Social media is a place where food and beverage brands can showcase their offerings, promote themselves, and let their personalities shine.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to leverage social apps for your F&B brand
  • Why influencer marketing is worth exploring
  • Expert tips to improve your F&B paid social tactics
  • How to save on social media strategies

I remember the first time I saw someone take a smartphone photo of their food at a restaurant before digging in. (Probably because the eatery was pretty dark and the flash was momentarily blinding.)

These days, it’s pretty common to see people snap their plates and beverages. In fact, some restaurants now craft their dishes, drinks and decor specifically to be Insta-worthy.

Since advertising for the food and beverage industry leans heavily on visuals, it’s no surprise that social media is one of its top digital marketing channels. 

In fact, a recent survey shows up to 30% of millennial diners actually avoid restaurants without a strong Instagram presence.

While growing an organic following on social media is a great way to support your overall F&B marketing plan, it takes a significant amount of time and effort. Without paid social tactics, it’s nearly impossible to achieve a presence that will bolster your marketing goals.

Luckily, there are a handful of F&B paid social strategies that can help promote your brand.

Bud Light’s Twitter feed

This dark-post ad doesn’t actually show up on Bud Light’s Twitter feed. (Image: Twitter)

1. Take advantage of “dark posts”

Many of the main social platform players, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, allow you to publish “dark posts.”

These posts don’t appear on your organic feed. Instead, you pay the platform to place them inside the feed of your target audience.

Dark posts look like regular social media posts, so they don’t disrupt your audience’s scrolling experience. Instead, they capture the reader’s attention while maintaining the feel of an organic post.

The key benefits of using dark posts for your F&B brand include:

  • Highly specific targeting
  • A seamless in-feed appearance
  • A/B testing opportunities

Not only that, but you can experiment with these posts without worrying about how they’ll look on your permanent profile.

2. Make the most out of Facebook Ads

Over 90% of restaurants use Facebook for marketing due to its incredibly diverse targeting and placement options. 

Facebook Ads come in a variety of shapes and sizes to help you spend wisely while promoting your F&B brand.

To make the most of these ads:

By using insights from Meta Business Suite (Meta runs Facebook and Instagram), you can analyze your existing audience and use that data to design assets like lead generation ads.

3. Set the right goals

No marketing campaign is complete without realistic goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).

If your goal is to increase brand awareness, you could start with dark posts, as mentioned above. 

Depending on your goal, you may have better luck with a regular paid social ad (though types vary by platform, of course). F&B brands that want to attract more foot traffic or promote a refreshed menu or banquet room may want to spread the word via an influencer (more on that below).  

It’s also worth keeping in mind that most people don’t just use a single social app, so you may want to leverage at least two channels to achieve your desired results. For example, since Meta runs Facebook and Instagram, you can create ads that’ll surface on both platforms.

@spinach4breakfast on Instagram

A sponsored post by influencer @spinach4breakfast (Image: Instagram)

4. Leverage influencers

Social media referrals can be a highly effective way to attract new visitors to your F&B business. 

Today, 37% of Americans decide which restaurant to visit based on word-of-mouth recommendations. With paid social, you can put word-of-mouth endorsements in the driver’s seat of your ads.

While organic UGC created by customers can do wonders for your restaurant’s reputation, it’s usually hard to come by. That’s where influencer marketing comes in.

Influencers promote your F&B brand, offering, or campaign to their audiences. While influencers span nearly all industries, the F&B space is one of the most common. Because of that, chances are good that there’s a F&B influencer in your area.

Influencers range from nano-level (up to 10,000 followers) to A-list celebs with followings in the millions. Because of that, the chances are good that you can find an influencer to work with nearly any budget.

Social media accounts of micro-influencers may not have a huge reach. However, they take advantage of high organic engagement. In fact, the average engagement rate of micro-influencers on Instagram is 3.86%. Meanwhile, mega-influencers have a 1.21% engagement rate.

5. Host a social media contest

Contests can be a creative way to capture attention, grow your audience, and even score content or testimonials in the process.

You can give away a cookbook, a dinner for two, or a case of your brand’s beverage in exchange for a comment, share, follow, or post.

This F&B paid social tactic isn’t expensive, but it can be highly effective. It can bring new visitors to your location while re-engaging existing clients.

person taking photo of pastries on smartphone for F&B paid social

It’s key that your social profiles have content that’s consistent and updated, such as your logo, phone number, address, and website. (Image: Unsplash)

6. Don’t ignore the organic presence

You wouldn’t want to create a stellar paid search ad that goes to a subpar landing page. The same goes for your social media profiles.

While paid efforts can get you faster results, your organic content is what people will see when they land on your profiles. These posts help you showcase your brand’s personality, ethos, and style.

If this sounds like a lot to take on, don’t worry. You don’t have to invest a ton of time into maintaining your organic presence. Simply creating a schedule for consistent posts and having a few parameters you keep in mind should suffice. 

Posting parameters can include things like:

  • A mix of graphics, videos, and photos
  • Captions that follow your established brand voice
  • Timeframes for when your posts are likely to be most visible
  • Not overly editing or filtering posts

Along with a posting plan, it’s key that your social profiles have content that’s consistent and updated, such as your logo, phone number, address, and website. 

The takeaway

F&B paid social media tactics can bring about serious benefits for your business.

These strategies can help you grow your audience, increase brand awareness, boost conversions, and get more people in your doors or buying your products.

Leveraging even a few of the above strategies in 2022 can streamline your digital marketing efforts and keep you competitive without breaking the bank.

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