The Power of Influencers
With the eruptive growth of social media across audiences of all ages, influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular way to promote products and services. But what makes an influencer?
Influencers are individuals with perceived expertise or knowledge about niche topics and a significant online following. Their followers view them as trustworthy experts in their fields, and they can hold significant influence over their audiences’ purchasing decisions. Their recommendations can help brands expand their reach and message – and that’s precisely why the Beef Checkoff utilizes influencer marketing to help drive beef demand.
Beef Expert Network
In total, 22 individuals are part of the Beef Checkoff’s Beef Expert Network of influencers who are all passionate about sharing beef’s story and connecting with their audiences to promote beef as the protein of choice. The Beef Checkoff-funded brand Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. works with three types of influencers within the Beef Expert Network:
The Food Influencer
These are food lovers who center their content around recipes, cooking advice and entertaining tips and tricks. They share most of their food experiences on blogs and social media channels to loyal audiences interested in learning about new recipes.
The Culinary Influencer
These are trusted culinary professionals to whom consumers and other culinarians look for guidance. Many of these professionals own restaurants or culinary consulting companies; some are even TV personalities. Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. has worked with numerous celebrity chefs, with two being Hugh Acheson, judge on the popular TV show Top Chef, and Josh Capon, chef and TV personality on the show Frankenfood.
The Ag Influencer
These influencers are members of the beef industry who run their own cattle operations and want to share their beef stories with consumers. These advocates engage with audiences and the media to ensure accurate information about the beef industry is heard.
The Nutrition Influencer
These are trusted and established nutrition, health and fitness experts who maintain professional credentials such as Registered Dietitian (RD), Medical Doctor (MD) or Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). They are considered thought leaders in their field and provide evidence-based, diet-related health and wellness recommendations to consumers and other health professional peers.
Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. works to create long-term relationships with these individuals, and all must be a natural fit for the brand. To create authentic content, influencers must meet a certain set of criteria:
- Express passion about beef and have already shared beef content with their audience.
- Possess credibility in their field.
- Create visually appealing content.
- Have a highly engaged audience.
- Have a national audience of older millennial parents (Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner’s. main target audience).
- Have a successful presence on multiple social media platforms.
Most importantly, influencer marketing is a partnership, and the Beef Checkoff strives to build solid, productive relationships with these individuals.
The Beef Checkoff creates educational opportunities so its influencers can have the most up-to-date, beef-focused nutrition, research, culinary and production content. This information is delivered through webinars, conference session support, events, digital communications and hosted experiences.
This collaboration ensures influencer content supports Beef Checkoff campaigns and promotes beef efficiently and effectively. Once influencers create the content, they share it with their audiences across digital and social media platforms, but Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. also utilizes their content in its own marketing efforts. To further extend the reach of influencer-curated messaging, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. spotlights this content on its social media platforms to reach new audiences. This strategy is especially beneficial with the Ag Influencer group because it helps consumer audiences meet beef farmers and ranchers and learn about beef production right from the source.
Beyond Social Media
The Beef Expert Network contributes to paid digital content, including blogs and articles authored by influencers and hosted in urban news publications like LA Weekly and The New York Times.
Also, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. takes advantage of the popularity of their celebrity chefs and TV personalities and hosts media tours featuring these influencers. These media tours allow TV and radio stations across the country to interview the influencers about beef recipes and nutrition. In fiscal year 2021, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. hosted four satellite media tours, each resulting in an average of 20 interviews that aired more than 500 times.
It’s All in the Results
For Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., engagement is key. The goal is to have consumers click on the recipe and beef messaging links to learn more about beef and how to cook with it. Here are successes from recent influencer campaigns:
Summer Grilling Campaign
Fourteen food and culinary influencers posted beef summer grilling recipes on their social media channels in June, July and August.
Total Reach: 372,592
Total Engagement: 60,028
Celebrating National Ag Day
Five ag influencers shared their beef stories to celebrate National Ag Day. These social media posts received paid amplification to increase their reach and carry the agriculture message to new consumer audiences.
Total Reach: 490,867
Total Engagement: 5,027
“Tailgating with Rasheed Philips” YouTube Campaign
Philips starred in a long-form YouTube campaign to develop videos on beef recipes for tailgating.
Video Views: 158,956
Total Reach: 275,526
Beef in the Early Years Campaign
Seven nutrition influencers shared social media posts to highlight beef in the early years and encourage parents, caregivers and doctors to make every bite count.
Total Reach: 232,139
Total Engagement: 80,876
Measurement cheat sheet:
Reach: The number of unique users who were shown a post during its lifetime.
Engagement: The total number of times that users reacted to, commented on, shared or clicked on a post during its lifetime.
The Beef Checkoff program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.