Recipe for success: 5 ways top food & beverage brands satisfy audiences on Instagram

Post by
Arlene Hildago
Recipe for success: 5 ways top food & beverage brands satisfy audiences on Instagram

If you find your brand's Instagram performance a little hard to swallow, you might want to take a look at what some of the most successful food and beverage brands are serving to their audiences. While there's no definitive secret sauce to winning people over on Instagram, some of the most popular brands do follow a similar formula to engage their fans.

We've analysed top performing brands on Instagram to uncover some common themes and types of posts that you can apply to your own strategy and unlock your full potential.

Food For Thought

Instagram is ripe with opportunities for food and beverage brands. Across the industry, brands generally post with the same frequency on Instagram as they do on Facebook or Twitter, however according to RivalIQ the average engagement rate on Instagram per post is 15-20x higher than on the other two major social networks.

If you are in the food and beverage space you already have a pole position on Instagram. Users of the platform can't get enough posts featuring mouth-watering photos of food and drinks.

The hashtag #food is even number 25 on the most popular hashtags of the year with others like #foodporn, #instafood, #foodie and #yummy also appearing in the top 100.

Audiences are hungry to share and consume food-related content giving food and drinks brands an easy entry point to produce inspiring content of their own and join in the conversation.

Ready to find out how to tempt your audiences and boost your performance?

1. Recipe for Success

Food is a great distraction and comfort to many people, especially those who have been confined to their homes for long periods of time. This has inspired a new wave of budding home cooks to get creative with food and post photos of the recipes they try online.

Social media amplifies the shareable nature of recipes which has resulted in many food and drink trends going viral such as Dalgona coffee and baked feta and tomato pasta. Some clever brands have been able to ride this wave of viral success with their products such as White Claw with their cocktail recipes.

Users are actively looking for new ideas to try and brands that share imaginative serving suggestions and recipe creations can position themselves in the centre of a must-try meal.

Chobani cleverly uses the carousel feature on Instagram to share recipes featuring their food and drink products as well. These visual recipes are extra shareable and easy for people to bookmark to try at home later.

Chobani's Instagram post of rich choco chip cookie with the list of ingredients and steps on the second image

2. Speak to the tastebuds

Users flock to Instagram for inspiration and food is the most effortless desire to target visually. Although they can't taste your product through the app, the aesthetics of food can be amplified with a focus on texture and styling that will have your audiences drooling.

Honing in on every slice, crumb, ooze and drip in detail helps your viewers imagine what the experience of consuming it feels like. Viral ice cream brand My Mochi engages more senses by visually exploring what it feels like to touch their product as well.

My Mochi's Instagram post of vanilla flavored mochi set on ice backdrop and stretched pink mochi on blue-green background on the second image post

It doesn't all have to be serious business either, food and drink can be served in a fun way to entertain your audience. My Mochi encourages their customers to indulge in a little fantasy by sharing their products in whimsical situations.

My Mochi Instagram post of chocolate flavored mochi placed on raked cocoa for effect and hands of a lady closing a pink baggage with overflowing mochi boxes inside on the second image


3. Bake-In Graphics & Typography

Your imagination can run even further afield with some help from artwork and 3D graphics. Brands can get creative with the use of rendered artwork or simply have some fun with photo composites to get their message across. Drinks brand Recess creates dreamy images featuring their products in surreal situations that visually convey the mood-enhancing attributes of their product.

Recess Instagram post of canned drink placed inside a miniature bath tub with fake ice surrounded by mini fans and six Recess canned drinks formed in two columns, three per column with a circular white rainbow effect and scattered clouds in the middle

Graphic posts help brands add branding and communicate text-based posts in a more visual manner. One trend is to share viral tweets and memes, often in a way that pokes fun at your own brand and lets your audience in on the joke. Ocean Spray uses their Instagram account to post jokes and memes that are great conversation starters and encourages their fans to participate by commenting.

Ocean Spray Instgram post with a snip of a Twitter post with bottled drink and Ocean Spray sign chart on the next image

On the other end of the spectrum, graphic posts are often used for brands to show they stand for a specific cause. Many post their support for events like Pride, and brands like Impossible try and educate their audiences on important topics like Climate Change. The swipeable nature of carousel posts on Instagram gives brands a good podium to be able to share important information.

Impossible Instagram post of Earth's body awareness and the information of the topic on the second image with royal blue background

4. Add Some Local Flavour

Brands who share content that is tailored to the specific country they are promoting find it much easier to connect with their target market. It is common for brands to have multiple Instagram accounts to ensure that the posts they share in individual markets are contextually and culturally relevant - we found that over 60% of the brands we analysed had at least two!

Localised accounts help brand refine their communications and speak to their consumers more effectively with content tailored just for them. What works well in one market won't necessarily translate to another and through testing a wide variety of creative you can measure the results and double down on what works well.

Häagen-Dazs has created many localised Instagram accounts and produced unique and relatable content for each region. You'll notice that none of their accounts look the same and they have added individual flavour to each market by featuring local people and products.

Häagen-Dazs Instagram page with different product posts

5. Blend in Behind The Scenes Content

Consumers are demanding more transparency and information about what goes into the products they purchase, as well as a brand's ethics and environmental footprint.

Audiences are more curious than ever to know where their food comes from, with most consumers—and a whopping 89% of millennials—wanting to see behind-the-scenes footage from brands they follow. One of the ways brands can appear authentic and better convey their values is through sharing more candid content.

Rather than focusing on the finishing product, showing the production process is an effective way to demonstrate quality sourcing and manufacturing to your viewers. This is a prime opportunity for people to see how much experience and work goes into making their favourite products, as well as the people that make it happen.

Hope Foods keeps important information about their farming and ingredient sourcing under a story highlight in their profile. This makes it easy to discover for anyone interested to learn more about their company and its operations.

Hope Foods Instagram post and stories of different products and shared values

Putting real faces and stories to your brand gives you a chance to connect with your community on a much personal level. It makes you relatable, approachable, and more human.

There are many opportunities here to show off your specialties as only a handful of brands are posting content that gives consumers an insight into what goes into their products or how they are created.

The Meat and Potatoes

To be successful on social media, you need to create an experience around your brand that resonates with individual markets. We've found that brands that convey creativity, personality, and authenticity have already found the recipe for success.

Finding your tribe and connecting with them on Instagram can be done through stunning visuals, tempting recipes, humour, shared values, or all of the above. Testing a variety of content will help you discover what works best and allow you to iterate on this content for future posts.

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