Earlier this month, I went to the UNFI Foxwoods Tabletop Show in Connecticut. These trade shows let me connect with existing clients, network with potential ones, and learn a lot about the natural products industry in the process. I met with a health and beauty buyer, who gave me some useful insight into how she does her job.
Curious, I asked what type of research she conducts before picking up a new brand. She took me through her process–how she looks up a brand’s website, reads through Amazon reviews, and then dives deep into the company’s social media accounts.
Social Isn’t an Afterthought–It IS the Thought
She told me she doesn’t just check if a brand is present on social. Most health and beauty buyers want to see that brands are active and consistently sharing high-quality content–full of vivid imagery, well-crafted text, and relevant links.
But strong content alone isn’t enough. According to this buyer, she looks at how brands directly engage with consumers, whether it’s responding to questions or dealing with customer service issues. This back-and-forth communication is a major determining factor in whether or not retailers pick up a brand, she says.
She habitually searches the hashtags a brand uses, to evaluate how many people are engaging in the conversation. If your brand isn’t using hashtags effectively–starting dialogue that resonates and jumping into conversations related to your space–you could be missing out on an opportunity to impress the critics who matter most.
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Social as a Touchpoint
I meet so many people when I attend these trade shows. One thing that always sticks out to me is the number of emails I get in the following weeks. Email is a great way to connect, sure–but according to the health and beauty buyer I met at Foxwoods, her inbox is always overflowing.
So, how about an alternative? Instead of getting her contact info and following up via email, I simply asked her to follow some brands I work with on Instagram. This way, when we post content, she’ll see–she has no choice but to scroll right past it. And judging by the way she researches and assesses brands, she’ll know exactly what my clients are doing on social.
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Isaac Brody (aka“Ike”) is the owner and CEO of Socialike, a Manhattan-based creative agency that specializes in social and digital marketing. Isaac comments on trends in marketing. Socialike’s clients, whether they’re in natural products, hospitality or any other industry, get concepts that differentiate them–along with trackable results.