5 Influencer Strategies for Your Food and Beverage Services

Nidhi Agarwal
Content Writer
September 15, 2023
min read
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It is not a new concept that brands providing food and beverage services have influencers on board to promote new offerings, discounts, loyalty programs, and more. McDonald's is a prime example, but there are others as well. So, why not learn influencer strategies from some of these brands that excel at running campaigns?

We have compiled a list of five interesting yet important ways that could help you with personalized and influencer-driven content. Brands like Chipotle, McDonald's, Starbucks, HelloFresh, and Blue Apron have used these tricks, recognizing the power of influencers to reach the right customers and maximize sales.

Let's dig deep!

5 Proven Influencer Strategies to Promote Your Food and Beverage Services

1. Introduce influencer-favorite meals

Earlier this year, Chipotle launched two new menu items - Fajita Quesadilla Hack and Keithadilla - inspired by TikTok influencers Keith Lee and Alexis Frost's custom orders.

Lee and Frost shared videos of enjoying the Steak Quesadilla with Fajita veggies, DIY honey vinaigrette, and sour cream dressing. The videos went viral, generating over 30 million views, 3 million likes, and 69.5k shares on TikTok. But, since this hack was not an official menu item on the brand's digital ordering channels, Chipotle introduced the meal on its digital menu to capitalize on the viral interest of consumers. Chipotle cleverly piggybacked on the success of the viral TikTok hack. The influencer strategy helped them drive more traffic and sales for their food and beverage services.

Source: Chipotle

Looking to capitalize on TikTok influencer marketing? Here's what you should avoid.

Take this approach further by naming the meal on a particular person, as McDonald's did. We're talking about the McDonald's BTS meal campaign. In 2021, McDonald's launched a limited edition meal named after the famous boy band BTS to tap into the K-pop community. Notably, the meal went viral in the 50 countries it was launched, driving massive restaurant traffic for the fast food chain. It helped McDonald's to magnify its revenue by an impressive 57%.

Influencers, like celebrities, have loyal fans who admire their lifestyle and choices in food, drinks, travel spots, or other products and services. Launching their favorite meal is one of the best influencer strategies to:

  • Tap into the influencer's loyal fan base and drive them to purchase.
  • Go viral on social media.
  • Increase in-store traffic.
  • Skyrocket your revenue.

2. Conquer the metaverse with gaming influencers

When it comes to marketing food and beverage services, effective brand positioning is the key. Since the metaverse is the new hangout spot for the young generation, it is where your brand should be positioning itself. Gaming influencers can help you do that.

Chipotle leveraged the gaming influencers to launch its first Roblox game. The Mexican fast food giant introduced a virtual lookalike of their restaurant in the metaverse to increase holiday sales around Halloween in 2021. The game allows players to win exciting promo codes and rewards to receive free food when ordering from Chipotle.

Check out our Holiday Influencer Marketing Playbook to amplify your sales for the shopping season!

To stir pre-launch hype for the game, Chipotle turned to gaming influencers. Several YouTube gamers shared videos featuring the game explaining how it works. YouTube videos like "This Roblox Game Gives You REAL LIFE FOOD" and "HOW TO GET A FREE CHIPOTLE BURRITO Playing ROBLOX!!" amassed over 850k views collectively, encouraging their subscribers to get their free burrito from their nearest restaurant.

Whether you're a quick service restaurant (QSR) or a food delivery app, gaming influencers can help you win loyal customers. Gamers have close connections to the gaming community, who value their recommendations. These influencers share unedited raw content with their audience, which makes them seem more authentic. They are likely to get through to the audience and win their trust.

GrubHub is another example that successfully endorses its food and beverage services and has become the favorite food-ordering app for gamers. All thanks to their influencer strategy to recruit gaming influencers.

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3. Invest in influencer podcasts

Have you ever wondered how podcasts fueled the growth of the billion-dollar meal kit delivery service HelloFresh? Investing heavily in podcasts, HelloFresh started it soon after it jumped into the influencer marketing bandwagon.

The brand sponsored some of the most listened-to podcasts, including F**kface, Top Five, and Mile Higher, hosted by well-known influencers like Geoff Ramsey, Gavin Free, Kendall Rae, and more. With thousands of followers on social media, these podcast hosts' voices hold value in their community.

Podcasts are the new influencer advertising channels. They engage the audience in the content and encourage them to take action, especially influencer-hosted podcasts. Influencers connect with their community through authentic audio content, which can be leveraged by brands offering food and beverage services to lure in new customers.

The most interesting thing about HelloFresh's strategy is that they don't always go for similar podcasts. Instead, they select podcasts from different niches like motherhood, relationships, sports, entertainment, business, and more to reach a diverse audience. And the brand sticks with the influencers for the long term rather than a one-off engagement.

The hosts share a host-read ad (an ad written and read by the podcast host) about what HelloFresh is, why they like it, and how it can help their listeners prepare fresh food without hassle.

Turn the podcasts into video-based audio content and reshare them on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to reach even more customers! Here's how.

4. Craft an Influencer Mix to Spotlight Specific Customer Segments' Unique Pain Points

Brands and marketers know they must pick influencers who resonate with their target audience, but very few can follow them. Some are probably unaware of the metrics required to identify the right influencers and tools, like influencer marketing platforms that streamline the entire process of connecting you with the influencers and their followers.

Those brands using the right tactics have seen remarkable results. Take, for example, Blue Apron, one of the top food and beverage services brands. It went for a creative influencer marketing approach. The brand picked influencers according to their customer pain points to effectively target specific segments and stand out among competitors. They hired influencers representing each segment to connect with the community better.

Here are the top customer pain points and the influencers they collaborated with:

  • Parents - Mom, dad and family influencers

Blue Apron targets busy parents who don't get the time to cook delicious family dinners. So, to target working parents, they collaborate with mommy bloggers and dad influencers to promote their "Fast and Easy" and "Family-friendly" meal plans. Influencers like Faith Jablonski, Susie Bachar, Janie Ippolito, and Timothy Hollingsworth, among others, were Blue Apron's choice to connect with a specific community.

  • Diabetics - Dietitians, nutritionists, health experts

Blue Apron, as a part of its food and beverage services, has a specific meal plan for people suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes. To promote these nutritionist-approved recipes to prospective customers, they rely on expert influencers or key opinion leaders like dietitians, doctors, and more who share advice on managing blood sugar levels. Mary Ellen, Wendy, and Jess are professional dietitians on Instagram who have collaborated with Blue Apron.

  • Entrepreneurs - Founders, and business owners

In addition to busy parents, they also target business owners who cannot make time to prepare and cook a proper meal. The brand collaborates with entrepreneurs like Maureen, a.k.a Miss Mustard Seed, and Joy Cho, to tap into their community of working professionals and brand owners.

5. Go beyond Instagram and TikTok creators

TikTok and Instagram are the top choices when it comes to influencer marketing. But Twitch is increasingly gaining momentum. This new video streaming platform is the latest social media for Gen Zers and millennials. Twitch allows users to stream live game streams, esports tournaments, music broadcasts, and "in real life" video content. Such content enables you to endorse food and beverage services among a particular community tied together due to the same interests.

Take Starbucks, for example. The multinational coffeehouse collaborated with Twitch influencer Harry Mack to host a one-hour live Twitch "Reverse Roast" so that fans could join in the fun. With light-hearted, fun conversations, Mack helped the at-home coffee drinkers learn more about Starbucks' upcoming coffee products.

Since consumers now demand more tailor-made content, this is a great strategy to take personalization to the next level. Twitch influencers are experts at sharing personalized content with their followers to evoke interest in particular brands. Mack recommended each viewer their own coffee flavor based on their self-description as "vibrant," "confident," and more.

While Twitch is an excellent platform for all business types, it works especially great for highlighting your food and beverage services. The younger customers like to know the vibe of a place before they visit it. Inviting Twitch influencers to your restaurants can showcase an authentic vibe with your target audience.

Wrapping Up

Amid the changing consumer behavior and their social media preference to find the best food and beverage services, it is time to up your influencer marketing game. Use tools like affable.ai, an influencer marketing platform that can help you take a data-driven road to finding talented influencers. Equipped with cutting-edge AI technology, affable.ai's new tool, Skye, can help you land the perfect collaboration with image search, lookalike recommendations, and conversational chat. Get your free trial now!

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