What Clif Bar Can Teach You About Food Marketing on Instagram
You know an Instagram presence is important for your brand, but how do you create the right brand presence to get your audience excited about using your products?
Successful brands go beyond just talking about features and benefits because they know brand storytelling is about more than the retail value of their products–it’s about how people feel using them. Think of Instagram as a content platform for generating high perceived value.
A good example of brand success is the energy bar company, Clif Bar. The company was founded by a cyclist who had trouble finding a high-performance bar that tasted good. You’re probably already familiar with their protein bars and associate their brand with outdoor adventure. Super fans also know their stance on preserving the environment and sustainable food production practices.
If you go to Clif Bar’s Instagram account, you barely see their product. You might even mistake it for a nature photographer’s personal account.
Clif Bar’s Instagram has 150,000 followers and counting, with high engagement on each post.
Let’s take a look at why it does so well:
Showcase the Lifestyle, Not the Product
These days, especially with Millennial customers, transparently showing who you are and your values is essential. Clif Bar is great at showing, rather than telling why they exist and who they exist for. One way is by capturing where their fans use their products and what kind of lifestyle they enjoy. If you want to have a long runway with your target audience, look beyond simply selling a product. Capture a few core values you can convey visually to tell a consistent story.
Understand Your Style Principles
A quick way to get a sense of a brand’s style is to scroll through all the thumbnails on the page.
What kind of colors pop out at you?
Is the style very minimalist, or is it bright and colorful with a lot going on?
Are there more photos of objects or people?
Do you see a lot of text overlay or do the images speak for themselves?
A glance at Clif Bar’s page and it’s clear they are all about the outdoors. You see different seasons, mostly colors found in nature, saturated hues, and a stillness that is found only in nature. When you do see people they are often very small in the photo surrounded by wilderness, or they’re captured in action in an outdoor environment.
Just like any marketing communication channel you should have a plan before you post. Discuss what color schemes represent your brand well. Understand what themes tell your brand’s story. And, don’t forget that the words you use should be chosen carefully (even sounds!). Create a basic style guide that defines your brand’s voice. Is it playful, sarcastic, serious, or youthful? This will make your audience feel it’s consistently engaging with a single character, not a corporation.
Engage Your Audience with User Generated Content
There are many great ways to engage your audience, like posting tutorials or generating buzz with user-generated content contests. Something you can do with regularity is repost content from your already happy customers. Many of Clif Bar’s stunning Instagram photos come from their fans. This is a great way to establish a sense of community that remains true both online and out in the real world. Pro tip: remember to always credit the photographer!
Show Your Product as It’s Meant to be Used
A genius way to show value is to post content from your happy customers that show them using your products in the way you want them to be used. In Clif Bar’s case, it’s out in nature, having fun.
Use A Unique Brand Hashtag to Curate the Conversation
Clif Bar’s tagline is “Feed Your Adventure” and they use it as a hashtag. Doing this helps with a couple things. First, it makes their tagline stick. Second, it helps direct traffic back to their page when their fans use it. Creating a long-form hashtag is a not only a useful way to find fans who are engaging with your product, but you can also find great fan-generated content to then repost on your own page.
Be sure to use a hashtag that people can easily associate with your brand, rather than settling on something generic.
Remember that your Instagram page is an opportunity to visually translate the story you want your brand to tell your audience. Your content should always be answering the question of why you exist, who you’re here for, and how you want your customers to feel when they use your products and engage with your brand.
Take a look at the ChuckJoe and Vegetarian Dude Instagram accounts for additional inspiration, and reach out to us with questions at any time!
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