It should be simple to market food and beverages on Instagram. However, our 2021 Instagram benchmarks report found that food and drink brands have the lowest Instagram engagement rate of all 19 industries.
While there were some improvements in the benchmark report this year, engagement still needs to be higher. This is not surprising since most of my Instagram photos are pictures of meals I have eaten. This is true for millions more.
Engage with your audience by creating content
Social media is a great way for brands to build a community around what they do and what sets them apart. These attributes can be highlighted by demonstrating how your brand addresses your customers’ needs, wants, or pain points. Yoplait’s Go-GURT brand offers convenient snacks for kids that parents can take with them to avoid hunger pangs. Your audience will be attracted to content that is customized for them.
To encourage interaction and conversation around your content, use your captions and Instagram stickers. You could include a CTA in a feed post for your followers to respond in the comments, a Question, or a Poll box to a Story.
Another interactive feature that will get your followers engaged with your Stories is the “Add Yours” sticker. You could also post a Story featuring your favorite drink or food, along with an “add-yours” sticker that your followers can use to share your story.
Crystal Hot Sauce shows how niche content can be used to engage its audience. Crystal is a New Orleans company that celebrates Creole and Cajun food (yum), so she posts a New Orleans recipe to observe the National Red Beans and Rice micro-holiday.
To encourage engagement, the caption asks followers for their secret ingredient to post in the comments.
You can post a variety of interactive feed content
Because they are permanently placed on your page, photos, videos, and Reels have the greatest reach. Our benchmark report shows that the top 20% of performers get seven times more reach via Stories than Feed posts. An additional study that examined 962,402 Instagram Stories showed that Stories only reach half of the people that Feed posts do.
You can keep your audience engaged with fresh content via Feed, starting with photographs. According to our benchmark report, photos get the most engagement of all content types. The average engagement rate for photos in our benchmark report is 9.9%, and 7.4% when it comes to videos.
This doesn’t mean that video content should be avoided. While photos get the most engagement, still love video content. Particularly when it involves food and beverages.
Another important engagement metric is saved. It signals which content followers would like to revisit and keep. Recipes rank high in the top saved content categories. Some people even make digital in-app cookbooks by organizing all their saved recipes into collections. Your food and beverage marketing strategy should include creating and promoting recipes. This is a flexible content category that works for any kind of Story or Feed post.
Carousel post should be a regular guest in your rotation. This post type has the highest engagement per impression. Carousel posts can be used to illustrate the creation of a dish, product, or guide. They can also include images and videos that show how it is made.
This example is from Minimalist Baker on Instagram. It shows a carousel of spring recipes in bright colors and CTAs for you to comment on and visit the link in the bio.
Instagram is a visual platform. Make sure you invest in high-quality videos and photos. Food and beverages are meant to delight and nourish, so be enthusiastic about your beverage marketing.
Enhance your visual content by using artistic and playful graphics such as Recess does bold color stories and motifs such as the one found in Oreo’s Instagram content.
Invite your followers to interact with your Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories provide your audience with short, but memorable snapshots of your brand. Instagram describes them as “fast, memorable, and fun”. They grab users’ attention by taking over the entire screen of their mobile phones with the option to tap to view the screen longer. Stories are a great way to engage consumers, and food and beverage brands should make use of their unique features.
Stories are distinguished by stickers, which offer a variety of ways to encourage audience interaction and participation. Instagram recently opened Story Links to all users. This is great news for food marketing and beverage marketing. Brands can now add Story links to their recipes, product pages, and blog posts.
The Tap Forward rate is a key indicator of how well your Instagram Stories are performing. Users want to see the next slide of your Story, not the previous one. Forward taps are a sign that users prefer to swipe to the next Story. The benchmark report showed that brands who post multiple Stories consistently have higher Tap Forward Rates and, ultimately, higher Completion rates. This means that users can view all Stories from a brand.
Below is an example of VanLeeuwen ice cream. It shows a series of year-in-review Stories in which customers are asked their favorite flavors and guessed the most popular. While the brand promotes its products, the main focus is on the customers.
Stories are limited in time, so you need to maintain a high level of content for your brand’s consistency. A retention rate above 70% is possible by sharing five Stories per day. This is enough to keep your followers interested but not overwhelmed.
Stories that contain images are more popular than stories with videos. It’s therefore important to include both video and image content.
Work with influencers or brand collaborators to partner
Influencers can have a lot of influence on Instagram. This is not just for celebrities. Any trusted creator can become an influencer if they have a loyal and engaged following. According to a Bazaarvoice survey, 56 percent of global respondents said that everyday social media users were their favorite influencers.
According to the 2022 Instagram Trend Report, young people are more likely to be influenced by multiple creators today and have a closer relationship based on shared interests than their popularity.
Now, there are more Instagram influencers than ever before, whether they’re high-profile or not. Influencers can share content about your brand or products with a wider audience than your own. You can invite another person to share a feed post or reel with their followers by using the Instagram Collabs feature.
Another mutually beneficial relationship is brand partnerships, which can help you reach a wider audience. Food52’s example shows how an Instagram Collabs post is shared with Five Two’s cookware brand, Five Two. It instantly reaches both audiences. To encourage engagement, you can tag the product in the picture to make it shoppable content.