6 min read
Jerome Maisch - May 10, 2016

3 Crucial Ways CPG Brands Can Acquire Customers on Social Media

Valued at around $2 trillion, the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industry is one of the largest in North America. With modern CPG brands making massive headway in terms of sales from their social marketing, we’ve looked into ways these reputable brands can cut above the rest when it comes to acquiring and retaining customers through social.

So what are the 3 main takeaways?

1. It all starts with understanding consumer purchasing, consumption behavior and sentiment through concentrated social media listening.

You hear time and time again that you need to be listening to your customers to be getting the right returns from your products, but it could not be more true when it comes to CPG. The purchase lifecycle is short, with quick changes in purchase histories, customers are constantly making quick choices between sector competition. If you aren’t reactive to your consumer engagement and interests - disliking, or jumping on the things they love -  you rapidly start to loose them as they switch to the many alternatives and revert back to the ‘interest stage’ - potentially damaging your brand’s health. 

These factors need to be considered at every stage of the CPG purchase cycle, particularly Social Media (source: northhighland). These factors need to be considered at every stage of the CPG purchase cycle, particularly Social Media (source: northhighland).


The most successful brands on social are for the most part analytics focused as they understand that using social media goes beyond just promoting your products. They go further by breaking down consumer habits, purchase histories and sentiment into set categories to make sure they are targeting the right audiences. It is a way to really capture real consumer opinions, carry out beta testing and getting a feel for the entire flow of the company. It is this which allows you to set your Attribution Model to what your customers are telling you.

It is not unusual for modern CPG brands to have more of a marketing and experiential focus over financial, which is a real testament to the way companies are finding new avenues to make revenue from their marketing efforts, but also in gaining a loyal band of consumers. However, Nestlé Purina gained 62% positive social sentiment between mid-september and mid-december - twice the CPG-industry positive average of 33% (Media Post). This makes it clear that on the whole, CPG brands really need to take more steps into listening to their social media channels to both acquire and retain customers.

Oreo shows a great example of how this should be done, turning their iconic brand into social news.

Check it out:

2. To be consumers top choice, maximize and enhance your visibility through SEO

SEO is consistently on the tip of our tongues, but it really can be a simple win for getting loyal customers if you know what you're doing.

The average adult consumer now spends 5 hours a day on online digital media (eMarketer) and with digital spending increasing year on year, being at the top of the list for engine searches has become the place for companies, in particular CPG brands, for driving purchase.


In an age where we’re all trying to save those extra cents and spending less time shopping around, it’s worth noting that organic searches make up 81% of the start of B2B purchase cycles and 90% of buyers make the searches based on what they want at a particular time (Source: Freely.net). This means you need to be filtering key, high-volume searched terms connectable to both your enterprise and clients and tailoring your social media to these themes and concepts. People are always looking for deals on quick buy products, whether its for a free drink (which we’ll come onto later) or for everyday items, so drawing both your customers and search engine radar’s attention to key searches such as ‘coupons’ or ‘giveaways’ can bring more potential engagement, online visibility and increase purchase decisions. In this respect social media helps by creating backlinks, in particular pinterest, optimizing search exposure to increase acquisition.

This is adaptable too. If your social media listening is telling you that people are associating particular themes to your brand that they weren’t a few months ago, change tack. From this you can employ a revised marketing strategy across your social channels so the customer is effectively driving the way they connect with your brand and ultimately their own purchases. In this respect social media creates backlinks, in particular pinterest, to optimize search exposure.

See how PnG are creeping up the coupon list and connecting SEO to social:


3. Mix up your social platforms for product samples - set the trend

Placing your product in the hands of consumers at every point of the purchase lifecycle is crucial to getting your product known, but also a way of rewarding your loyal customers for sticking by you. Samples are a great way to do this, whilst setting the trend for other CPG brands to follow. They take the initial pre-purchase risk element away, increase the shareability of a campaign and provide valuable insights into how your consumers really feel about specific products - giving you invaluable sentiment data. According to stats from Snack Factory, between 25 to 30 percent who tried a sample ended up buying the product they were sampling (source: Upserve). The content consumers discover whilst shopping ultimately affect their post-purchase behaviour, giving CPG brands a guide in how their marketing efforts can play in part in shaping purchase history patterns.

Coca Cola are a market leader when it comes to putting samples into social action. They surprise consumers with engaging pop-ups all in the name of ‘sharing a little happiness’, with their ‘Drinkable Advertising’ campaign reaching new heights of innovation on the CPG market. Beside all the technology and events planning needed to put it in place, combining the app Shazam, the hashtag #thedrinkeabletweet and keeping their consumers on their social platforms to receive a free coke made this creative, original promotion a winner in raising their marketing game. Taila Green, Digital Producer said ‘anybody wants to be part of something rather than being told to do something’ - choice over force is a force in itself it seems.


Overall, it’s pretty clear that when it comes to acquiring customers and sales via social in the CPG industry, innovation, strategic placement and analysis is key. These brands need to be listening intently to their social media channels, upping their SEO game and setting new trends to engage their consumers, whilst simultaneously gaining insight into customer satisfaction, needs and desires which in turn can be converted into high quality leads if effectively utilized and implemented into a sound marketing strategy.

Written by Jerome Maisch

Marketing Manager @digimindci. Passionate about big data & social marketing. Photography, music and hiking lover