Mac & Cheese Festival Chicago

Fully Branded Social Media Marketing

Overview of The Brand

The Mac & Cheese Fest is the kind of event that could only be done right in the Midwest – and where better than Chicago? Chicago is known for its decadent food scene and is regarded as the best of the best in comfort food– and macaroni is the ultimate “Just like your mama made it” comfort food. The Mac & Cheese Fest is a sight for hungry eyes – imagine 30+ booths with mac and cheese culinary creations from restaurants all around the city.  Unlimited samples are included in the ticket price. Oh, and don’t forget the five drink tickets to try local Chicago brews and cocktails.

For the past four years, the Mac & Cheese Fest has been a staple of the Chicago food festival scene, taking place in late fall (when comfort food cravings start to set in). Participating restaurants compete for the coveted “Golden Noodle” award, which attendees vote on and award to their favorite dish.

The Fest doesn’t just taste good, though – it’s good for the community, as well. By partnering with the Ronald McDonald House and donating a portion of event proceeds, the Mac & Cheese Fest helps provide a home away from home for families with children at the local Chicagoland and northwest Indiana hospitals. Since the inception of the festival, Mac & Cheese Fest has donated a total of $35,000 to Ronald McDonald House.

 

In 2016, the Mac & Cheese Fest had a great event planned, but the fest wasn’t seeing the ticket sales or “social buzz” they were hoping for. That’s when VisualFizz stepped in to add our famous creativity and spark to Mac and Cheese Fest’s social media campaigns.

Localized Social Media Partnership with VisualFizz

The VisualFizz social media team created a strong strategy for managing organic and paid Mac & Cheese Fest social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram. 

The experienced social media management team focused on creating fun, engaging content leading up to the event. In addition to long term social management, the VisualFizz team also managed all social media presence during the event, which included tweeting every 5 minutes, answering Facebook messages, and monitoring the brand’s social media feeds to ensure only appropriate branded social activity was visible.

Social Media Content Creation

In the months leading up to the event, the VisualFizz team created timely, relevant copy to raise awareness about the event, get people excited to purchase tickets and attend, and increase ticket sales from branded social channels.

 

Social media management included daily posting of User Generated Content, such as photos, videos, etc, from previous years on Facebook, teasing delicious mac & cheese creations on Instagram, and engaging with fans on Twitter. By posting 3 to 5 times per day on each channel, VisualFizz maintained a strong brand presence for Mac and Cheese Fest.

Local Chicago and Chicagoland presence was key to the success of the fest. To make sure ads were only seen by strong prospects, we created a geo-targeted social media marketing strategy.

 

VisualFizz reached a variety of social media users and “foodies” in Chicago though a mix of boosted/sponsored content, Facebook and Instagram ads, and social retargeting.

mac and cheese social media marketing visualfizz results

Results

17% YoY Increase in Engagement (Comments, Likes, Brand Interaction) across Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram.

22% increase in social follower base and brand reach.

80% of visitors are local to the Chicago area, remaining 20% came from Midwest region.The rest came from nearby states (Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan).

Social Community Management

Engaging directly with interested fans and potential attendees (and building excitement for the event) was the main goal of our community management plan. Fans that engage with social content have a high purchase intent, so our community managers answered all comments, messages and requests with speed in mind. VisualFizz adopted the playful voice of the Mac & Cheese Fest while being sure to also function as a customer service rep, quickly and accurately providing necessary logistical information.

SEO results ecommerce and search engine optimization visualfizz

Through careful site mapping optimizations, optimizations of product pages and categories, and heavy technical SEO strategies on backend of Prestashop, The VisualFizz team was  able to index over 500 individual product pages and become organically visible for over 200 product-based keywords. This ensures that products from The Yard will appear in organic search results as often as possible.

Results

Direct traffic to the site increased by 24.7% YOY

7.6% increase in sessions YOY

15.5% increase in new users YOY

Customer Acquisition through Social Media Advertising

Once the site was optimized for SEO and User Experience, the VisualFizz team pivoted our focus to acquire new customers, focusing on audiences in both in Kuwait and around the world.

We launched a series of product-focused social media campaigns that used the newly-optimized landing pages and conversion-optimized lead magnets to acquire influencers and valuable backlinks, as well as to create social hype and a strong brand presence.

the yard facebook ad campaign visualfizz

Advanced demographic targeting and A/B testing helped our team of social media marketers determine the appropriate audience for Facebook cost-per-click ads (where you only have to pay when a customer clicks on your content, not for appearing on their timeline). We also spent some advertising budget on boosted posts to help showcase the organic content they were already producing on Facebook and Instagram.  

 

The Visual Fizz team encouraged The Yard to utilize the Instagram story feature to showcase daily happenings around their boutique, and help share the brand personality with a larger audience.

95 The Yard Kuwait Instagram Posts
social media advertising results visualfizz chicago

Through on-brand copy and imagery across a wide variety of social media ads, our team at Visual Fizz continues to extend the reach and improve the ROI of The Yard’s Facebook Ad Campaigns, Boosted Posts, and Instagram Ads.

Results

100% – 360 growth of users in USA, Germany, China, India, Canada, and Turkey.

350% increase in traffic from organic and social channels

22% increase in sales of promoted products

Summary

Some of our clients are across the street. The Yard boutique is 6,755 miles away from our office in downtown Chicago. Regardless of the distance between us, the VisualFizz team worked seamlessly and diligently with the entrepreneurs behind The Yard to ensure the ethos of their brand was brought to life across the digital ecosystem – and that they saw the corresponding sales and exposure as a result.