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Food & Beverage Social Media Marketing: A How-To Guide

How Food & Beverage Brands Excel With Social Media Marketing


Think about the last time you discovered a new drink or snack. Chances are, you came across it on one of your social media feeds, right? That is the influence of food and beverage social media marketing at work.


Now, if you’re a beverage supplier or a brand in the food industry, you might be wondering, “How will beverage suppliers use social media effectively?” or “What’s the best approach to social media marketing for food and beverage brands?” Let’s dive into that.


Social media platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest, offer a unique space for brands to connect directly with their audience. And with the beverage industry projected to rake in a whopping $78.6 billion this year, there’s no better time to harness the power of these platforms. But simply sharing well-lit photos of your products won’t cut it anymore. Today it’s about crafting social media strategies with some heart. Strategies that speak to your core customers like friends, not faceless accounts. Build communities that champion your brand, not just follow it. Foster genuine connections that drive lasting growth, not just temporary hype. Your social presence should spotlight your values, not just your packaging.


The Rise of Food & Beverage on Social Media


Raise your hand if you’ve ever crept on a restaurant’s Instagram before trying it out. Just me? Didn’t think so. We all do it. Social media stalking is like a prerequisite these days before giving a new food or drink spot our hard-earned cash. And brands should know it.


Recent statistics from Statista reveal that the global food and beverage e-commerce market is projected to reach a staggering $364 billion by 2027. This growth is significantly influenced by the increasing integration of social media marketing strategies by brands, aiming to tap into the vast online audience.


The upcoming Digital Food and Beverage conference, set to be held in 2024, promises to unveil some crucial insights. Renowned companies like Nestlé USA, PepsiCo, and Kraft Heinz Company are expected to share their experiences and learnings. A key anticipation from the event is the emphasis on successful digital transformation strategies. Brands are gearing up to focus on enhancing the digital customer experience, aiming to make it seamless, personalised, and engaging.


An article from Food and Beverage EU highlighted the most significant e-commerce and digital marketing trends in the food and beverage industry in 2023. So what are some of the trends brands are embracing? Personalisation and tailored experiences based on data. Mobile-friendly seamless shopping. AI for product recs and analytics. Shoppable posts and monthly deliveries. Voice assistants for hands-free buying. And of course, influencer collaborations.


Growth statistics further underscore the importance of social media in the food and beverage industry. According to a report by eMarketer, food influencer marketing is expected to grow at a rate of 42% between 2019 and 2024. This growth is primarily driven by the increasing trust consumers place in influencers and their recommendations. As presented by Zipdo, a study made by Brandongaille College highlighted that 90% of clients research a restaurant online before dining, which is more than any other business type. This supports the importance of a strong online presence for food and beverage brands.


The brands winning today are the ones speaking to food lovers and not merely just faceless logos. 


Optimising Brand Identity on Social Platforms


A study by Lucidpress found that consistent branding across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. But what does this mean for food and beverage brands?


Imagine walking into a café in Melbourne and then visiting its branch in Sydney only to find a completely different vibe, menu, and décor. Confusing, right? The same principle applies online. When a brand presents itself differently across various social media platforms, it can confuse and alienate its audience. For instance, Coca-Cola, a global beverage giant, maintains a consistent brand image across its social media channels. Whether it’s their Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, the brand’s iconic red and white colours, as well as their signature font, are omnipresent. This consistency reinforces brand recognition and trust.


To ensure your food and beverage brand shines and remains recognisable across all social platforms, consider the following tips:


1. Maintain Visual Consistency: 


Use the same logo, colour palette, and fonts across all platforms. This doesn’t mean every post should look the same, but they should feel cohesive. McDonald’s, for example, consistently uses its golden arches and red background across all its social media profiles.


2. Develop a Brand Voice: 


Whether it’s playful, serious, or informative, decide on a tone and stick to it. Ben & Jerry’s, known for its quirky ice cream flavours, adopts a fun and playful tone across its social media channels, resonating with its target audience.


3. Share Your Brand’s Story:


Authenticity matters. Share behind-the-scenes content, the history of your brand, or the inspiration behind a new product. Cadbury’s Dairy Milk often shares the story of its cocoa beans, tracing their journey from farms to the chocolate bars we love.


4. Engage with Your Audience:


Respond to comments, share user-generated content, and encourage feedback. This not only boosts engagement but also builds a community around your brand.


5. Stay Updated with Trends:


Social media is ever-evolving. Stay updated with the latest trends and adapt your strategy accordingly. However, ensure that any new trend you adopt aligns with your brand’s identity.


Remember, in social media, a strong and consistent brand identity guides your audience to you. So, invest time in crafting and optimising your brand’s identity on social platforms, and watch your brand loyalty and recognition soar. 


Creating Engaging Content for Your Audience

Let’s be real – most food and beverage content out there is bland articles on “optimising your social strategy” or “leveraging analytics” But here’s the thing, your brand needs to stand out especially with every scroll of our feeds bombarding us with a dizzying array of content vying for our attention. So what do you do? How can you make content that gets your audience’s attention and connects with the busy, distracted mob? 


A report by Stackla found that 79% of consumers say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. 


For Indomie Australia, we at Eight Clients we developed a strategy that effectively leveraged UGC. Through regular content shoots, we created reactive and engaging content that covered recipes, and topical events, and showcased Indomie’s extensive product range. One of our standout strategies was creating provocative recipes that sparked conversations, leading to viral content. For instance, introducing innovative dishes like “Mi Goreng Lasagne” not only intrigued the audience but also encouraged them to share their own unique Indomie recipes. This approach led to a surge in UGC, with fans regularly sharing their own Indomie creations. 


Influencer marketing, when done right, can also amplify a brand’s reach and authenticity. Collaborating with influencers who align with a brand’s values can lead to genuine endorsements that resonate with audiences. Influencers provide a personal touch, sharing their genuine experiences with products, which can sway their followers’ purchasing decisions.


To keep your content fresh, on-brand, and interactive, consider the following strategies:


1. Content Calendar:


Plan monthly or quarterly content. This ensures a mix of promotional, educational, and engaging content. For example, Bega Cheese often shares recipes, farm stories, and product spotlights, keeping their content diverse and engaging.


2. Diversify Content Types: 


Don’t just stick to images or videos. Incorporate polls, quizzes, and interactive stories to engage your audience actively. Platforms like Instagram offer features for polls and quizzes. Brands can use these to engage their audience and gather insights. Vegemite, for instance, has used polls to gauge how Aussies prefer their spread – thick or thin?


3. Collaborate for Limited-Edition Products:


Brands like Oreo have collaborated with celebrities to create limited-edition flavours, generating buzz and excitement among fans. Joint campaigns or giveaways can introduce your brand to a new audience. For instance, Menulog often collaborates with local restaurants for exclusive deals, benefiting both brands.


4. Celebrate Special Days with Themed Content:


Special days, whether they’re globally recognised or fun, quirky observances, offer a golden opportunity for brands to connect with their audience in a light-hearted and engaging manner. For food and beverage brands, days like National Pizza Day, World Chocolate Day, or even International Coffee Day can be particularly relevant. But it’s not just about creating a one-off post, creating themed content around these days can add a fun element to your content strategy.


5. Behind-the-Scenes Content: 


Give your audience a peek into the making of a product or an event. This humanises the brand and builds trust. Bonds Australia, a popular clothing brand, often shares behind-the-scenes from their photoshoots, giving fans a glimpse of the effort that goes into creating their campaigns.


The Power of Analytics in Social Media Marketing


Remember when food and beverage brands had to rely on focus groups and surveys to guess what consumers wanted? It was all a bit hit or miss back then. Today though, digital analytics hands marketers the key insights on consumer behaviour right at their fingertips. By tracking every social media engagement, click, share, and more, brands can unlock a wealth of data on exactly how people interact with them online.


These digital breadcrumbs create a crystal clear picture of target audience preferences and desires. The brands that embrace data-driven social media strategies have a huge edge over those still flying blind. 


Performance metrics provide a quantifiable measure of how well a brand’s content resonates with its audience. Some key metrics for the food and beverage industry include:


1. Engagement Rate:


This metric measures the level of interaction (likes, comments, shares) a post receives relative to its reach. For instance, a post about a new beverage flavour that receives a high number of shares and comments indicates strong audience interest and potential for sales.


2. Click-Through Rate (CTR): 


For brands promoting special offers or new menu items through social media ads, CTR indicates the percentage of viewers who clicked on the ad. A high CTR for a new dish advertisement suggests that the audience finds it appealing.

3. Conversion Rate:


This is the percentage of users who take a desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase after clicking on an ad. For example, a bakery promoting a special discount on online orders would track the conversion rate to determine the effectiveness of the campaign.


4. Customer Feedback and Reviews:


Comments, reviews, and direct messages can provide invaluable insights into customer preferences and areas of improvement. A pizza chain, for instance, might notice recurring comments about a particular topping and decide to introduce a new pizza variant based on that feedback.


Boosting Online Reputation through Positive Reviews and Engagement:


Positive reviews are gold for food and beverage brands. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. For instance, a local café with glowing reviews about its artisanal coffees and pastries is more likely to attract new customers than one with mixed or negative reviews.


Direct engagement with customers is another powerful tool. Responding to comments, addressing concerns, and even simple gestures like thanking a customer for a positive review can significantly boost a brand’s online reputation. Take the example of Cadbury, which actively engages with its audience on social media. When a fan tweeted about a missing chocolate piece in their favourite Cadbury selection box, the brand promptly responded with humour and sent a replacement, turning a potentially negative experience into a positive interaction.


Analytics and direct engagement are not just tools but essential components of a successful social media strategy for food and beverage brands. By understanding and responding to audience preferences and feedback, brands can craft more effective campaigns, build trust, and foster lasting customer relationships.


Conclusion: Future-Proofing Your Food and Beverage BrandA recap of the main points discussed.


So a quick recap: We’ve touched on insights into optimising brand identity, creating engaging content, and the undeniable influence of analytics in social media marketing. For brands striving for a compelling online presence, the journey doesn’t end here. It’s about continuous learning, adapting, and innovating. Need a spark of creativity or a strategic pivot? Our ideas are up for grabs, serving as a springboard for your tailored strategy.


The next step is action. Embrace these insights, apply them with confidence, and witness the transformative power of social media first-hand. Ready for a game-changing move? Talk to us and get a customised proposal for your brand. 

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