Food Influencer Marketing: How It’s Done

Food influencer marketing
Food influencers on Instagram - the best of the rest.
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It’s so important to understand the mindset of your consumer and to provide content to them when they are actively searching for the solution you provide.

Intro Fuel’s Co-Founder, Ryan, wrote a highly regarded article on how most marketers are doing influencer marketing wrong these days. But in the same breath, those who are doing it right, are doing it beautifully – and seeing great results.

In a nutshell, the principle is that when doing influencer marketing, your objective is not to make an immediate sale on this first touchpoint. As Ryan puts it “nobody is scrolling through Instagram with a credit card in their hand.” And he’s right, people aren’t actively looking for something to buy while on thumbing through Instagram – so why bother trying? It does more damage than good.

An influencer marketing campaign needs to provide value. Your campaign needs to be content that your consumer wants to consume – not a delivery method to get a 10 percent off discount code in front of their eyes.

To be fair, there is a time and place for discount codes. They’re great for tracking and measuring performance. But c’mon’, not every single time! Definitely not using QJK23FBQU78KDJ10 at the checkout – people simply can’t remember this ass they continue to their shopping cart.

Food brands have an exceptional opportunity to involve their product into meaningful content that consumers actually want to consume. Food influencer marketing has been gaining steam recently, and for good reason. Online food shopping trends in the US prove a shift taking place among consumers. Between 2014 and 2016, the number of people who said that they’ve purchased food online, and would do so again, more than doubled.

Food and Beverage Meets Instagram

While I do not scroll Instagram with a credit card in my hand, I do scroll through Instagram and save posts to return to for recipes, convenience services, and new restaurants. During my browsing time, I’m very open to hearing a food influencer’s recommendations.

It’s important to understand the mindset of your consumer and to provide content to them when they are actively searching for the content you’re providing, or at the very least, in a mindset where they are going to be receptive to it.

Food Influencers on Instagram

Here are a few examples of influencer marketing campaigns in the food and beverage industry. We’ll review one that isn’t quite on the money, another that shows promise, a third that just misses the mark, and finally, a home run.

The first food influencer post I want to review is one that started with good intentions, but never came close to truly making an impact on the target audience. This is a clear cut example of a brand that was clever enough to begin working with food influencers, but lacked the direction to create content consumers desire.

Food influencer on Instagram

“But she’s a food blogger!” You may retort. That’s true, Raina makes a living as a food blogger. She also isn’t the type of food blogger that has followers who care about natural and simple ingredients. What’s this post about? To be blunt, boobs. It’s about boobs. Not RX bars. Not how they are made simply with ingredients you can read and pronounce.

Let’s touch on product setting – when’s the last time you took four boxes of granola bars and laid down on a tennis court? Probably right after the last time you scrolled through Instagram with your credit card in your hand, hey? 

The caption, no matter how good, how on brand, informational or otherwise is negated by this image.

Signs of Promise with Food Influencers

More and more brands are choosing nano-influencers and micro-influencers to make up the bulk of their influencer marketing efforts. While many brands still flounder to put together a coherent strategy, some are making moves in the right direction. A lot of the time, simply providing your influencers with a campaign brief is the direction your strategy needs for a tasty ROI.

Keen One Quinoa is making excellent use of nano-influencers. Here in this post, we can see the product front and center, in use, and in a natural setting. The caption details her specific situation, and why Keen One Quinoa suits her lifestyle. She goes on to talk about how to use the quinoa cup and how simple and convenient it is – a major selling point for a product like this. Lastly, she volunteers her favourite flavour, which opens the door for her audience to volunteer their favorite flavors too.

Unseen in this post is the second image to the carousel, where she shows the finished product. Well done Keen One Quinoa – we think you’re pretty keen with your nano-influencer strategy.

Nano-influencer in the food and beverage industry

Improving Food Influencer Content

This Primal Kitchen sponsored post was so close to being a real treat. Can you spot the critical mistake? Don’t worry, I’ll share it shortly. First, let’s take a look at what works.

The influencer is a good match to the brand. @eatthegains is all about healthy eating and her followers value her advice on food and health. Good start. Next, the image is high quality, crisp, and colorful. The product is visible and clear, but not so isolated that it’s awkward. The salad she used the dressing for is also well-presented. It looks good, doesn’t it? Can I have the recipe, please?

The caption delivers! We get the backstory to the meal, and we also get the recipe for this delicious treat.

Now, that clumsy error – the additional handle included? Nope. Usually we don’t like seeing any other brand’s handles in sponsored content, but it works in this case. Whole Foods is a distributor for Primal Kitchen and knowing where to buy it is not only relevant information, it’s necessary.

Food influencer on Instagram

The critical error is an egregious sin of influencer marketing because it could have been avoided with the proper monitoring measures in place. I’ve just consumed an awesome piece of content and now I want to learn more about Primal Kitchen, but when I click on @primalkitchen, I’m brought to an error page! What a wasted effort. The true Primal Kitchen handle is @primalkitchenfoods. Bummer. Had they implemented a monitoring or approval process, it’d be a quick fix and there would have been a nice little influx of traffic from those lost clicks.

Top Quality Food Influencer Content

In this post for Green Chef, we’re greeted by an engaging image in a natural setting. The image is bright, clear, and the colors contrast beautifully. The branded box is in the photo in a manner that’s natural to its use. In her kitchen, with the products inside being displayed out on the counter. So far, so good.

The caption starts out with “mom hack #548394576” – I love the beginning of this caption because it tells me that she knows her audience. She knows who she’s speaking to and who this piece of content is for. Sure, a few dads, uncles, or young women in their 20s might be following her – but that’s not who this is for. This post is for busy moms like her. This post is for moms who are following her for her mom hacks.

Moving down through the caption, she gets into the specifics of why Green Chef is, in fact, a mom hack. Life gets hectic, but you still want healthy choices for your family. Sounds like she’s hitting the brand voice perfectly and not straying too far from their core values.

That’s how it’s done. The food and beverage industry is prime for the taking and Instagram is just the place to make it happen. Knowing your audience well enough to know where they hang out online and when they’re receptive to your content is a great start. Take the next step and implement it! Work micro-influencers into your marketing mix this year and make great strides connecting with your audience.

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