Gay Lea is the leading Canadian dairy co-operative, with memberships from over 1,400 dairy farms in Ontario and Manitoba. Since 1958, the company has been dedicated to providing high-quality dairy products under the Gay Lea brand, as well as over 12 other brands that have been a mainstay in Canadian households. Gay Lea was looking for social media management and a content strategy to expand their messaging to a new, younger generation of Canadians, and foster an organically grown community on social media.


In 2017, Gay Lea’s fanbase was primarily in the 35-54 year old market, but the company wanted to use social media more effectively to build brand awareness amongst millennials organically. The company wanted to launch a new Instagram profile and grow its audience amongst 18-30 year olds, as well as continue to leverage their Facebook following for their current demographic.

To reflect their high-quality brand effectively on social media, they also were looking for original content for Facebook and Instagram. The content needed to be technically optimized for social media, maintain a similar high quality to other marketing efforts, and appeal to a younger demographic.

As a provider of consumer goods, Gay Lea also wanted to leverage Facebook and Instagram to create and manage their online community. Not only did they want solutions for customerinteractions, but also to acknowledge their fan base in meaningful ways.


To meet and exceed Gay Lea’s needs, Qode Social (QS) looked to devise a content strategy with a relatable tone and style to best engage with the millennial market, with an emphasis on content that was considered both fun and high-quality, amongst the Instagram foodie community. QS also planned to consistently engage with the already active Gay Lea community both inside and outside of the comment section, proactively reaching out to both new and current fans.

Working with a popular Canadian brand, the team wanted to ensure an open means of communication with the Gay Lea marketing team to manage their online communities to the company’s customer service standards, coordinate social media plans for integrated campaigns, and stay up-to-date for opportunities to leverage trending topics.

Socially OptimizedContent

QS planned and delivered a content calendar every month to the Gay Lea team to showcase how products can be used creatively and to entertain. Content centred around topics geared towards millennials, including Canadian culture, pop culture references, and trending hashtags. Detailed flatlays and meticulously styled close-ups are designed to engage and inspire users, as well as invite them to participate in the conversation through sharing and creating their own posts.

Influencer Campaigns

To boost Gay Lea’s brand awareness amongst millennials, QS developed targeted influencer campaigns that helped to both communicate and strengthen the brand.

fan engagement

QS was proactive in community engagement via commenting and engaging with potential new Gay Lea fans, targeted based on the marketing team’s provided archetypes, including the highly engaged foodie community. QS would repost high-quality content that Gay Lea was tagged in to increase content and show appreciation for brand ambassadors. The channels also served to support and reward already loyal fans through giveaways, coupons and further individualized engagement. Qode Social successfully monitored and responded to users in a “social” way to promote audience growth and contributed to turning fans into customers.

Community management

QS knew that not just community engagement, but also management was a key factor in the digital presence of the food industry, and committed to a quick 24-hour response rate to resolve questions, comments and other customer interactions. QS also took advantage of the opportunity for feedback on Facebook and Instagram to analyze both positive and negative feedback, FAQs, and overall social sentiment.


Since October 2017, QS has successfully launched Gay Lea’s Instagram profile to be one of the most active channels for the brand. With almost 2,000 followers (primarily in the 25-34 year old demographic) and a highly active community, QS has increased Gay Lea’s brand awareness by over 200,000 monthly impressions via up to 30 original pieces of content per month.

“The past year was a successful, record­setting year for our co­operative and we look forward to the year ahead as we continue to drive our co­operative forward through research and development, leading edge technologies, and innovative products favoured by consumers in households across Canada.”

– Michael Barrett, President & CEO






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