Food businesses are losing faith in Instagram following a change in its algorithm.
The social media platform’s choice to prioritize videos over photos has created unforeseen costs for small businesses, leaving many owners frustrated, reported The New York Times (March 22).
This has left food brands looking for ways to stand out on the screen.
With that, The Food Institute took a closer look at the most effective ways to successfully market a food business via social media in 2022:
USER GENERATED CONTENT
User-generated content (UGC) is any content (text, videos, images, reviews, etc.) created by people, rather than brands, published on social media or other channels, according to social media management platform Hootsuite.
Hootsuite noted that UGC is important because it takes authenticity to the next level, helps establish brand loyalty, and is more cost-effective than influencer marketing.
Hootsuite said that consumers are actually 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands.
“UGC is paramount when it comes to marketing a food brand on social media for multiple reasons,” Olivia Dreizen Howell, founder of March Lion Media, told The Food Institute. “Social media is built on trust between the brand and the consumer, and the way that trust is built is via the content displayed and distributed by the brand.”
Howell added that, when users begin to see content that resonates with them, they begin to trust the brand more, even if they haven’t bought from the brand yet, developing brand loyalty.
“When users begin to trust a brand via social media, they are much more likely to spend their money on the brand,” she said. “So, when you post UGC, it shows a few important pieces of marketing: it shows that other people like and trust the brand, therefore, and simply, it’s trustworthy and worth the purchase.”
Another way brands are attracting consumers is through social commerce, or shopping directly on social channels, such as Instagram.
“While social commerce has become commonplace for certain industry verticals for quite some time, that hasn’t always been the case for grocery,” Keith Nealon, CEO of Bazaarvoice, a provider of UGC solutions, told The Food Institute.
“However, that is quickly changing and the use of social commerce in grocery is now on the rise as well.”
In fact, a recent survey from Bazaarvoice found that almost half (47%) of consumers said that food and beverage products are what they browse for and buy the most on social media.
Food brands are taking notice. For example, Instacart’s new “Shoppable Recipes” feature, allows select food creators to link shopping lists to their TikTok videos, from which users can purchase products.
“Strategies like this are highly likely to be successful as they meet a consumer need,” said Nealon. “Not only do they allow consumers to purchase products from the comfort of wherever they’re scrolling, they also utilize the type of influencers that people trust the most – subject matter experts.”
Some restaurant chains are finding success with celebrity partnerships, reported Restaurant Business (March 2).
Limited-time partnerships between chains and celebrities have been rising in popularity in recent years, such as McDonald’s “Famous Orders” collaborations with the likes of J Balvin, BTS, and Saweetie.
Other brands are focusing on celebrity chefs. In New York, for example, Black Seed Bagels has an ongoing guest-chef series led by James-Beard nominated executive chef Dianna Daoheung.
Another feature of many of these partnerships is a charitable component, which benefits the recipients, but can also create positive publicity for the chain and celeb alike.