Start Small in Branded Food Social Media Marketing

Control Budgets, Expectations & Growth in your Food Social Media Marketing

If you are just starting with social media marketing, please take a look at the reports from our social media marketing workshops from our NewPoint Emerging Food Brands Conference.  

From basic social media posting to advanced geotargeting, conference and workshop attendees supplied the questions our experts answered. 

I remember teaching my sons to ride a bike. We talked about desired outcomes: We both want you to learn to ride a bike well. We started small with training wheels in the driveway so they could get used to starting, pedaling, and stopping. Then as their confidence grew, I took their training wheels off and let them roll a few feet down the driveway on their own. We kept it small until they were able to hop on their bike with confidence and pedal down the sidewalk to their friend’s house. As soon as they reached our experienced the desired outcome, we upgraded to loftier goals.

Approach your food social media marketing the same way.

Desired Outcomes

It will help to decide what you are looking to accomplish with your branded food social media marketing. Let’s start with the obvious – everyone wants to support and encourage product sales. To get there, you’ll need social media content that engages your core audience which can lead to more likes, more followers and generally more impressions, or eyeballs, seeing your posts.

Training Wheels

Posting: What are you going to say? What are your posting topics? Doing it yourself, (DIY), you get to decide your content. It might help to spend a little research time looking at brands you admire: what are they on social media that you like – that makes you want to engage? Also, look at the competiton—how can you differentiate? The most important thing? Start slow. We typically advise that when you start posting on your brand’s business page, that you do not stop. Marketing is a process. You don’t need to post 100 times a day – maybe start with 3-4 a week. But be consistent and keep at it. This is important because it will help with the next thing we consider.

Analytics: Just about every social media platform has an analytics page. After several weeks of posting, you should be able to find that area on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram brand page and see how each post is doing. Take note of the content and time of the posts that are getting the most audience engagement like impressions, shares, likes, clicks, or shares. Also, start to pay attention to who your audience is—what are the basic demographics that are reacting or you think would be buying your product.

Planning: Look to replicate the success of these posts as you plan your next round or social posts. This fits into the “Marketing is a Process” concept mentioned above: Leverage all the data you have to take your best shot at producing effective communications – or in this case, posts. Then, see what works – what insights are you starting to see about what your audience is reacting to – and try to “do one better” with each new round of posts.

Loftier Goals

Like learning to ride a bike, success breeds confidence. Once you have a good idea what posts are making an impact it is probably time to adjust your initial goals: move from posting to boosting or publishing social media ads and speak to a broader audience. Once again, start small. Experiment with choosing a demographic and geo-targeting an ad or boosted post in a small area for a short time. Follow the same “Marketing is a Process” concept and keep reviewing what works and keep trying things to make it better. With a little time, perseverance, and minimal budget spend you will probably start to see some results.

From DIY to professional marketing – when to make the leap?

Years after teaching my kids how to ride bikes it came time to teach them to drive cars. The financial implications and stakes increase across the board – from protecting the family car to buying new insurance policies and potential traffic or accident tickets. You should expect a professional marketing firm to be a more significant expense as well – but one that fits into your budget. In a recent post, NewPoint’s Stephanie Bossung spelled out some guidelines on how to think about your marketing budget:

As a general rule of thumb, we say an annualized food marketing plan should be at a minimum 7–12% of revenue.  But for emerging brands trying to cut through a crowded marketplace, the first couple of years might land in more of a 15–25% range.  There’s an upfront investment of getting your product out in front of people.

Of course, with the more significant expense should come more professional analytics tracking, competitive monitoring, strategic, creative, and data-driven posts against goals set with your marketing team.


Do not consider hiring a professional social media or marketing services firm if it does not fit in your cash-flow. It will be frustrating for both parties if you require a 1-1+ match on your investment immediately. Once again, marketing is a process.  Unless you are using your food social media marketing to drop coupons or send discount offers for your e-commerce or Amazon site, it will take a long time to see a direct correlation to product sales.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this topic, please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food marketing topics, please visit our “Intel” page or check out my book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.