Organic Social Deep Dive: Hydration Beverage & Powdered Drinks Industry

January 1, 2021
Food & Beverage

Key Takeaways

Organic Social Focus Allocation — Instagram: Hydration & powder drink brands are communicating with their audiences on Instagram the most where they receive 10x more engagements than Facebook (despite the total Facebook audience being 6x larger than the total Instagram audience). These brands are using many different tactics to gain new followers, engage with their followers, and turn their audiences into brand loyalists. These tactics include: 

  • Acquire: Giveaways, influencers, multi-day giveaways, & non-traditional platforms
  • Engage: Product comparisons, humor, & peripheral interests
  • Build Loyalty: Branded hashtags & ambassador programs

Organic Social Tactic  — Ambassador Programs & Branded Hashtags: Many hydration & powder drink brands have developed brand ambassador programs where they offer exclusive benefits in return for UGC and access to ambassador’s audiences. These programs can also be combined with branded hashtags to further brand awareness. Nuun’s branded hashtags have generated over 470K posts, while Kill Cliff’s has generated over 256K posts to date.

Check out other case studies that dive into ambassador, influencer, and affiliate strategy:

A diverse competitive set of hydration and powder drink brands were analyzed in this case study.

Hydration brands communicate most on Instagram, where they receive 10x the engagement of Facebook—despite the Facebook audience being 6x larger.

Hydration Brands - Social following- Post Cadence - Social Engagements
Note: Analysis includes all brands listed on the previous slide. Social following as of Feb. 12, ‘21. Post Cadence and Social Engagements total from Jan. ‘20 - Jan. ‘21.

Brands deploy various tactics on Instagram to acquire new followers, engage with them, and turn them into brand loyalists.

Hydration Brands - Instagram Tactics

Brands acquire followers via giveaways, influencer partnerships, and by adopting non-traditional platforms (e.g., Strava).

Hydration Brands - How brands acquire followers


Liquid I.V. has mastered giveaways to grow and activate their current following. On average, each giveaway in 2020 added ~600 followers & received 5X the average engagement rate.

Liquid I.V. - Monthly Gained Followers
Giveaway#1Giveaway#2 | Giveaway#3

Super Coffee engaged influencers to amplify the effect of their “12 Days of Positive Energy” campaign. The influencers helped by creating content for the campaign and posting on their own profiles to further the campaign’s reach.

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Super Coffee engaged a diverse set of influencers to expand their reach, from nutrition and fitness coaches, lifestyle accounts, professional athletes, and even dog communities.

Super Coffee - Influencers
@iambarondavis | @discovercharmcity | @ketocoffeeandlipstick | @dogsofcharmcity | @nicolekayfitness | @jenwiderstrom | @claire_grieve | @devonlevesque | @taylorwalkerfit | @kyleharrison18 | @trainwithmon | @leyon

The 12-day campaign added 3.7K new followers to Super Coffee fan base.

Super Coffeed - Weekly Gained Instagram Followers

Earlier in 2020 Super Coffee ran several one-off sweepstakes (without involving influencers), which resulted in 3.8K new followers.

Super Coffeed - Instagram - Sweepstakes
Giveaway | Sweepstakes

*Note: Large follower spike in October due to Jennifer Lopez investment announcement.

Some brands tap into new platforms, such as Strava, which offer white space opportunities where they can be the first to build an audience.

Nuun Hydration - Strava
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Liquid I.V. recently launched a TikTok account to expand their reach to a new audience.

Liquid I.V. - TikTok
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Brands drive engagement on their organic social channels via product comparisons, humour, and peripheral interests.

Hydration Brands drive engagement


For BioSteel, regular product-focused posts tend to be less engaging than hockey athletes or sports settings. Despite this, Biosteel found a way to direct their followers’ attention to the product information in a more engaging manner (next slide).

BioSteel - Regular Product-Focused Posts

BioSteel compared their product with competitors (without disclosing the names), and their followers actively engaged with this way of showing product information. Adding a reference point helps to form opinions and highlights the benefits of your product.

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BioSteel posted the comparison again in January of 2021. The graphic did not receive as much engagement as the initial post in November. Though, it still outperformed other product-focused posts in January.

#ItsJustTheTruth | #Electrolytes

More Labs turned to humor to engage their followers, with 30% of their posts from Nov. - Jan. of 2020 containing humorous undertones. Posts that leverage trending memes receive the highest engagement.

More Labs - Instagram Humor Posts
Post#1 | Post#2 | Post#3

Kill Cliff reposts basketball videos and reviews to cater to their audience’s peripheral interests and keep them entertained.

Video#1 | Video#2 | Video#3

Brands build brand loyalty through branded hashtags and ambassador programs.

Brands - Build Loyalty

Build Loyalty

Nuun and Liquid I.V. launched ambassador programs to convert their followers to active brand advocates.

Nuun and Liquid I.V. - Ambassador Programs

Ambassador programs enable brands to tap into new audiences, acquire user-generated content, and nurture loyal influencers.

Nuun - Ambassador Programs - What Nuun gets - What Ambassador Gets

Kill Cliff asks their followers to share content with the branded hashtag #killcliff which they promote on their social channels as well as their website.

Kill Cliff - #killcliff

Kill Cliff’s branded hashtag has generated over 266K posts to date and has helped to spread brand awareness amongst new audiences in an authentic manner.

Kill Cliff - Instagram - Branded Hashtags

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