Fully Branded Social Media Marketing for a Chicago Food Event


Mac & Cheese Festival Chicago needed to amp up their social media presence to build brand awareness and increase ticket sales.


Implement an engaging content calendar of both paid and organic posts, coupled with comprehensive community management and engagement


+ 17% Social Engagement

+ 22% Increase in Social Followers

>> Trending Twitter Topic for Chicago

>> Increased Ticket Sales

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 and cheese 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.

What's The Mac & Cheese Fest All About?

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.

mac and cheese fest chicago visualfizz digital marketing

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.

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.

Social Media Content Creation For a Successful Event

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.


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Increase in Engagement

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

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22% increase in social follower base and brand reach due to consistent high quality posts that were engaging and exciting.

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


Mac & Cheese Fest’s goal was to be trending on Twitter during the event. They were trending within 30 minutes for all 8 hours of the event.

The Result?

By creating content which was designed around user-generated engagement, tagging friends, and conversion, we were able to sell more tickets than the year prior. Our team was able to assist Mac & Cheese Fest further by attending the event and posting live. By doing so, the team was able to get Mac & Cheese Festival trending on Twitter within the first 30 minutes of the festival for the 8+ hour duration of the festival.

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