The proliferation of platforms and formats like short-videos have changed the influencer marketing game for marketers, brands and creators. In this fast-evolving space, keep up with the big trends and hot topics that matter in Storyboard18’s Weekly Shorts in collaboration with affable.ai, an end-to-end AI-powered influencer marketing platform. Track how creators, communities and brands are engaging with users and disrupting marketing to get a sharp and fast insight into present and future trends.
It is not a new concept that brands providing food and beverage services have influencers on board to promote new offerings, discounts, loyalty programs, and more. McDonald's is a prime example, but there are others as well. So, why not learn influencer strategies from some of these brands that excel at running campaigns?
Five proven influencer strategies to promote your food and beverage services
1. Introduce influencer-favorite meals
Earlier this year, Chipotle launched two new menu items - Fajita Quesadilla Hack and Keithadilla - inspired by TikTok influencers Keith Lee and Alexis Frost's custom orders.
Lee and Frost shared videos of enjoying the Steak Quesadilla with Fajita veggies, DIY honey vinaigrette, and sour cream dressing. The videos went viral, generating over 30 million views, 3 million likes, and 69.5k shares on TikTok. Since this hack was not an official menu item on the brand's digital ordering channels, Chipotle introduced the meal on its digital menu to capitalize on the viral interest of consumers, driving more traffic and sales for their food and beverage services.
Influencers, like celebrities, have loyal fans who admire their lifestyle and choices in food, drinks, travel spots, or other products and services. Launching their favorite meal is one of the best influencer strategies to:
Tap into the influencer's loyal fan base and drive them to purchase.
Go viral on social media. Increase in-store traffic.
Skyrocket your revenue.
2. Conquer the metaverse with gaming influencers
When it comes to marketing food and beverage services, effective brand positioning is the key. Since the metaverse is the new hangout spot for the young generation, it is where your brand should be positioning itself. Gaming influencers can help you do that.
Chipotle leveraged the gaming influencers to launch its first Roblox game. They introduced a virtual lookalike of their restaurant in the metaverse to increase holiday sales around Halloween in 2021. The game allows players to win exciting promo codes and rewards for free food when ordering from Chipotle.
To stir pre-launch hype for the game, Chipotle turned to gaming influencers. Several YouTube gamers shared videos featuring the game explaining how it works, amassing over 850 K views collectively. The videos encouraged viewers to get their free burrito from their nearest restaurant.
Whether you're a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) or a food delivery app, gaming influencers can help you win loyal customers. Gamers have close connections to the gaming community, who value their recommendations. These influencers share unedited raw content with their audience, which makes them seem more authentic. They are likely to get through to the audience and win their trust.
3. Invest in influencer podcasts
Have you ever wondered how podcasts fueled the growth of the billion-dollar meal kit delivery service HelloFresh? Investing heavily in podcasts, HelloFresh started it soon after it jumped into the influencer marketing bandwagon.
The brand sponsored some of the most listened-to podcasts, including F**kface, Top Five, and Mile Higher, hosted by well-known influencers like Geoff Ramsey, Gavin Free, Kendall Rae, and more. With thousands of followers on social media, these podcast hosts' voices hold value in their community.
Podcasts engage the audience and encourage them to take action, especially influencer-hosted podcasts. Influencers connect with their community through authentic audio content, which can be leveraged by brands offering food and beverage services to lure in new customers.
The hosts share a host-read ad (an ad written and read by the podcast host) about what HelloFresh is, why they like it, and how it can help their listeners prepare fresh food without hassle.
4. Craft an influencer mix to spotlight specific customer segments' unique pain points
Brands and marketers know they must pick influencers who resonate with their target audience, but very few can follow them. Some are probably unaware of the metrics required to identify the right influencers and tools, like influencer marketing platforms that streamline the entire process of connecting you with the influencers and their followers.
Those brands using the right tactics have seen remarkable results. Take, for example, Blue Apron, one of the top food and beverage services brands. It went for a creative influencer marketing approach. The brand picked influencers according to their customer pain points to effectively target specific segments and stand out among competitors. They hired influencers representing each segment to connect with the community better.
Here are the top customer pain points and the influencers they collaborated with:
Parents - Mom, dad, and family influencers
Blue Apron targets busy parents who don't get the time to cook delicious family dinners. So, to target working parents, the brand collaborates with mommy bloggers and dad influencers to promote their "Fast and Easy" and "Family-friendly" meal plans.
Diabetics - Dietitians, nutritionists, health experts
Blue Apron has a specific meal plan for people suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes. To promote these nutritionist-approved recipes to prospective customers, they rely on expert influencers or key opinion leaders like dietitians, doctors, and more who share advice on managing blood sugar levels.
Entrepreneurs - Founders and business owners
In addition to busy parents, they also target business owners who cannot make time to prepare and cook a proper meal. The brand partners with entrepreneurs to tap into their community of working professionals and brand owners.
5. Go beyond Instagram and TikTok creators
TikTok and Instagram are the top choices when it comes to influencer marketing. But Twitch is increasingly gaining momentum. Twitch allows users to stream live game streams, esports tournaments, music broadcasts, and "in real life" video content. Such content enables you to endorse food and beverage services among a particular community tied together due to the same interests.
Take Starbucks, for example. The multinational coffeehouse collaborated with Twitch influencer Harry Mack to host a one-hour live Twitch "Reverse Roast" so that fans could join in the fun. With light-hearted, fun conversations, Mack helped the at-home coffee drinkers learn more about Starbucks' upcoming coffee products.
Since consumers now demand more tailor-made content, this is a great strategy to take personalization to the next level and evoke interest in your brand. Mack recommended each viewer their own coffee flavor based on their self-description as "vibrant," "confident," and more.
While Twitch is an excellent platform for all business types, it works especially great for highlighting your food and beverage services. The younger customers like to know the vibe of a place before they visit it. Inviting Twitch influencers to your restaurants can showcase an authentic vibe with your target audience.
This week's Weekly Shorts is written by the editorial desk of affable.ai