A Socially Acceptable Trend That Is Out of This World

March 25, 2022
When it comes to speaking the languages of our generations, there are a few food and beverage companies out there doing and out-of-this-world job on social media. 

My age, nay my generation, doesn't often present itself when I'm doing my job. Most people don't need to know about my Marine father and hippie mother and how -- or when -- they brought me into this world. The only time my age and my generation come up anymore are when I'm talking about the ways in which people consume their content. 

'Content Consumption' is a fairly new term on the interwebs. Before the Internet and social media, news was fed to us much like Mom's Monday Night pot roast. Both were often dry and lacking in sustenance and you rarely got a choice in how it was fed to you. Once the the options for watching and listening to news broadened, so too did the ways we took in our information. In the last 30 years, we went from a sit-down dinner way of learning about the world around us to multiple bite-sized ways to take in morsels of information. We 'consume' content every time we open our computers, our phones, our emails, our podcast players, our radios, our televisions, and our social media channels. 

There are a few ways I prefer to consume my content: I'm an avid reader of news-source emails, a proud podcast listener, and a social media junkie. I just cleared the embarrassment stage of saying my preferred social media drug of choice is TikTok. TikTok feels different from other social channels I've been on. It's more first-person point of view with strong notes of 'welcome to my world.' It's the perfect mix of news and real life. 

@lifeatmars_na This water bottle has seen it all #emo #emotional #funny #fyp #vibes ♬ original sound - Joshua Johnson

An Out of This World Idea

There are a few food and beverage TikTok accounts that have jumped out at me in my 18 months on the 'Tok. My favorite, so far, has been Mars' LifeAtMars account.  

Whoever is behind this account deserves a raise. It not only offers some light-hearted and relatable funnies (I see you emotional support water bottle), but it also gives people outside of the food and beverage industry a glimpse of what working at a food company is like.

I've been in my job for well over a decade and I'm still learning about who does what in different parts of the plant. Getting to see brief videos where a plant engineer or a QA specialist takes me on a 'day-in-the-life' gives me a better idea of what they deal with every day. It also has the added benefit of humanizing the people behind products we all know and love. 

Another example is the food and beverage-adjacent brand Xena Workwear. Their account walks you through their functional work apparel by showing people actually working in their product. They also answer questions and comments people often hear while on the job. They take a topic -- workwear -- and remind you that these boots may be for walking and working, but there's a real person standing in those boots that can answer a lot of industry-related questions for curious lurkers.

I don't know if the decision-makers and power players in most food and beverage companies know how integral this kind of social media existence is to their future successes. Judging by how often I hear people older than I am talk about social media, I imagine many of them scoff at the idea of putting their companies on social media at the risk of exposing themselves.

It feels like a sizable generational divide. 

The Sweet Spot of Social Media

If the scoffing is true, then that's a real shame. From my point of view -- and many more people far younger than I am -- companies should take this 'the real us' kind of approach to social media, in particular being on TikTok.

I'm not sure if you've heard, but GenZ is information-hungry. They do want to see how the sausage (or candy) is made and they want to help figure out the best way to formulate it, too. They may not know how to write the perfect cursive Q, but they definitely know what they're willing to accept -- or not -- when it comes to their favorite food and beverage brands. Don't even get me started on their activist tendencies. 

This younger generation is a real powerhouse and they love TikTok. You want to find an untapped talent market? Get on TikTok and start talking more about the jobs in your plant and who does what and how one might go about getting into that line of work. Start showing how diverse your workforce is. Show the moms, the dads, the dog parents, the cat-lovers, the childless and how they've adapted to life in this corona world. 

Younger generations aren't going to stop 'consuming' TikToks on their lunchbreak anytime soon, so stop trying to beat the system. Join it. 

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