FOODPORN : ” FREE “ADVERTISING – BOON OR BANE
The popularity of social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter continues to skyrocket, and so does the concept that everything we do – everyone we meet, everywhere we go, every movie we see – needs to be uploaded and shared with our friends. Mobile technology has made it incredibly easy to document every moment of our lives. Approx. 120 new photos hash tagged #foodporn are uploaded to Instagram every minute. The idea of sharing food photos online has begun to dominate the world of participatory technology. Eating has always been a core component of socialising, and the way we eat reflects our class, gender and generation. Food is no longer seen just as fuel for the body: it has become a currency that can be traded online for social status.
Good food portrayed through attractive pictures online motivates people to try out new restaurants serving foods and drinks. And as it is turning out as the best way to promote one brand connecting with the new generation, who rely more on the number of reviews and photos posted online rather than word of mouth. The online visual content is high in demand as it has appealing photos on the net across various social media platforms and it has become an essential part of the overall promotion. And with apps like Instagram and Facebook, people today share their memory online. And these pictures are helping in creating a connection between restaurants and their guests.
There’s the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but for restaurants, user-clicked photos posted to social media sites are worth far more than words or anything else that marketing money can offer.
The photos often are posted with the hashtags, related to food and even specific # tags too. Like for Starbucks we can tag #starbucks etc. which allows followers to find them. For independent restaurants and chains, the trend provides a way to showcase menu items with no cost or effort, and it has become a critical part of online marketing.
Nowadays, food on social media has become the latest fad. It has brought new food trends, inspired the new age status symbol of having been there and done free advertisements for restaurants and food joints. Anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter or Instagram knows that many people like to photograph, post and share photos of dishes that they think look good. The new generation or the “millennials” as we call them are hungry for content for their social pages. They know their food well as they have travelled a lot, and they look for something hilariously different and adventurous on their plate, which they can flaunt to the world.
This whole trend, translates into business growth for the eatery, indirectly. People love to order dishes, they have already seen on the net which were posted by their friends and family. For the restaurteurs, it has become a free marketing tool and is quite flattering for them to see people clicking pics of their food. You will be surprised to know, that most of the eateries in UK and US have not spent a single penny on advertising since last 2-3 years, as this online posting and spreading the word has done and still continuing to do enough good to them.
Restaurants, more than ever, have to become about social experience rather than solely about food. The perception of a venue as a whole – its vibe, its décor, the friendliness of its staff – can be as important (if not more so) than the dishes served. To make it big in the social media age, a business needs to go further than chatting to followers on Twitter: they need to cultivate an attractive, unique and shareable image.
Businesses need to construct content – food, in the case of restaurants – that will inspire people to take photos and share it. While food is an ideal medium for social media because it’s something that we naturally share, intelligent restaurants need to see social media as more than just cheap advertising. The most important thing is to offer something worth talking about, something remarkable. The worst thing you can do is be like everyone else. Already there are several distinct trends emerging that will alter the way we perceive food and dining. Food criticism has become democratised and now rests in the hands of bloggers and food review websites. Experiential dining – all about visuals, sounds and textures as well as taste – is well represented by popular chefs like Blumenthals and Gaggans of the world. Linked to this is an upcoming trend of videos, many video apps and streaming services are helping people to share experiences like cooking, presentation and eating online – real time…..What Next ???
Where did this “eat and tweet” mentality come from ? How does it change the way we respond and relate to food ? Where will it lead to ?