You may think social media — aside from LinkedIn — can’t help you because you focus on industry customers, rather than consumers.
That thinking can be a mistake. After all, everybody is a consumer. We’re just also the produce experts.
“We’re essentially talking to ourselves, so if your content is not going to intrigue you to go buy a product, it likely isn’t going to work with your audience either,” said Alexandra Molumby, marketing director of Bako Sweet and a produce-advocate influencer under the handle “Harvest Joy,” which has more than 15,000 TikTok followers. Molumby and two other influential marketers shared their latest learnings and tips in a panel discussion at the International Fresh Produce Association’s Global Produce & Floral Show.
Consumer packaged goods, or CPG, have social-media messages that make you feel something, said Kim Chackal, director of sales and marketing of Equifruit, a Fairtrade banana importer and marketer focused on social good.
“I think that we have a huge missed opportunity in produce to be as exciting, fun and engaging as CPG,” Chackal said.
“My No. 1 piece of advice is don’t be boring,” she said. Equifruit’s TikTok videos often get more than 5,000 views, sometimes more than 15,000. “I mean, Equifruit is a banana brand. We could tell you that there’s potassium in bananas, but the competition has that point covered. We really want to drive awareness about why you should be paying a little bit more.”
Equifruit has identified its target audience as the “mindful-ish” consumer, someone who might join a climate march one day but also buys a glittery phone case on Amazon the next. So, Equifruit tailors its message toward grabbing this audience’s attention first. Then, Equifruit incorporates the social-good mission in a witty way.
You don’t have to do it yourself.
Influencers can fill a void that your company can’t if you don’t have much internal support, said Mary Coppola Heslep, senior vice president of food at Ten Acre Marketing.
Finding and partnering with an influencer — someone who has a lot of followers, focuses on themes that align with your company and has an audience you want to reach — can be more effective than traditional advertising but can go very wrong if you don’t know who to look for.
Companies should consider using a third-party marketing organization to avoid spending thousands of dollars on someone who doesn’t align with your brand.
“Influencers also sometimes will have access to a community of folks, whether they’re shoppers, consumers or otherwise, that you’re trying to engage more frequently, or at all, as a brand or service provider. So, it becomes a good collaboration,” Heslep said.
Look for someone you can partner with for the long term, who can be an advocate of your business. “Always, always” set your key performance indicators and goals before the partnership begins, Heslep said.
The retail side of the produce industry has a lot of choices.
“Thankfully, in the grocery retail landscape, there are some retailers out there that have a cult-like following, and you can find some neat influencers,” Chackal said.
“For example, Equifruit bananas are available at some Costco warehouses in Canada, and they’ve found many Costco-specific influencers. So, the opportunity is there to speak specifically to your audience about where to find your product and be very targeted in your approach.”
In the U.S., there are many stores that have tight-knit communities, and people are getting on their phones every day to see what’s new in store. People follow these influencers, who answer questions such as: How do I use this product? What is the price like?
Try these experts’ tips for social success: