Social Media and Digital campaigns can absolutely boost sales for food brands, even ones marketing healthy food. But not in the way we are used to. Brands must use social the way it was intended to be used—to talk TO consumers until they talk about YOU.

In other words, talk to consumers in a way that gets them feeling more connected to your brand­­­ by demonstrating an understanding of what they to know, see, and experience. This shouldn’t be that difficult. They are very public.

This has always been a challenge for brands, but it’s even harder on social. Unlike commercials and ads, where consumers expect you to sell, social media has different rules. You are a visitor. And smart marketers behave exactly that way. You wouldn’t tell your host what to do or think. You’d ask questions and be polite. Think of being on someone’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram like being a guest in their home. You want them to welcome you back because they enjoyed you, you told them funny stories, gave them good advice or were helpful in some way.

Unfortunately, what most brands do is barge in-uninvited, bore us to death and leave a big mess before we finally ask them to leave. So what’s successful right now?

1. They talk about what’s great about consumers instead of what’s great about them.

The Emerald Nuts! “Yes good!” campaign is based solely on consumer reviews of their product. “Yes Good!” was actually a review left by a satisfied customer. Their consumer reviews are now given to artists to interpret in different and unique ways. This campaign is a great example of highlighting the relationship between brand and consumer and leveraging that to sell a product in a fun, creative way.

2. Talk with consumers, not at them.

No one likes houseguests who only want to talk about themselves. Ask questions. Get them to join your conversation. They expect nothing less. And why should they? You are, after all, visiting their social home.  Here’s a good example of a brand identifying a benefit of their product in a way that most people never would have thought of. The Cheeto’s Museum gave consumers the chance to experience the product in a whole new way by adding a specific personality and humanity to it. This idea was powered by user generated content and sharable Online Videos. It also had a fun challenge element that got consumers involved and drove them directly to the point of purchase.

3. Entertain consumers while you educate.

Stubbs BBQ sauce is bringing nostalgia and new tech together, to help you not only enjoy cooking, but to improve your skills on the stove. In a partnership with the Amazon Echo, Stubbs is bringing the original Stubblefield southern accent, blues music, cooking tips, and into your home. This innovation makes for great, engaging social content.

Bottom line, if you want to use social to promote a food brand, don’t make the mistakes that most healthy food companies are making. Resist the urge to chest pound or talk at consumers. They’ll either ignore you or, even worse, kick you out and lock the door behind you.

If your is brand isn’t using social media to it’s full potential, let’s talk. I can definitely help.