether you are sitting around a dinner table, sharing a recipe with a friend, or meeting a date for cocktails. Social media marketing allows brands to lean into this element even further. It has proven to be a highly successful tool for driving viral food trends (think avocado toast, macaroons, shaken espressos, etc.). 

But you don’t have to go viral to see the benefits of social media. Food and beverage brands can drive results by identifying and targeting their core audience on their preferred platforms with highly ‘craveable’ content, using tactics like influencers and shoppable ads to showcase their products. 

Understanding Your Core Food/Bev Audience

The first step to finding your audience is to understand who organically engages with your brand. What specific niches are they involved in and how can you share your content with them? Audience research will lead you to a deeper understanding of your likely brand advocates and loyalists. Once a clear audience is defined, creating ads and messaging becomes intuitive.  

Search for the answers to these three questions in your audience research process: 

  1. Who is your core demographic? 

Identify basic demographics such as age, gender, education, geographical location and socioeconomic status. These variables will give you concrete indicators on your key audience profiles – what life stage they are in, what they could be interested in, and more. Age, for example, gives you tips on what kind of content they will likely resonate with. Younger ages tend to enjoy emotional posts (funny or tear-jerking), such as the recent Gushers TikTok campaign. In comparison, older audiences tend to prefer informative, trustworthy content, such as this Clinique campaign. 

      2. What does your audience value? 

Are they more likely sharing food to present an image of prestige or luxury, or to share a special family recipe? These internal motivations should inform the ad creation process. Creating messaging that resonates with your audience’s core motivators and/or beliefs make them more inclined to click or convert.

      3. Where is your audience active online?

The medium in which your ads run is critical to the success of food and beverage digital marketing campaigns. This ensures each dollar you spend is going towards a platform where your audience actually spends time. Use platform data as well as third party data research platforms to identify your audiences’ media consumption habits. 

Identifying Social Media Influencers

Once your target audience is defined, you can make them come to life by creating personas. Or better yet, finding an influencer online that matches your brand’s beliefs, values and aesthetic. Brands that have a strong image and story can easily find influencers that complement their mission. 

Food and beverage social media marketing is primed for influencer partnerships. There are endless YouTube cooking channels, food review websites, and food bloggers across all social media platforms. The creators have a huge impact on consumer purchase decisions. In fact, 49% of consumers depend on influencer decisions. This virtual word of mouth is extremely influential in the consumer journey. 

Adding influencers into your strategy can also drive conversions, not just awareness. This is particularly helpful for food and bev brands with an ecommerce presence. Use affiliate links and coupon codes to link POS data back to influencer campaigns in addition to awareness metrics, such as reach and engagement.

Creating Compelling Content

Food and beverage brands have a unique opportunity to engage audiences with user-generated marketing content on social media. People are eager to share recipes or new food explorations online, which is a win-win for brand and consumer. Brands are able to capitalize on authentic content that builds trust, while consumers are fulfilled by interaction and admiration. 

Beyond UGC, there are many ways brands can create compelling content on each unique platform. For example, how-to/recipe videos, Instagram Ready Images, and short form videos are all popular ad variations. Keep your audience learnings in mind and tailor your content to each unique social platform to resonate with consumers. 

Measuring Food and Bev Social Media Marketing Success

To measure the impact of advertising you can first look at granular, platform-level data. These metrics show campaign-level data, such as video completions, ad clicks, and site visits. Additionally, brands can utilize tactics like coupon/QR codes, flash sales, and hashtag challenges to track media’s success in driving immediate conversions and online buzz. 

However, the majority of food/bev sales still happen in-store, so it is important that brands keep themselves top of mind during that experience. Also, brands need a method of tracing media’s impact on in-store sales. Whether in a grocery store or a restaurant, brands can utilize CRM connections to track offline data or offer coupon codes/QR codes that translate both in-person or online. 

To better understand marketing’s impact, consider advanced measurement studies. These are surveys that can measure the incremental lift in metrics such as foot traffic and in-store sales due to marketing campaigns. 

Eating and drinking is, and has always been, social. Food and beverage brands should lean into this and explore the vast opportunities social media platforms offer to create and build community. Get creative with your media execution to stand out from competitors and drive sales. 

Recommended Reading

The CPG Digital Marketing Playbook

How to Choose the Right Influencers for Your Brand

How to Prove ROI for CPG Brands Using Loyalty and Purchase Data

The Importance of Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Within the last year, workplaces have accelerated into a digital world. How we communicate, work, and live have changed dramatically. The year that was labeled “exhausting” by the Washington Post, was also the year that people grew and re-evaluated their needs within and without the workplace. So, right now, what exactly do employees value the most? According to recent 2021 studies, flexibilityabstract ways of measuring productivitygrowth opportunities, and recognition are among some of the top needs from employees. Finding an employer that can adapt to these needs not only improves the lives of its workers, but also its quality of work.

The implementation of these variables leads to overall happier and invested employees. Flexibility is the new normal. In fact, 88% of knowledge workers say that when searching for a new position, they will look for one that offers complete flexibility in their hours and location.” In 2020, employees proved that working remotely can be just as effective as working in the office. Now, people have a choice to match their work with their lifestyle, and workers need that flexibility – especially after experiencing it for a year. This empowerment improves employees’ wellbeing and willingness to work, and in return, employees will be more invested in their company. As for the day to day work, individuals are wanting a more collaborative way of measuring results. For example, 86% of employees said they would prefer to work for a company that prioritizes outcomes over output.” This goal drives companies to focus on the final result vs the amount of time it took to complete. It empowers employees to focus on efficiency since time spent doesn’t always equal the quality of the result. As an employee continues to drive high quality results, they need internal opportunities to work towards. “Organizations that want to retain their talent need to help employees identify their next internal opportunity so they don’t feel that the only way they can progress their career is to look externally.” Such opportunities could include an internal open job board, promotions, a new assignment, or connecting employees with other people or teams that could help them reach their goals. Results deserve to be recognized, and when they are, employees appreciate it. In fact, Giving well-deserved recognition increases self-esteem, enthusiasm and boosts morale.” That personal support can carry along to a team, a department, and an entire company. Positive reinforcement can drive a team to excellence when done authentically and consistently.

The company I currently work for, Coegi, has not only listened to what  employees need to feel empowered, but have also implemented our highly supported ideas. Personally, the flexibility provided to me has been wonderful. After I graduated college in May, I wanted to travel to Austin, Texas and explore a new city; however, I was unsure about remote options. After speaking with a few people in the company, they were flexible enough to make this happen for me. In response to their willingness to work with my personal goals, I feel extremely invested in the company and have a desire to show my appreciation through my work and relationships within the company.

Coegi also does a great job encouraging growth and learning within our departments. The conversation to grow and try out new roles started when I first began working as a part-timer that involved learning about other departments, checking the internal job board, having a choice in the types of clients we want to work on, etc. That encouragement to learn also relates to how we interact on a day-to-day basis. The team I am on currently has many different options outside of the office to  support one another. We use “appreciation gifs” to say thank you when needed on our tasks. We also have company wide “cheers” for when someone goes above and beyond. This positive feedback has encouraged our company to work hard and always recognize the pieces that fit into our bigger goals.

How Other Members of the Social Team Feel Empowered at Coegi

Anissa: Social Media Specialist

“In my short time at Coegi, I have been continually impressed with how the company and its employees support each other every day. It is so uplifting to work at a company that values and actively promotes teamwork, collaboration, and continual learning. I love how the team recognizes others achievements and hard work so we can all celebrate and uplift together!”

Julia R: Social Media Specialist

“Over the course of my year working at Coegi, I have been empowered with a flexible schedule, positive feedback, and a voice in my role. However, the most important aspect is my supportive team. Ever since I began working, I picked up on the uplifting and supportive culture that is present both online and in person. This dynamic has encouraged me to have the confidence to take on new challenges and relay that encouragement to other people on my team.”

Rachel: Social Media Specialist

“Since I have started at Coegi, I have felt empowered through the support of my colleagues. Everyone is willing to help at any time, and it is a teamwork-oriented environment. I know that my teammates respect my opinions and are willing to work together to achieve our common goals.”

Alyssa: Social Media Campaign Assistant

“Although I have only been working at Coegi for a few weeks, my experience has been nothing but positive. Everyone is more than willing to assist with the transition and support my progress within the company.”

Creating an empowering environment in the workplace has proven to be extremely beneficial to the well-being of each employee and the quality of work in response. Flexibility, growth/measurement opportunities, and recognition are just some of the variables that empower employees. As we continue to navigate through 2021, it is important to continue this open conversation about these topics and find ways to support each employee.

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