While Facebook has the most users of any social media platform, Millennials have started to favor things like Instagram. And while Twitter may be a convenient way to skim the latest news headlines in 140 characters or less, some brands find a lot of success on image-heavy Pinterest.
Between bloggers, restaurants, and lifestyle experts, there’s no shortage of food photos or discussions about food on social media. The goal is to engage with social media in a way that cuts through the noise and allows your brand to shine.
No matter what your social media platforms of choice, these strategies can help your packaged food brand to stand out, leading to more loyal customers, and most importantly, an increase to your bottom line.
1. Find Your Audience
By now you’ve likely done a lot of market research to discover who you are targeting in your marketing efforts. Who is most likely to have a need for your product? Once the audience is defined, you can find them on social media. Facebook is a large platform. The potential to find your audience is highly likely. Depending on whom you are seeking, though, other platforms may perform better for you. Do some research to find out what’s likely to work, but don’t be afraid to experiment with a few platforms until you hit a rhythm.
2. Build Community
Once you find where your audience is, you need to work on building community. As a comparison, you can’t move into a new neighborhood and expect to be the most popular person on your block within a week. Dip your toe into social media and slowly start building connections. Share content from brands, stores, restaurants and lifestyle bloggers that relate to your own content. Use that to start building a following. Check out competitors and related products and see what they are doing to reach out to potential customers.
- Define your audience and what social media platforms they use
- Build your brand community with information that relates to their interests
- Interact and engage
- Position the unique qualities of your brand
- Tell your story
3. Engage in Conversation
Once you have established accounts on your social media platforms and have begun to share material, start engaging with other conversations as well. You have a lot of expertise when it comes to your industry and product. Respond to questions people have quickly. Find communities about things that relate to your product, such as gluten-free food, healthy eating, quick weeknight dinners, or meals for kids. Add helpful and unique ideas or answers when appropriate.
4. Convey Your Unique Differentiators
Rarely is your product going to stand alone as the only option for consumers. You are going to have at least one, and likely several competitors. So what makes your product unique? Why should people buy your product instead? This isn’t about telling people your product is the best – it’s about showing them what they can gain with your product. Do have unique and convenient packaging? Is your product pre-portioned for convenience? Are the ingredients wholesome or specially sourced? This is where you start positioning your brand the way you want others to see it.
5. Tell Your Story
When you tell a story with your product, your audience can picture themselves as a character. Potential customers are more likely to see themselves engaging with your product and connecting to the lifestyle you are portraying. Storytelling goes beyond showing what your product is, or even how its used. What problems does it solve for your customer? Does it relieve the stress of knowing what to pack for your kid’s lunch? How does having a smoother morning routine make a parent’s life better? You can also use aspirational storytelling, depending on how you’d like to position your brand. Do the ingredients in your product make people feel better or feel healthier or deliver vitamins? Will this make them feel better about their bodies and their health? Will your product make people feel like they are a part of the latest food trends.
6. Leverage the People who can Influence Many
There are people who have already done the hard work of establishing their own personal brand on social media. They are called Influencers. These people have carefully cultivated a following of people who trust their opinions and recommendations when it comes to their chosen subject. Some may have established unique blogs and then transferred that audience to social media. Some may have worked in the industry in which they are an expert. Regardless of their path, they come with a built-in audience of potential customers. Look for those that can promote your product to your shared audience. Try to identify the influencers that include links to their recommended list of foods to try. Getting others to link to your product’s web page will not only benefit sales, but is great for your SEO efforts as well.
There are several ways you can use influencers. The easiest way is to follow them and to share their content with your followers and to engage in conversations on their pages and communities. The most impactful way is to partner with them to share resource whether that be them promoting your product or blog article, or even having them “guest blog” for you and promote that content to their followers. Getting your product in front of the eyes of their loyal fans can do wonders for your product sales – look at Oprah’s annual holiday Favorite Things list, for example.
7. Get Rid of the Hard Sales Pitch
The “rule” for social media promotion is that 70% of your content should be informative and not focused on selling. People want to learn about whatever it is they’re researching. Try posting a new recipe featuring your product. Talk about ingredients and how they are sourced. What’s unique about how your product is made? These are all interesting, informative posts that will help engage your audience. 20% of the information you share should be helpful posts from other people. While that may not drive traffic to your website, it helps build trust with your audience, especially if you share from other popular sites or people who carry a lot of influence. Only 10% of your posts should sound “salesy” or contain direct business offers. Too much sales promotion is a turn-off for the audience you are trying to build.
Building a social media following doesn’t happen overnight. Like all good, organic followings, it takes careful curation and some time to build a good, loyal brand following, but the results can be worth it.
If you’re interested in supporting your social media marketing efforts with high quality, in-store packaging and displays, ProCorr can help. Corrugated, in-store displays are a key part of a product’s promotional programs. With ProCorr’s customized design and printing process, we can bring your brand and graphics to life and attract customers at the crucial final phase – when they are making an in-store purchase decision. Contact us to see how we can help your food brand grow.