“All companies should be on social media” – this phrase is well known by the most. However, it not as widely accepted of a fact that for some companies, social media platforms are incredibly better suited communications channels than for others. The food industry belongs to the former group.
All marketing and communications channels have their respective strengths that make them particularly suitable for some firms and less so for others. TV is a flashy channel that efficiently increases awareness. Events are well-suited for gathering customer insights and generate value for customers by meeting them personally. For a company selling hot air blowers it is barely a sensible decision to sink their whole marketing budget on TV ads, as their customer base can be reached more efficiently through, for instance, various events related to the industry.
Likewise, the social media has its own strengths that make it a splendid channel for many brands. Here are three reasons why companies operating in the food industry especially should invest in social media presence.
Ever gotten hungry after seeing a picture or video of absolutely heavenly looking food on social media? I definitely have. Social media is an extremely visual platform. Many bloggers and companies have gained tens of thousands of followers through posting pretty (delicious) food pictures on social media.
Unlike in, for example, TV advertising, a company doesn’t have to burn thousands of euros to take wonderful food pictures and videos for social media. The most important factors are visuality and uniqueness: there’s no benefit in snapping photos of boring packaging or dull plates. The audience in social media knows better. The magic is in details: all crumbs must be perfectly placed. As soon as the idea is clear and the set is ready, all you need to do is to get your smartphone out of your pocket and the perfect food post is just a click away.
User generated content
For a food company, the best part of social media is that you’re not the only one producing content for the platform: people using your products post pictures of their own culinary experiments and bravura and share recipes, product tips and recommendations.
Encourage your customers and social media followers to generate content of their own. User generated content is a powerful asset and marketing tool: consumers perceive social media content generated by other users far more honest and trustworthy than company-made product ads. You can send novelty products for micro influencers to try them out, or you can reward the best recipes posted by customers – or even make a photo gallery or book featuring them.
This should be clear from just the name already: social media is a social channel, where the feeling of collectivity and virtual communities play a central role in individual user experiences.
The role of communities is emphasised even more amidst changing environment. This applies to the food and nutrition industries as well. How and what people eat is currently going through remarkable changes. For instance, the share of vegetarians of the total population is increasing while the source of their food and the environmental impact of its production have become hot topics since the early 2000s. There are numerous communities created around these topics on social media. It’s easy for consumers to look for advice and tips from Facebook groups or find information and inspiration under specific hashtags on Instagram.
A food company should take full advantage of the collective spirit of social media and encourage and support communities interested in their products, either by creating your own communities or participating in the discussion of existing ones.