This weekend I spoke at the fantastic Bread & Butter Festival at The Institute of Directors in London – it was the UK’s first Food Founders Festival and a chance for emerging and growing brands to learn the best ways to bring their products to market and drive sales.

Bread & Butter bought together food and drink founders and innovators, investors, media and industry leaders. I spoke on how food brands can use social media to triple their sales – but hey, if you want to use it to quadruple or ten times your sales don’t let me limit you! 


(Photo credit: Food Envy Photography)

I believe there are 4 important areas that food and drink brands need to get right on social in order to achieve real success and growth, they are: Tone of Voice, Visual Consistency and Quality, Community and Dedicated Social Advertising. So over the next two weeks I’ll be sharing insight into these four areas using ideas from my presentation.

These four areas of focus have enabled us to achieve some amazing results for our own clients, take Beanies Flavour Coffee for example. They’ve been a client for 4 years and in that time we’ve grown their social following to over 200,000 people on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 90% of marketing is social media and 25% of all their online sales come directly from Facebook, this doesn’t even take into account all the other sales driven by people hearing about Beanies through social and shopping in Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Checkers (South Africa) and visiting their website directly. 

The Flavoured Instant Coffee sector value is now £8.7m and has grown +39.8% YOY, Beanies has contributed £2.5m in category spend.

Their page has previously been ranked the Number 2  Food/Beverage Facebook page in the UK (source: Likelyzer). They now distribute around the world and repeatedly outsell their biggest competitiors. Not bad for what was a small coffee company in Darlington. 

In fact this is what I love about social media, that a huge marketing budget does not guarantee success and sometimes the little guys can take the big boys on if they are clever and use social media in a consistent and strategic way.

The things we do for Beanies are not magical, they are available to any brand, we are just consistent and understand how to create engaging content and how to listen to and grow a community. 

91% of brands (source) are using social media, so this means your customers expect you to be on there. It also means that there’s a lot of competition.  A challenge all food and drink brands face (no matter their size or marketing budget) is creating content that cuts through the noise of everyone else and captures the attention of the audience, ultimately allowing them to drive sales.  

People spend their whole days looking at their phones so this becomes both your biggest challenge and your biggest opportunity as a brand. Its a challenge because most people scroll through their phone without really taking in what they are seeing, in a slightly zombified state – so as a brand your social media content needs to do three things – CAPTURE your audiences’ attention – INTERRUPT their train of thought and ENGAGE them instantly. The four areas of focus: Tone of Voice, Visual Consistency and Quality, Community and Dedicated Social Advertising allow you to do just that. And it is these separate areas that I’ll be discussing over the next two weeks.

Having a strong social media presence is a huge opportunity for any brand but it does take having a clear strategy and approach to make it work effectively.