Consumer Marketing · Social Media

Which social media outlets to use for small CPG company?

Mihir Shah President at Dishoom Foods, Inc.

December 4th, 2014

Besides Facebook & Twitter, which other social media sites to use for small food CPG company? There are a bunch but we don't have a budget for all of them and most social media companies don't do all of them. Please rank them if you can. Thanks!

Shilpa Gadhok Senior Assistant Brand Manager Braun at Procter & Gamble

December 6th, 2014

Hi Mihir,

The CPG world is filled with many companies and billions of brands saturating social media outlets and vying for seconds of every consumer’s attention. It’s very helpful to start with a targeted social channel strategy that will help you determine the specific platforms in which to invest. In other words, what is the objective you are trying to solve for? Brand awareness? Social SOV? Product messaging? Increasing credibility with influencers? Increasing engagement/participation with consumers?  While many social media platforms offer you the ability to increase your social SOV and will inevitably help build brand awareness in some way, it’s been my experience that each platform offers a distinct point of difference that is best leveraged depending on what your objective is.  

Facebook: Even for a small brand, having a page on Facebook is a must-have in my opinion, but choosing to advertise with FB can turn run pretty pricey depending on your priorities.  It’s worth it if your objective is to simply build awareness of your brand or products and you can invest media dollars behind boosting your posts and working with FB to target your posts such that they show up on your targeted consumers’ newsfeed X% of the time. But even with that said, the ROI will be dependent on if your boosted posts can garner the views, likes, and shares (i.e. they have stopping power and can resonate) with your intended consumer.

Twitter: Here’s the thing. I can see the advantage of having a twitter handle, but for a small brand your social SOV on Twitter is going to be based off of your followers.  Be mindful that the big brands in this space have the highest followers and likely have invested in teams that can post regularly on twitter, keeping their account active and generating further participation from their audience.  Unlike FB, Twitter almost requires an active post every few hours and social listening across its platform (responding to consumers when they mention your brand in a tweet) in order to be most effective. If participation and engaging consumers through conversation are your objectives, this may be the platform you decide to invest behind.

Pinterest/Instagram are great for visually captivating your consumer base- which is why many food companies choose this as their most preferred social media option. If your objective is to simply build awareness (with less emphasis on product messaging), these platforms are great ways to help build your consumer base. I’d try to work with these vendors to understand how you could link your photos to influencer webpages where you can also try to organically build in product messaging, helping drive consumers to purchase.

Video partners (YouTube/ Makers Studio, etc.) are a great way to capture your millennial audience and generally can provide the opportunity to integrate your video content on any of the aforementioned social platforms. But- this can also get expensive. Posting videos on Youtube without media dollars to boost the post will not give you a great ROI. Makers Studio’s point of difference is being able to tap into their network of influencers in a variety of industries and spaces who can boost the video as part of the partnership, which can be more of an efficient strategy, depending on your goals.

Influencer support- while some may argue this tactic isn’t necessarily “social media,” it certainly is social listening and any brand (big or small) can benefit.  Partnering with bloggers, experts, and influencers- and no, they are not all the same thing J - will give you the opportunity to grow your SOV across a variety of digital platforms. This can turn into ratings and reviews on customer webpages, or help increase the conversations surrounding your brand in a more targeted space online.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Anthony Miller

December 4th, 2014

CPG companies should also be on Instagram, and quite honestly snapchat, even Tumblr. Do you plan on advertising, b/c if you don't it's really kind of a waste of time to build a social media audience. 

Eran Eyal Advisor, startup founder, strategist | endlessly inquisitive.

December 4th, 2014

For food, without a doubt Instagram and Pinterest. Conveying CPG and especially food through these channels is key. Ideally, get high quality user-generated content in these channels mixed with a solid, coherent and consistent content schedule from your internal team. The key is to have a strategy that blends in an engaging manner around the use of the brand's products. Eran

Marcy Massura Senior Vice President | NYC | Digital Practice Leader

December 4th, 2014

For starters, if you are small and you do not have a budget to support your content on FB with paid, they you should not be wasting anytime or money on Facebook. But also, you should not be looking to find a social network for FOOD company- but rather one that indextes high for your TARGET consumer. Some are better for young than old. Or have more users who are of higher income than not. You need to know who you want to engage with- and THEN decide where to put your $.....

Praveen Ramanathan President & CEO | Delivering Strategic Digital Experience Solutions for B2B & B2C Customers

December 4th, 2014

Great question. In some ways, I think your question partially has the answer in it. 

Let's say you actually had the budget, I would recommend you still wouldn't want to use all of the available social media outlets. That'd be like taking a fire-hose and watering your garden, the neighbor's garden, and the community park. What instead works best is when you are focused on one or two specific channels/outlets. Often times, small companies try to emulate what the large CPG companies do - which is to throw money at every social channel out there (because they can). 

Instead, set your social marketing strategy apart. As Dave Rendall says "Embrace your uniqueness by flaunting your weakness". As a small CPG company, you need to have a more focused social strategy. 

Here's a 3 step process:
1. Start with understanding your target users: If you havent already done this, develop key personas outlining your primary and secondary user profiles
2. Find the e-fluencers in your space: Every industry has a key set of experts who are active online (and are bloggers, tweeting, sharing their perspectives in many ways). e,g. Vani Hari (Food Babe) who almost took down Subways business.  They act as magnets for your target users. 
3. Engage the e-fluencers: If your industry is mature online, there are already specific watering holes where the efluencer discussions are taking place and your target consumers are engaged. Channel those watering holes, add value to the discussions (rather than hawking your product),  provide insightful commentary that is helpful. 

Hope this helps. 

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

December 5th, 2014

Hello Mihir,

I second Eran. Pinterest should be a safe choice for you. We recently open up our Pinterest account. Initially we didn't have a very good idea of what to share there, however, once you grab the concept of Pin, then it starts to make sense, and it cost you just the effort!


Daniel McEnnis Researcher Consultant

December 9th, 2014

Coming from a media data science perspective, know your audience is everything. Each Internet generation favors different services for different purposes. Each class is more or less 'viral friendly': a critical ad ROI multiplier on most audiences. Find where your target users (segmented if possible) consume food info in the most cost effective manner, and target there.  My two cents,

Daniel McEnnis
CEO Research at Scale

Adnan Aziz CEO & Co-Founder,

December 4th, 2014

Hey Mihir,

Let me throw our hat in the ring, We help new products get discovered through personalized promotions and social reviews. Because consumers love discovering, trying and sharing new products on Swaggable, they're comfortable providing data about themselves and their preferences. This allows us to offer CPG brands incredibly specific targeting on personalized promotions like product samples, online coupons and in-store coupons(coming soon).


December 4th, 2014

LinkedIn is the business community of social media. You can increase awareness and establish credibility by sharing useful information, joining groups and sharing insights knowledge - no selling. This is about relationship and reputation building. You can also join groups you want to collaborate and partner with in addition to recruit employees.