Since the outbreak across the globe, many things have changed in our society. One of those changes is how the food industry has been uprooted from conventional methods of business.
Using social is important for food spaces as it serves as a way to promote food and reach customers. But something has changed in the food industry and that is posting about this pandemic. According to Food Dive, the food industry is shying away from posting anything on social media about COVID-19 since March.
Research from ListenFirst Media reported that it was down about 12%, but engagement from consumers were up by 2%. Grocery businesses were the most active on social media at 35%, while candy was second at 11%.
Via Food Dive,
Social media can be a key communication tool for companies looking to talk directly to consumers that have drifted away from traditional media outlets. Companies have adapted their marketing strategies to focus on connecting shoppers to a brand through storytelling on these platforms, but it appears CPG brands don’t know how to behave with the stories of doom and gloom surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, these companies have regrouped on strategy as posting activities dropped in the first two weeks of March when shelter-in-place orders began being issued by governments around the U.S. Posting rose again in the weeks following March 23, as brands showcased helpful content to humanize the companies and build trust and credibility during this uncertain period.
As more brands start to post about the pandemic, one approach is to serve as an information source. Food industry posts on Facebook jumped by 41% the week of March 23 compared to the week of Feb. 24 as they began to write about how they were helping support essential workers. Other companies chose to highlight their response to the pandemic by presenting their philanthropy. This approach generated 19,632 responses on Instagram for Beyond Burger when the company gave away one million burgers in a month. Utz Snacks posted on Facebook about donating a truckload of its snacks to medical professionals, which generated 4,070 responses, according to the report.
By featuring their good Samaritan actions, these brands are providing consumers with a look into a company’s culture and begin a two-way conversation with consumers. The strategy also plays into consumers’ desire to feel good about the companies they support.
Social media also offers companies an opportunity to provide content that engages with isolated consumers. With more time on their hands, brands are offering consumers kitchen tips to preserve the large stocks accumulated during panic buying as well as recipes to creatively use those ingredients.
It’s unclear what the future holds for the food industry or what the response will be if the pandemic continues to shut down food spaces. But it is clear food companies will eventually have an online conversation with its consumers or risk no longer being a valid choice for people.