Let’s BeReal: Not Every Emerging Social Media Platform is Right For Your Food Brand
TikTok and BeReal may be the hottest social media platforms on the market right now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit for your brand. In general, figuring out which social media platforms are a right fit can be confusing, or downright catastrophic if you don’t look before you leap. This is especially true in the food industry. Unlike other industries, it’s not as straightforward how you would leverage the power of certain social media channels, if at all.
You want to stay relevant and broaden your reach, but you don’t want to cause irreparable damage to your brand name. So how do you know which platforms will pay off, and which are a waste of time?
As an ad agency specializing in social media, our clients come to us seeking advice on this topic all of the time. More often than not, we recommend our clients hold off instead of hopping on the latest trending social media platforms. However, there are times when it’s worth taking the plunge.
Here are some considerations your brand must make before joining any social media platform.
Ask why you want to show up on social media in the first place
It’s important for brands to have a clearly defined goal for joining social media. What do you hope to get out of this marketing channel? For example, if you’re hoping to drive leads via a landing page form fill, but you’re on Instagram, where external links are hard to do natively, you need to consider an alternative social media channel.
Or let’s say you’re trying to drive direct sales through social media, and you hear that BeReal is where your target demographic (Gen Z) is spending all their time. BeReal doesn’t even have ad offerings, so you can’t expect to get very far down the funnel or be able to track sales.
Recognize that some social media platforms just aren’t for brands —and that’s okay!
We’re all accustomed to scrolling Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok and seeing brands marketing their content. However, in truth, that’s rarely why users download these apps. They download them to interact with their social circles and peek into the lives of people who fascinate them.
In other words, some of these apps just aren’t designed with brands in mind. Sure, there’s a place for them in some cases, but smart social marketers can decipher which platforms can drive sales and which are actually just for checking on Pete Davidson’s latest love interest.
At the end of the day, you need to know who your audience is and where you can actually connect with them. And sometimes, that requires you to “stay in your lane”.
Get realistic about your resources
Different social media platforms require different types of content. Ask yourself: what content do you have currently? What content can your brand potentially (and consistently) produce?
Take inventory of what resources you have to manage your social media channels, too. For example, some platforms require copious amounts of content, and you would be best served to have a content creator to manage it all. If you want to join these channels, but don’t have one of these professionals in-house, ask yourself what you would be willing to spend to hire one.
Some marketers will try to stretch their content and strategies to match what certain platforms require, and it’s like fitting a square peg into a round hole. In most cases, it’s smartest to focus on a small selection of social media channels you know you can do and do well.
Take YouTube or TikTok, for instance. If you don’t have a large repository of video content, or a mechanism that creates new video content consistently, it’s not realistic to launch a dedicated strategy for these channels. Even worse, if it doesn’t read as authentic to your brand, your customers will smell it right away. Showing up consistently and speaking the language of your audience are the keys to success on any social media platform.
Gauge Brand Safety
Let the “blue check” debacle on Twitter be a lesson for everyone: not every platform can guarantee brand safety, and certainly not in perpetuity. Some brands are still reeling financially from users impersonating them on Twitter. Despite being able to depend on a platform for years, the hard truth is that at any point, a platform can pose a risk to your brand reputation or, in some cases, your customers’ data.
For new and emerging platforms, in particular, security and enforcement of community guidelines aren’t always a given. As these platforms work out the irregularities and gaps in their technology and user experiences, it’s often best to hold off on joining until they do. It could do your brand more harm than good to be on a site still in its nascent stage.
Remember Clubhouse? We do. A couple years ago, it was all the rage, but lapses in community guidelines were the bane of companies who joined the platform too quickly. While sponsoring a discussion or forum on the platform seemed like a good idea at the time, it didn’t take long for brands to realize they weren’t actually in charge. And that these conversations could easily take on a life of their own and enter uncharted (or downright awkward) territory.
Which brings us to our next point: some social media platforms tend to flame out just as quickly as they arrived. This can be because they lose their value to users, or because they’re the subject of a scandal. In the latter case especially, you don’t want to be associated with tarnished platforms, or have your customers or your data compromised along the way.
Partner With an Agency Who Can Guide You
One reliable way to stay consistent with your brand voice and make the most out of social media is to partner with a full-service advertising and PR agency like EHY. We work with food brands like California Walnuts, the American Egg Board, Idaho Potatoes, and Martinelli’s apple juice— to name a few. Our specialty is serving up social media strategies that increase brand awareness and sales and drive customer loyalty.
Not sure how to expand your social media mix, or even where to start? Let’s talk.