Social media is a great way for food brands to market their products and to build meaningful relationships with customers. But what is best practice and what are the trends to be aware of in 2019?

We’re often asked, “How can I grow my food and drink business using social media?” so we have decided to share our latest tips for 2019 with you in this blog post.

As 67% of the UK population are now active in social media, it’s a great place to reach new audiences and keep your current customers loyal. It can be a confusing world, however, with so many platforms available and lots of tactics and rules for each.

Here are our 5 top tips for creating a strong brand for your food and drink business in social media:

1. Create a Clear Strategy

Social media can be overwhelming. The most important question to ask yourself is why are you doing it? What are you trying to achieve? Starting here will help you set clear objectives and keep focused on what really matters to your brand. It will also help you to plan content and to measure success.

A strategy must be true to your brand’s ethos and personality. Think about the words which describe your brand’s personality, as this is the overall tone which you should be aiming to achieve through your posts.

Creating audience personas will help you to create stronger and more meaningful relationships with customers. Who are your customers? Detail their characteristics such as their age, gender, location, relationship status, favoured platforms, preferred supermarkets, hobbies etc. This will help you to build up an idea of their behaviours and where they would typically engage with online. This will also help you to understand who they follow, and what content interests them.

Our free social media strategy worksheet will help you to kickstart your strategy mapping process for a specific campaign or for your overall approach. Ultimately, a social media strategy should provide you and your team with a blueprint for simple, effective and visual communication that your audience wants.

2. Create a Clear Customer Journey

We are getting lazier as social media users. According to Facebook research people make an opinion of your brand within the first 3 seconds of visiting your profile. This means you have less time to explain who you are and what you do to a customer. Make it as obvious as possible – as well as telling them where they can get their hands on your products.

We like Shelly’s Drinks and Bill’s Restaurants uses of Instagram Highlights to display the key information about their products, events, and menus.

3. Create a Beautiful Feed

Curation is important – and we would strongly recommend planning this. As part of your strategy try to create some simple rules for your content. Ours is simply “green” – yes, it makes content creation more of a challenge, but it can be worthwhile in terms of branding and growth. We like the rainbow theme used by Tims Dairy @timsdairyyogurt which fit with the colours and flavours of the key product range.

An Instagram feed which reflects seasonal changes can also be a good way to go. What are people eating at this time of year? Seasonal foody content can be very effective, especially when the right hashtags are used. Creating a content theme brings order to your profile and helps captivate your audience.

Does your social media accurately represent your brand? Is your content professional and eye-catching? Check in with your friends, families, and colleagues.

4. Tell your Stories

The Stories format is currently the biggest social media trend its popularity is growing, especially on Instagram. In 2019 we will see this format grow in popularity across all platforms. Facebook-owned WhatsApp Status and Facebook Stories are hugely popular in Asia already and YouTube recently rolled out Stories to creators on the video platform with more than 10K subscribers.

This is the new medium taking over social media. The ephemeral platform really appeals to people and provides brands with an opportunity to offer fun, genuine and in the moment content. It doesn’t require high production costs and you can story tell, which is one of the best thing a brand can do to get people to connect.

As a food business you should be showcasing your products, asking customer to engage with stickers such as polls and questions, and promoting offers and campaigns. You could also think about telling the Stories of your brand such as the founder’s tale, introducing employees and their interests, and showcasing customer content.

5. Use a Targeted Advertising Campaign

Facebook and Instagram advertising still offers a fantastic way to get right in front of your desired audience at relatively low cost. Campaigns start with budgets of as little as £10.

Targeting shoppers of Ocado, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Whole Foods is absolutely possible, as well as fans of other brands, celebrity chefs, and TV shows. Think about the location of your desired audience; are they near a particular store or market where you are stocked?

Consider new formats such as advertising in Instagram Stories and within Facebook Messenger, rather than in the newsfeed where every other advertiser is relying on reach.

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To hear more tips and ideas in person from our founder Alison Battisby, head to Enterprise Nation’s Food Exchange on Friday 12th April 2019. Alison will join Selfridges, Sainsbury’s and Oppo Ice Cream at the event where she will be talking about growth on Instagram and Facebook. Tickets are available here.

You can also listen to Alison on the Good Foodies podcast talking about trends for 2019 here.