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January 29, 2019

The Social Media Food Phenomenon

Jamie Allebach
Jamie Allebach Chief Executive & Creative Officer

People are posting thousands of images every day—of the food they are eating! Instagram alone has hundreds of millions of posts, pics, and videos just about food.

So, why is #foodporn so obscenely successful on social media? Lots of reasons, let’s start with some of the basics…

It’s a cultural thing…people like to show-off what they just ate or what they are about to eat. Whether it’s something they cooked or prepared, or they’re out to eat, or something new and cool to show their friends how they are riding the wave of food pop culture. People love to post pics and videos of food. Cooking is hot. Trendy new products are in. Better-for-you products and clean labels are all the rage.

People also like to talk about food. They want their friend to know that they are in the “know” when it comes to food, nutrition, and trends. People love to be the first to tell their friend about some new awesome superfood. Or this hot new brand. Or, “did you know this food has this benefit?” Perhaps they want to let the world know how healthy they are eating or possibly tell them that they don’t really give a rip what people think about their eating habits. Whatever the reason, people love, love, love, talking about food.

This is all great news for food brands! Your brand can get in on the action, in a meaningful way, if you have the right product or brand story.

There are many other reasons why people share “food thoughts” on social media. Some people genuinely care and want to help. They have found a product or a way of doing something that has brought value to them and they want to share their new knowledge with people. This can take on many different forms. There are even thousands of everyday consumers who actually review products, either via blog or video. It’s amazing.

And then there’s the “story craze”—which every brand is trying to get in on. Since the beginning of the human race, we have always been compelled by stories. Before the invention of the printing press, “stories,” told person to person, is how everything was communicated. So, this is nothing new. However, millennials have really brought this home for brands, in a new and impactful way. The more genuine and authentic your brand story is, the more compelled people will be to share it. Story alone can make your brand go viral. It can be about you, the owner-entrepreneur and your journey. It can be about the origin of your product or ingredients. It can be humanitarian or environmentally focused. Whatever it is, if your food or beverage brand story is good, interesting, and authentic—people will share and talk about it on social media.

In general, “User Generated Content” is HUGE for food and beverage brands. If someone is taking time to post a pic or video, talk about, share, or brag about your brand—it’s one of the most effective forms of marketing.

But the reality is, that most brands struggle with this—they try too hard. They try to force their brand into conversations—making it too much about themselves. It just doesn’t work that way, but I am continually amazed at how many brands just keep trying to force-feed their brands to consumers.

Instead, try joining the conversation on social media. Our society is obsessed with food. It’s at the epicenter of pop culture. It’s fun. It’s cool. It’s trendy. It’s a great time to be in the food and beverage space.