I spend a lot of my day thinking about food, and when I joined Instagram, I quickly realised I was not alone. At last there were millions of people like me, hungry for the next new flavour or choicest ingredient. I’m now a gastronomic globetrotter, eyeing up delicious dishes, reaching for a cute cocktail and imagining dining in restaurants in places I’m never likely to visit any time soon.
My dusty cookery books are barely used now, as I prefer to try whatever I happen to be drooling over on Instagram. Along with its picture partner Pinterest, Insta propels the food trends we see on shop shelves like spiralised vegetables, cauliflower rice, flat whites, matcha tea and bliss balls…
No wonder the word delicious has been used as a hashtag on Instagram more than 68m times. Why? Because food is the perfect photography subject. It’s rich in texture, it’s colourful and, of course, it’s ever changing as we consume new meals every day.
According to Waitrose’s annual food report, one in five Brits will have shared an image of food online in the past month. And food outlets are really beginning to capitalise on this. Dining and lifestyle magazines are full of articles on the most Instagram friendly restaurants http://blog.opentable.co.uk/londons-most-instagrammable-restaurants/. Like Dirty Bones in London [http://mashable.com/2017/07/11/instagram-kits-dirty-bones/#5jXYWt36jsqi] serving up Instagram packs (a selfie stick, LED camera light and mini tripod) to help diners perfect their shots.
Entire food empires have been cooked up on these platforms thanks to our lust for a lovely looking recipe and a lifestyle to aspire to.
What emerges from the way food is presented on these channels is a certain style. We know what’s working when we see it replicated again and again.
And in that regard we should all raise our glasses to Buzzfeed and its stable of inspiring and fun ways of celebrating food. Their quizzes are silly [Which salad are you?] and their recipes are mesmerizing thanks to their pioneering Tasty videos which are filmed overhead, showing a pair of disembodied hands swiftly creating a delicious meal. Tasty videos have transformed online recipe sharing, apparently racking up 1.1bn views in June alone this year [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/technology/how-buzzfeeds-tasty-conquered-online-food.html?mcubz=3]
So if you’re a food business, here are my tips to boost your delicious posts:
1. Find your customers online – if they’re foodies, you’ve got to look at Insta as well as Facebook and use their search tools to find people especially if you’re in a specific location.
2. Invest in your photography – take a range of shots, use props to style them, buy some kit, train a member of staff, or hire professionals. Your food needs to look as good as it tastes.
3. Encourage sharing – run offers and competitions, search out hashtags or invent your own, keep a close eye on seasons and celebration dates.
4. Be ready for feedback – you’ll receive positive as well as negative comments if you work in the food sector. Be ready to engage with customers on both by responding a timely and courteous manner.