By Caroline Henley

July 3rd, 2015

July 4th is a holiday best celebrated outside. But how are food and beverage brands jumping into the online conversation, influencing grocery shopping lists, before families pack up their coolers to enjoy the fireworks?

I thought about what I enjoy the most on Independence Day: hot dogs (too many!), ice cream (too much!), and good ol’ American beer (no comment!). So let’s take a look at some of the best examples from these brands across social.

Grocery must-have item #1: Hot dogs 
First on our grocery list is hot dogs. Let’s search for a handful of American staples—Ball Park, Hebrew National, Nathan’s, and Sabrett—alongside the July 4th. With a term like “July 4th,” you’re going to need to break the phrase down to catch all of its variants.

Here’s how one query is set up. Notice the Boolean operators include all of the July 4th variants in one query. And with a brand name like BallPark, you’re going to need to weed out the baseball references to catch only the relevant, hot dog-related data. 

4th of july social media

Listening in, we can see that one hot dog brand has been running a July 4th promotion that’s been cooking the competition.

4th of july social media

Well done, Hebrew National. So what is the hot dog brand doing that’s working well here? Hebrew National has 312 July 4th-related mentions across the web, with half of those coming from blogs.

4th of july social media

A quick look at the mentions across the web shows an array of sponsored posts and native ads—Hebrew National has tapped into a wide network of recipe bloggers.

4th of july social media

Hebrew National is also involved in cross-promotions with Target.

4th of july social media

Nathan’s Famous, although a smaller brand, has been utilizing its social channels to count down to a local event—its renowned Coney Island hot dog eating contest.

Oh, America!

Grocery must-have item #2: Ice cream
After plugging in some of the bigger ice cream brands you’d find in a grocery store—Baskin Robbins, Ben and Jerry’s, Breyer’s, Dairy Queen, Edy’s, Graeter’s, Haagen Dazs, and Talenti, we can see which company is utilizing social best in advance of July 4th.

We can view this data by number of mentions alongside July 4th:


4th of july social media

Edy’s has pulled ahead in the past day—it is the only brand running an Independence Day promotion out of the bunch. Interestingly, it also sponsored a giveaway on a network of recipe bloggers. Dairy Queen mentions are mostly due to news about local July 4th parade routes as they relate to Dairy Queen’s brick-and-mortar stores. Breyer’s has some coupon offerings at a few local grocery stores.


4th of july social media

The results make sense—a quick scan of these company Facebook pages shows that none of these brands have mentioned July 4th in their posts. Breyer’s has half a million fans, but only posts once a month. There is so much opportunity for these brands to jump into social marketing!

Grocery must-have item #3: American beer 
The beer results were interesting. We plugged in Budweiser, Blue Moon, Brooklyn Brewery, Coors, Miller, Lone Star, Sam Adams, and Yuengling—and all of their variant spellings—alongside July 4th. And mostly, bars and retailers across the US are listing July 4th beer deals in advance of the holiday.

Lone Star had a spike in mentions on July 1st, while Miller and Budweiser are neck-and-neck with 1k July 4th-related mentions in the past week.

4th of july social media

If you filter to Budweiser’s results across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the brand has a spectacular amount of unprompted, user-generated content created by fans about July 4th. The question is, could Budweiser better optimize its own channels by reposting their fans’ content, creating content based off these fan posts? Is the brand finding opportunities for new revenue based on these results? Budweiser should be the top mention of its own results—fully taking advantage of its wide network of fans and their excitement about the brand on this American holiday.

4th of july social media

Taking a look at these brand mentions across the web, there is so much opportunity for food and beverage brands to better own their media. By implementing cross-channel campaigns, and leaning into audience insights to create social media content, these brands could very easily own the holiday and better influence grocery store shopping carts.

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