If you’re reading this, you probably already know that the right influencer can turn your brand from a hidden gem to the next big thing in food and beverages. Influencers have the knack and the social media clout to serve up your brand to the right people in the right way.
We’re talking Insta stories, TikTok trends, and the elusive viral moment. But let’s not put the cart before the horse; first, you must find these digital dynamos.
In this guide, we will dive into the how-tos of unearthing the perfect influencers for your food and beverage brand, focusing on the social media giants that are Instagram and TikTok. Whether you’re a start-up on the cusp of something great or an established brand looking for a little social media shake-up, you’re in the right place.
When you finish this article, you’ll know how to wield Instagram’s search functionality like a pro, hack TikTok’s algorithm to your advantage, and even go old-school with manual outreach. Oh, and you’ll get a whirlwind tour of the best third-party analytics tools to help you make data-backed decisions. Because, let’s face it, a little bit of data never hurt anyone, right?
Ready to up your influencer game? Let’s get started.
Ah, the million-dollar question: Why influencers? Let’s start with a few numbers—because who doesn’t love a good statistic to kick things off? A whopping 89% of marketers say the ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels. And if you’re in the food and beverage sector, you might be interested to know that food is one of Instagram’s top five most-followed categories. Feeling a little FOMO yet? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.
Here’s the thing: People trust people. When influencers talk about how much they love your gluten-free brownies or your refreshing elderflower cordial, their followers listen. They’re not just listening; they’re relating, engaging, and—drumroll, please—converting. Imagine having someone with the influence of a celebrity but the relatability of a friend singing your praises. That’s what an influencer brings to the table.
The Brand-Influencer Chemistry
We can’t stress this enough: the best food and beverage influencer partnerships happen when there’s mutual love and respect. The influencer genuinely enjoys your product, and their audience shares their taste (literally). This isn’t just a marketing strategy; it’s a relationship, and like all good relationships, it needs care, attention, and a sprinkle of magic. Okay, not magic, but certainly a lot of smart decision-making.
Identifying Your Target Audience
So, you’re sold on the food and beverage influencer idea. Fantastic! But before you slide into any DMs or draft any contracts, there’s a crucial step we need to tackle: defining your target audience. Think of it as laying the foundation before building a house; do it right, and everything that follows will be rock-solid.
Interested in taking a deeper dive in identifying your target audience? Check out our latest article on it here!
The Customer Avatar
Who is your ideal customer? Are they a busy parent looking for quick yet healthy meal options? A college student keen on eco-friendly snacks? Or a fitness aficionado who’s always on the lookout for protein-rich foods? Creating a customer avatar is not just a fun exercise; it’s essential. This persona will guide you in identifying the type of influencer whose followers will most likely drool over your products.
Let’s Talk Demographics
Here’s where it gets real. Age, location, gender, interests—these aren’t just categories on a spreadsheet; they’re the building blocks of your target audience.
Different social media platforms attract different demographics, and even within a platform like Instagram or TikTok, user demographics can vary widely. Knowing your target demographics will help you zoom in on influencers who resonate with your audience.
Lifestyle and Psychographics
But wait, there’s more! Beyond the basic demographics lie psychographics—lifestyle choices, values, and even behavioral patterns. Is your ideal customer a sustainability warrior? A gourmet home chef? A fan of convenience? These factors will further help you find influencers who genuinely align with your brand and its ethos.
A Match Made in Heaven
Remember, the influencer you choose will become an extension of your brand, at least temporarily. Their lifestyle, their values, and yes, their food preferences should mirror those of your ideal customer. This synergy ensures that the influencer’s endorsement doesn’t just generate buzz but leads to genuine customer engagement and—let’s not forget—sales!
Now that we’ve done our homework, we can move on to the exciting stuff. Let’s dive into the vast ocean of Instagram and TikTok, armed with the knowledge of what we’re actually fishing for. Intrigued? Keep scrolling because we’re just getting warmed up!
Instagram: The Veteran Platform
All right, ready to tackle the behemoth that is Instagram? With over a billion users, this platform is like the grand ballroom of social media—elegant, popular, and oh-so full of potential dance partners for your brand. Let’s explore how to find the influencers who are a perfect match for your food and beverage company.
Instagram’s audience tends to skew younger, with over 90% of users under 35. The largest demographic is 25-34 year olds. However, Instagram still maintains broad appeal across various age groups. The platform has an engaged, visually-driven audience who respond well to high-quality photo and video content from influencers, brands, and creators.
Millennials and Gen Z. widely use Instagram, but it also connects well with younger Gen Xers and some Baby Boomers who want to keep up with current trends. Instagram is a great place to reach a young, aesthetically driven audience interested in culture, fashion, beauty, photography, travel, and lifestyle content.
Find Your Perfect Match
Using Built-in Search Functionality Instagram’s built-in search feature is not just for stalking your ex or finding the latest viral meme; it’s a powerful tool for scouting talent. Start with broad keywords like “food blogger,” “beverage reviewer,” or “vegan chef”. • Pro Tip: Once you’ve identified an ideal influencer, explore their “Following” list and the “For You” recommendations within it. To find this, go to their profile, click “Following” at the top right and navigate to the “For You” section. This reveals a curated list of similar creators, allowing you to quickly uncover more great fits without extensive searching.
Filter It Down Instagram lets you filter your search results by categories like “Tags,” “Accounts,” and even “Places.” For influencer scouting, stick to “Accounts” and skim through the profiles that pop up. Look for high-quality images, a decent follower count, and genuine engagement (more on this later).
Leveraging Hashtags If keywords are the appetizers, hashtags are the main course of your Instagram influencer search. Use hashtags like #BeerGuru, #VeganChef, or #HikingMom to find posts that align with your niche. And remember, the more specific you get, the better – generic tags like #food can be oversaturated. Some influencers create their own unique hashtags. This is a good sign that they have an engaged community that actively follows and tags their content. This could mean higher visibility for your brand.
TheMeta Creator Marketplace If manually searching Instagram isn’t your jam, you’re in luck. Meta offers businesses access to their Creator Marketplace – a centralized hub for connecting brands and creators. You can filter by location, category, size, and more. The marketplace allows you to build your list and message influencers from within the platform, but it’s also a great place to find influencers who check all your boxes quickly.
Vet Prospects Thoroughly
So, you’ve narrowed down a list of potential influencers. Great! But how do you know they’re as good as they appear?
Third-Party Insight Tools like HypeAuditor, Phlanx, or even Instagram’s own Insights feature offer analytics that can help you validate your choices. Look for metrics like engagement rate, audience demographics, and quality of followers. Most social media marketers agree that an engagement rate between 1% and 5% is considered good on Instagram. You can also check the engagement quality by browsing the comment section to ensure they come from genuine followers, not bots.
There we go—our grand tour of Instagram is complete! Well, at least for now. It might seem like a lot, but with some practice, you’ll be navigating this social media powerhouse like it’s second nature.
Ready to switch gears and step into the world of TikTok? I promise it’s just as exhilarating, albeit with many more dance moves and viral challenges. Scroll on to continue this fascinating journey!
TikTok: The New Frontier
All right, here we go- TikTok—the platform that’s been stealing the spotlight (and quite possibly your free time). With its explosive growth and novel formats, TikTok offers a refreshing perspective on influencer marketing.
TikTok has a very young audience, with over 50% of its users being under the age of 34. In fact, 60% of TikTok’s global audience is between the ages of 16 and 24. This makes the platform appealing for targeting Generation Z specifically. The audience is receptive to fun, entertaining short video clips, memes, challenges, and trending content. They appreciate edgy and experimental video styles. TikTok empowers everyday creators so influencers feel authentic and approachable to the audience.
The app’s addictive feed makes it easy for brands to gain viral traction. But the content must feel fresh and native to the platform. TikTok allows marketers to tap into the hard-to-reach Gen Z demographic with engaging short video content.
So, how do you find your brand’s next big advocate among TikTok’s sea of content creators? Let’s dive in.
Manual Scouting: The Deep Dive
The For You Page The famed “For You Page” (FYP) is a good starting point. The FYP algorithm dishes out popular videos based on user interaction, video information, and device/account information. Keep an eye on this page to scout out influencers who consistently hit the mark. Influencers who engage with viral trends are more likely to get their content featured widely. It’s like a snowball effect—greater visibility brings more followers, boosting the influencer’s reach.
Specific Keywords Much like Instagram, start your search with specific keywords related to your niche. Terms like “quick recipes,” “craft beverages,” or “sustainable eating” can lead you to influencers that align with your brand.
Video Quality and Engagement Skim through some of the videos to assess quality and engagement. TikTok offers quick insights into comments, shares, and likes, right below each video. Are people interacting in a meaningful way? That’s a green flag.
TikTok Creator Marketplace Like Meta, TikTok also offers a robust creator marketplace to help streamline your search. Filter results by price, size, niche, location, and more to unlock an excellent starting point to find creators that align with your brand and campaign goals.
TikTok Analytics Tools
TikTok’s own analytics provide valuable insights into an account’s performance. Once you’ve narrowed down potential influencers, ask them to share this data with you.
As TikTok is still relatively new, there are fewer third-party tools available. However, some versatile platforms like Socialbakers and Upfluence are adding TikTok capabilities.
One More Thing: Authenticity
In the fast-paced world of TikTok, authenticity is the ticket to long-lasting engagement. An influencer who can naturally integrate your product into their content—without making it look like a blatant advertisement—is gold.
And there you have it, your roadmap to finding food and beverage influencers on TikTok. It’s a platform that rewards creativity and authenticity, so make sure to keep those elements in mind as you search for your next brand advocate.
Reaching Out, Sealing the Deal, and Tracking Success
Phew, what a ride! We’ve scoured the social landscapes of Instagram and TikTok, and you’ve got a list of potential influencers. The hard part is over, right? Well, not so fast. The next phase involves reaching out, making a compelling offer, and keeping tabs on how things unfold. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details.
Crafting the Perfect Pitch
The First Impression
Initial outreach needs to be compelling and not pushy but friendly and professional. Whether you’re using DMs, emails, or an influencer platform, your message should grab their attention in the first sentence. Create a brief that gives an overview of your campaign goals,
Clearly state what’s in it for them. Is it a long-term partnership? A hefty discount on your products? Consider even equity in your burgeoning food startup. Make the incentive attractive.
Negotiating the Terms
Budget and Expectations
Money talks, but it isn’t everything. Many influencers value long-term relationships over quick payouts. Define your budget and align it with your expectations—number of posts, format, timing, etc.
Don’t forget to get everything in writing. Define KPIs, establish payment terms, and include a clause that gives you rights to the content they produce for your brand.
Metrics and Analytics: Your New Best Friends
Most social platforms provide tracking pixels or unique URLs to monitor traffic and conversions. Use them to assess the efficacy of your campaigns.
But let’s not forget softer metrics like likes, comments, and shares. A high engagement rate is a solid indicator of a successful partnership.
Finally, ROI isn’t just a buzzword. Calculate the return on your investment by analyzing the metrics and comparing them to your initial goals.
And voilà! You’re not just playing the influencer marketing game; you’re acing it. But remember, this is a continually evolving landscape. New influencers rise to prominence daily, and platforms frequently update their algorithms. So, keep your finger on the pulse and be ready to adapt.
Conclusion and Next Steps: Your Blueprint for Influencer Marketing Success
Well, we’ve made quite the journey together, haven’t we? From understanding the importance of identifying your target audience to navigating the intricacies of Instagram and TikTok, and finally, to mastering the art of outreach and analytics. We know we covered a lot of information about the benefits of influencer marketing, and you may need some time to digest or a plan of action! We’ve got your back.
Your Action Plan
Review and Refine
Take some time to go back and review your notes, research, and shortlisted influencers. Double-check that everything aligns with your brand’s goals and values.
Start Small, Dream Big
Start with a small pilot campaign. Test the waters with one or two influencers to gauge effectiveness before developing a more extensive, long-term strategy.
The world of influencer marketing is dynamic, with trends and algorithms shifting regularly. Keep an eye on industry updates, emerging platforms, and new tools to help you stay ahead of the curve.
The stage is set, the spotlight is on, and it’s your time to shine. Armed with this informative guide, you’re more than ready to venture into the captivating world of food and beverage influencer marketing.
We’re Here to Help
Navigating the influencer marketing maze can be complex, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Whether you’re struggling with identifying the right influencers, are unsure about your outreach strategy, or need help in analyzing the campaign’s impact, professional guidance is just a click away. Contact our team of digital experts today to learn more about how you can use the power of influencers for your food and beverage brand!