The Ultimate Guide to Promoting your Food Brand Through Influencers

The Ultimate Guide to Promoting your Food Brand Through Influencers

Table of Contents

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is leveraging someone’s following on any platform to create awareness for your food CPG (consumer packaged goods) brand. Influencers are generally niche and create relationships with their followers.

In this guide, we’ll go over what goes into influencer marketing and how to promote your food startup through effective influencer marketing campaigns.

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Looking For a Influencers for Promoting your Food Brand? That’s what we do here at Crowdcreate. We’ve rated the #1 Top Influencer/PR Marketing Agency and have helped with some of the most successful companies in the world. Book a call with our team to learn more.

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Are influencers effective?

Does it pay off to have my food or beverage product promoted by an influencer? Influencers have humanized the traditional advertising that businesses used to rely on for decades. However, human nature has not changed, influencers are revolutionizing the consumer’s buying experience by seamlessly integrating the product and services into their lives, making the sales process more natural.  

But, how does influencer marketing alter or affect consumer behavior? Because influencers are generally niche and have back and forth communication with their followers, what they say and what they promote has an impact on their audience’s behavior.
Whether you’re a food CPG startup or established, influencers are a great way to instantly bring interest to your brand to consumers who do not yet know you exist or know why you’re the brand for them.
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Influencer Marketing Vs. Digital Advertising

How is influencer marketing different from advertising? Influencer marketing leverages a person’s credibility and her audience who is already receptive to her content. Advertising like paid social media or paid search advertising leverages algorithms to find your targeted audience.
Paid social media and paid search traffic take a little more to build credibility with new consumers. These ad campaigns can also become very expensive to run. With food and beverage products usually priced under $20, the cost to acquire a customer can easily exceed the lifetime value of that customer.
Influencer marketing is evolving. There are ways to structure deals such that your campaigns deliver value to your influencers and their followers, and are still profitable.
Influencer marketing is evolving. There are ways to structure deals such that your campaigns deliver value to your influencers and their followers, and are still profitable.

What are the Pros and Cons of Influencer Marketing

The Pros: Influencer marketing has several benefits including that you can quickly leverage an existing audience in a specific niche to help generate instant credibility for your food brand. In fact, a global survey by Telus International shows that 74% of 4,000 respondents purchased a product that was recommended by an influencer, and 88% agree that they consult online reviews before purchasing a product.

You can create influencer payment structures that work with your business model. If you have a limited budget and the influencer is open to it, you can structure the contract to be performance-based. Or you can also offer to pay them in equity.
You can save time by utilizing the influencer’s content creation skills to generate content for your CPG brand. Instead of you having to be the creative genius, influencers can be that for your startup. And there are plenty of them that can create content for you.

The Cons: There are some limitations and risks with influencer marketing. Sometimes you won’t have control over the content they create. Influencers are not actors for a paid commercial with a script, therefore you won’t have 100% control over the communication they spread. Also, influencers must acknowledge sponsored posts and any commission they may receive.

When CPG brands partner with macro-influencers or celebrities and it is evident that they are not truly users of the products, audiences can be turned off by the campaign. Inauthenticity can have an adverse effect on your CPG brand identity. Therefore, finding genuine and popular fans in the saturated influencer market is time-consuming but important.
What are the Pros and Cons of Influencer Marketing
Promoting your Food Brand

Best Influencer Marketing Strategies

Influencer marketing is more than just finding someone with a big following, hiring them to post about your CPG brand, and watching the customers come rolling in.
First of all, not all influencer followings are the same. You can have an influencer that has 500,000 followers with little authentic engagement or you can have an influencer with 100,000 followers where the community asks great and unique questions and the influencer responds.
Also, the number of followers, likes, comments, and views is not always a clear indicator of whether the influencer will be a good fit. Below are some strategies on partnerships that make sense for you.

Strategy #1- Find influencers of best fit.

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. Find the influencers that are in your niche. Here are more influencer categories that may be relevant to your niche that CrowCreate can connect you with.

The best influencers to work with are the ones who authentically love your product and would probably share about it with their friends in passing, promoted or not. Consumers can tell when an influencer is really just out there to push different products.
Especially for your first big influencers, find ones you can develop a relationship with. These are partnerships, and relationships are the foundation for collaborating on content for what works for you and them.
Sometimes the best influencers are the micro-ones that have truly engaged audiences. These micro-influencers are more hobbyists and are driven by serving their community. And this leads us to our next tip.

Strategy #2 - Find influencers that are on the rise and haven’t blown up yet.

These influencers will have a relatively smaller following but are rapidly growing. Their comments section is alive with genuine questions and comments. You can also tell these influencers are going to be big by the content they post. They have their craft honed in and their community buzzing. They’re still a team of one as opposed to having a production team behind them and are still relatively new to paid partnerships.

Strategy #3 Test and Trial.

Especially if you’re a food CPG startup, it’s important to mitigate the risk of losing money on an influencer marketing campaign. Before committing to an expensive long-term contract, ask to do a trial campaign first just to see if the partnership is sustainable. Instead of committing to 10 posts, ask to start with 1 or 2 and track the results.
Always be testing. Test influencers. Test content. Test channels. Once you can confirm that something works, then you can double down on that strategy.

Strategy #4 - Make creating great content your priority.

Regardless of who you decide to partner with, at the end of the day, it comes down to having great content.

Strategy #5 - Consider an influencer agency.

Influencer agencies have access to some hard-to-reach influencers. They may have existing relationships that fit your niche. They also understand what works for the influencers and can collaborate with you in creating the right content with the right influencer for your CPG brand.
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Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns - Startup Case Study

As more CPG brands capitalize on influencer marketing, scrutiny and skepticism from the audience grow. The question for the influencers’ followers becomes “Do the influencers really use that product or service or they’re just trying to make more affiliate dollars?

A marketing campaign by influencers that are genuine fans of your product and align with your story brand is the easiest way to succeed with influencer marketing. How do other foods and beverages startups create engaging and successful influencer marketing campaigns?

Omsom launched in May of 2020 a line of pantry items celebrating Asian flavors. One year later they’ve grown their Instagram following to 59.3K followers and 21.4K on TikTok. To partner with influencers, they emphasized the “cultural and food appropriation” and the lack of representation that occurred with Asian cuisines.

Omsom partnered with 7 iconic Asian cooks and chefs to craft some of the sauces and promote them on social media. The food influencers include Pepper Teigen (Chrissy Teigen’s mother), Maiko Kyogoku, Deuki Hong, Amelie Kang, Nicole Ponseca, Jimmy Ly, and Chaht and Ohm Suansilphong.
Partnering up with 7 iconic Asian chefs sounds expensive, but creating and maximizing the value of the partnership process can outweigh the cost, how?

Omsom didn’t just pay 7 Asian chefs to promote a sauce:

  • The CPG brand took advantage of their expertise and integrated them as the “tastemakers” in their product research and development, as well as their marketing.
 
  • Omsom strategically chose each influencer to expand its reach within the Asian community. Even though the 7 chefs had a common niche for “Asian Foods,” each talked to a more specific group. For instance, Pepper Teigen speaks to first-generation South-Asians, while Nicole Ponseca aims to target first-generation Filipinos.
 
  • Omsom leveraged the credibility and audience of each influencer, for Instagram alone the campaign could reach 452K of all the influencer’s followers.
 
  • The brand’s story connected Asian talent and creatives while creating a community that has a relevant goal, celebrating Asian culture overall.
 
  • Lastly, Omsom created content revealing how they partnered with these influencers and how they defined fair compensation. Again, the Asian brand capitalized on the influencer marketing campaign by educating other startup owners on how they structured these partnerships.

Also, it can generate behind-the-scenes content that humanizes your CPG brand and educates other entrepreneurs. Check how Crowdcreate has helped other beauty and food CPG startups with influencer outreach.

Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns - Startup Case Study
Promoting your Food Brand

How much does Influencer Marketing Cost?

Influencer marketing can offer a proportional return on marketing expenditure based on the scope of the campaign and the influencer’s reach. Thus, the cost will depend on who you partner with for the project and how you structure the influencer’s payments.
Many agencies assign a rating and an approximate price range based on the influencer’s followers, engagement, type of content, exclusivity, duration, and platform used.

To maximize your marketing dollars and minimize the cost for your food startup, we recommend the following tips:

1.  Set Up a Strategic Reward and Payment System: There are multiple ways to compensate your new partners. To define the best settlement for your partnership, keep in mind the goal of your campaign.

Are you aiming to create awareness? You might need a consistent post schedule. Is your audience in the evaluation process? You may need educational content. Or are they close to a decision stage? They might want to hear the influencer testimonials or demos. By keeping the goal of the campaign in mind, a short or long term payment plan can be determined, some forms to compensate include:

  • Affiliate or Revenue Percentage Commission
  • Cash Payouts
  • In-Kind, Free Products or Giveaways
  • Influencer Collaboration Product Line
  • Equity in Your Startup
  • VIP Rewards and Discounts

2. Create a Collaborative Environment: Establishing a good relationship and clear communication are building blocks for economizing your campaign. If information is not clear from both parties, the campaign may extend or not meet your expectations, and that time will cost you money.

3. Track Performance: Even though influencer marketing offers an alternative for cost-tracking, many CPG brands overlook it as data analysis can become a task on its own. However, evaluating the performance indicators of the campaign is crucial to maintaining a cost-efficient budget.

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Promoting your Food Brand

Where to find influencers for your CPG brand?

With more influencers on the market and consumers demanding authentic sharing, finding the “right” influencer for your CPG brand involves extensive research. One way is to look at competitive brands and see who they are partnered with and then look for adjacent or similar influencers.
Another way is to look up the how-tos of your CPG product or industry and see who is sharing about it. However, these two forms of research are not in-depth enough to discover the statistics on performance and estimate the costs of your campaign.

You may have to continue researching within each influencer’s profile, experiment, or rely on third-party agencies to have full information about your prospect influencers’ performance. Join Crowdcreate’s Newsletter to learn how to exceed your campaign’s goal and connect with influencers’ networks.

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Looking For a Influencers for Promoting your Food Brand?

That’s what we do here at Crowdcreate. We’ve rated the #1 Top Influencer/PR Marketing Agency and have helped with some of the most successful companies in the world.

Influencer Marketing Companies? Food Influencer Agency?

Because of the extensive research, influencer databases and influencer marketing agencies have become key partners to discover, connect and create successful partnerships. With all types of businesses relying on and switching to this type of marketing, finding an agency that understands how influencers operate within your industry is crucial.
With the high engagement rates for food content, the food influencer market can be competitive and complex. From top chefs, experimental home cookers, and even children, one can find thousands of food influencers online. Therefore, finding the food influencer that fits your CPG brand may be challenging.

A specialized influencer marketing agency for CPG or food products can plug you in with thought leaders or influencers for the community you aspire to reach and conquer. Learn how CrowdCreate can easily connect you with influencers and thought leaders’ networks.

Promoting your Food Brand

Summary

Influencer marketing can propel your food startup growth. This marketing modality has come to stay by challenging conventional advertising, making it one of the most effective tools to drive your food business sales.

To get the most effectiveness from influencer marketing, efficiency processes and project management are required, and it can be laborious. Food influencer agencies like CrowdCreate offer solutions to optimize your research, outreach, and sales cycle, saving you time and money.

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