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Influencer Marketing

4 Influencer Marketing Best Practices for Food & Beverage Brands

Explore influencer marketing strategies tailored to food and beverage brands.
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When your food gets served at a restaurant, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like me, you take a picture of your plate and share it on your Instagram Stories. 

We live in the era of “phone eats first,” with many of us instinctively pulling out our phone to capture photos and videos of our food before we take a bite. Food content and social media go hand-in-hand, which is precisely why influencer marketing works so well for food and beverage brands. 

In this 3-part series, we’ll be exploring influencer marketing strategies tailored to food and beverage brands. In Part 1, we’re diving deep into 4 influencer marketing best practices that all brands in this industry need to know. 

So, get your appetite ready and let’s dig in!

1. Cook up some mouth-watering video content.

There’s a reason why so many of us love food content — and it comes down to our biology. Studies show that an area of our brain called the nucleus accumbens, involved with pleasure and reward, naturally draws us to delicious-looking food. 

This means that the content possibilities are endless for food and beverage brands. 

Video content has been the biggest trend in marketing for the last few years, with both short-form and long-form video content boosting engagement for brands and creators. In fact, video content is 12x more successful than other types of content, generating higher engagement rates than both text and image content combined.

So, partner with creators to produce some yummy video content centered around your food products, including “What I Eat In A Day” videos, mukbangs, cooking tutorials, restaurant taste tests, and much more. Because creators are expert storytellers, they’ll be able to incorporate your products into their food content in an engaging, relatable way, whether you’re selling something as simple as raw ingredients, or as complex as a new cooking appliance. 

Check out this recipe post from @justine_snacks, in partnership with Pepperidge Farm. Her high-quality cooking video, riddled with stats around grilled cheese sandwiches, resulted in thousands of views, likes, and comments. I mean, who could resist a satisfying cheese pull?

@justine_snacks #ad I have never made a perfect classic grilled cheese in my life. I’m working with @Pepperidge Farm to fix that. They handed me a ton of survey results asking about what makes the best grilled cheese, I (obviously) have my own opinions, but the introduction of Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White proved that it’s a grilled cheese non-negotiable. I also think the apple-cheddar is non-negotialbe…but we’ll have to poll another survey about that. Thank you to @pepperidgefarm for sponsoring this video and for supporting my work! This was delicious, please eat more than 36 of them a year #sponsored ♬ Wes Anderson-esque Cute Acoustic - Kenji Ueda

2. Stay on top of seasons and trends.

When the first leaf falls off the tree in your front yard, what’s the first thing you do? You rush out to get your hands on pumpkin spice-flavored everything, of course.

Because food is so seasonal, it’s a good idea to build your campaigns around holidays and seasonal trends to evoke the feelings associated with different times of year. Plus, food is the highlight of many holidays, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Super Bowl Sunday. Just make sure you’re planning ahead to ensure you give each creator enough time to plan and create high-converting content for your themed campaigns.

Take note from M&M’S. To promote its personalized M&M’S products, the Mars brand worked with Aspire’s Agency Services team to launch a Mother’s Day influencer marketing campaign that truly moved the needle. Within 5 weeks, the team launched a two-pronged campaign that involved working with a mix of paid and seeded creators, who could share their personalized M&M’S paired with heartfelt Mother’s Day stories in high-quality, engaging content. This resulted in the most successful Mother’s Day season that M&M’S has ever seen.

3. Don’t limit your partnerships to foodie influencers. 

Food and beverage products generally have mass appeal to a wide variety of consumers. This means you’ll need a large volume and variety of content to hyper-target all of your different customer segments.

While foodie influencers do make some of the highest quality content (we’ll dive deeper into foodie influencers in Part 3 of this series), don’t feel like you have to stick to working with influencers who only talk about food and cooking. Mommy bloggers, lifestyle influencers, and travel influencers are all examples of creators who can also bring your content to life in content that shows how your product can be incorporated into someone’s everyday routine. 

@_amanduhh__ Since using @HelloFresh US, I no longer have to ask myself “what’s for dinner”! 🙌🏻😄 They deliver fresh produce RIGHT to my door, with step by step instructions on how to prepare a delicious meal! 🤤🍽️ #HelloFreshPartner #HelloFresh #cooking #cook #cookwithme #momlife #momsoftiktok #sahm ♬ La vie en rose (Cover Edith Piaf) - 田东昱

Try working with a few different types of influencers and use performance data to determine the type that works best for your brand. Then, re-invest in similar creators during your next campaign.

4. Squeeze more juice out of your influencer partnerships through co-creation.

There are many opportunities for food and beverage brands to co-create with influencers, beyond just #sponsored posts.

It’s no secret that influencers are talented content creators — but their talents span far beyond that. For example:

  • Create a recipe together. Your brand can work with a creator who has expertise in the food industry, such as a private chef or a nutritionist, to develop a recipe that incorporates your products. By sharing recipes endorsed by these industry experts, you’re bound to boost engagement and sales — not only because people like to save recipes for later, but also because you can repurpose this on your website, on product packaging, and more. Ensure you work with a diverse array of creators to develop a wide range of recipes catered to different diets, cultures, and more. 
  • Invite them to exclusive events. Hosting in-person events is an excellent way to engage with influencers, allowing them to experience the brand and generate content in a distinctive setting. If you operate a restaurant, bar, or cafe, consider inviting a group of influencers for an evening of cocktails and shared platters catered by your restaurant. For brands that offer products or ingredients, showcase your product’s versatility by serving various bite-sized recipes at an extravagant rooftop venue.

The point is, get creative with your influencer partnerships. The possibilities are truly endless!

Check out Part 2 of this series, where we cover real-life examples of food and beverage brands with amazing influencer marketing strategies and discuss why their campaigns were successful.

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