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Where Specialty Brands Should Focus Social Media Efforts

Circle Media Team

It can be difficult for an emerging or legacy specialty food brand to know where to invest time and money when trying to grow an organic social media audience and convert advertising impressions into sales.

During the SFA In the Know webinar, “Platform Strategy for the Now,” Sircle Media founder Adam Brown, director of social strategy, Sara Heiden, and social strategist, Molly O’Donnell, explained how to create content, distribute pertinent messaging, manage one's community, and leverage social media network tools to maximize success on the platform.

“It’s really important with the ever-changing social media landscape that you are always thinking about the current ecosystem,” said Brown. “Often, one can get caught in the ‘sauce’ of what worked maybe in an old role, a year ago, or even a month ago, but it’s important to stay up to date because things change quickly.”

Quick Bites

Content planning: Having a robust calendar of strategic marketing initiatives can be a great way to support innovations in product and packaging, or give a general retail boost, said Heiden.

Retail velocity support: No brand is too small to leverage in-store grocery technology programs like cash-back rewards service Aisle which can give crucial insights about campaign performance, said Brown.

TikTok’s paid platform: The Sircle media team recommends taking advantage of TikTok’s paid advertising services to run ‘spark ads,’ an ad format that allows content published to a brand’s TikTok page to reach a wider audience, and ‘dark ads,’ paid advertising that targets a segmented population and does not display on a brand’s social media page.

Executing High-Quality Content

“As we continue to closely monitor changes in the algorithms of social platforms, we have seen more focus on vertical-style video content,” said O’Donnell. “This style of content comes off as relatable and helps humanize brands.”

She noted that the rise of TikTok has helped to popularize this style of content, which continues to grow with investment in Facebook and Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and even Pinterest video pins.

The Sircle Media team recommends three types of vertical-style videos that have enjoyed recent success. They include product-focused videos (what sets it apart?), use case information (what recipes or pairings can I incorporate with the product?), and retail support (where can I find it?).

Heiden said that CPG brands are now, more than ever, leaning into creative collaborations with industry stakeholders.

“When brands collaborate it can offer several benefits that contribute to both brands’ success,” said Heiden, including “reaching a wider audience, leveraging trends and seasonality, and creating something exclusive.” She added that, when collaborating on an Instagram campaign, be sure to make use of Instagram’s collaboration feature which can help increase the post’s overall reach.

In the video below, Brown recommends that brands rethink their TikTok strategy and overall social media program because it is important for specialty food and beverage makers to meet their shoppers where they are, and for most, that’s on social media.

To learn more about how to draft and execute a strong social media strategy, watch the webinar On Demand in the SFA Learning Center. Watch now.