Food porn in social media has skyrocketed in recent years with the growing popularity of Instagram; it seems that every second post is a photo of someone’s meal! <!–more–>
Because of the development of apps such as UrbanSpoon, Yelp and Menulog, restaurants, cafés and food trucks have come under more public attention and scrutiny than ever before. Increasingly more power has been given to consumers, which means that anyone with a phone or a computer with access to the Internet has the ability to contribute a review or a rating. Inbuilt cameras on phones make food photography simple and reasonably discreet, and sharing those photos with friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have never been easier.
But what does this mean for the food industry?
(A: Free publicity!)
And how does one take advantage of the public’s obsession with food?
(A: With effective use of public relations of course!)
Here’s a video on a discussion of the effects of social media on the food industry. Skip to 3:10 to find out what owner of ApprovedFood.co.uk, Dan Cluderay believes is the most effective social media platform for food:
It’s true that we trust our friends’ and loved ones’ suggestions over a targeted advertisement or campaign, therefore personal recommendations are extremely valuable and hold the most persuasion power (Regan, A., Rutsaert, P. et al., 2012). So how would an upcoming food business be able to actively utilise and take advantage of this in a public relations campaign? One example comes from a Melbourne ramen restaurant, Fukuryu Ramen. Fukuryu Ramen runs regular competitions for free meals and giveaways under their public relations campaign, “How Do You Fukuryu?”. The way the campaign works is that customers take selfies with their food at Fukuryu and must upload it to Facebook and tag the restaurant
in the picture. Once a month, the best selfies are displayed on Fukuryu Ramen’s main Facebook page and the user is awarded with a free meal. It’s successful in that there is an incentive for taking the photos, and once they are uploaded, are visible to the individual user’s friends (usually in the hundreds). This means that even if they don’t win the competition and have their selfie displayed on the official page of the restaurant, there’s a good chance that their Facebook friends will see it. The lure of a free meal may not work across all customer demographics, but Fukuryu Ramen’s target consumers are students and with that in mind, this campaign works extremely well.
Now that’s some food for thought!
Fukuryu Ramen’s Facebook Page (last accessed: April 13, 2015)
Regan, A., Rutsaert, P. et al. (2012) Trends in Food Science & Technology: The use of social media in food risk and benefit communication, vol.30:1, Focus Business Communications, Southampton, UK, pp.84-91