When it comes to food industry trends in hospitality there’s one thing for sure – we are obsessed with all things food. In this post we take a look at our craving for exceptional food experiences and 5 ways you can leverage our food obsession on social media.
Food has become as important to us as the clothes we wear and the songs we listen to – it’s become part of our social fabric. It’s also very intertwined with social media.
Right or wrong, “social food practices” like “Instagramming” your food before you eat it, are becoming part of our dining experiences.
Food is today’s hottest social currency – Rob Collins, Waitrose Supermarkets
So, just how bad IS our food obsession? Let’s take a look at some surprising stats about food industry trends. Then we’ll dive into 5 ways you can leverage our craving for all things food and social media in hospitality:
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As you can see from these fun facts above, the social experience of eating is not always quite like it used to be!
It’s probably best if we don’t dwell on how the term “sharing a plate” has morphed into something completely different to how it started out, over the past few years.
But now that we have had a taste (pun intended) of the crazy food industry trends that are happening, what do we do about them? Here are 5 easy ways to leverage Food Industry Trends on Social Media:
5 Ways to Leverage Food Industry Trends on Social Media
1 Invest in great photography
As you may have noticed, we don’t have smell-o-vision or taste-o-vision just yet. So how do you bring the drool-worthy tastes and smells of current food industry trends into an Instagram shot? Here’s some things you can do right now, even with a limited budget:
- Invest in some great lighting for your food photography and make good use of natural light (it’s always the best by far!)
- Use a professional photographer seasonally to showcase new menus and take a range of photos you can use throughout the year.
- Only use quality stock photos the reflect your brand. Our Easil Stock photos are a great way to get started with this. We understand the hospitality industry (we’ve been working with you for years) so we shoot with our actual hospitality clients in mind! Check out some of our “brewtiful” pub-styled Easil stock images.
- Leverage User Generated Content. If someone posts a great image, get permission to share and acknowledge them as well. Tack is a great tool for getting rights permissions.
- Find your superfans who can take great photos. Reward them, engage with them, eat free pancakes with them (seriously, woo them!). Create great relationships with anyone who wants to photograph your tasty treats. But remember, if the relationship continues and they are consistently good – consider bringing them on in a formal manner or find a mutually agreeable method of payment or exchange of value. Influencers matter!
- Learn to take great photos – Camera quality is getting better and better (and that’s just our smart phones!). There are plenty of online courses and in-real-life courses you can do to learn how to use your smartphone or digital camera more effectively. If you’re interested in photography, it can be a great asset to your business for you to get skilled up!
2 Choose the right social platform
Spend a little time doing some research to find out where your time will be best spent on social media:
- Find out where your ideal audience are hanging out. That’s a great place to start. Not sure? Survey your audience.
- Look at the type of content that suits you best to post – is it mobile photography, beautiful website images or user generated content? The type of content you are comfortable posting may determine whether Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest is your best focus platform.
- You can have a presence on more than one platform, but start out by focusing on one main platform to get it established.
3 Use the right hashtags
Visually appealing food that is so good it is bad for you, is commonly referred to as #foodporn on social media (especially on Instagram). It’s also one of the most used (over-used) hashtags when it comes to food industry trends.
However, just because a hashtag has millions of shares, it doesn’t mean that it is the best hashtag for you to use. If you choose too many “popular” hashtags with millions of shares, your posts will be instantly lost in a sea of unrelated food posts.
Try using a mix of hashtags, using “popular” hashtags sparingly, and instead focusing on the niche or brand hashtags
- popular hashtags: #foodporn, #cleaneating, #foodie, #foodgasm, #nomnom (and any variations of the #nom)
- niche or industry hashtags – like #farmtotable or variations on a type of cuisine like #authenticmexicanfood. Here’s a great list of trending foodie hashtags that mostly fit the “niche” category.
- brand hashtags – unique to your brand or location, or unique to an event or hashtag campaign such as #restaurantaustralia or #MFWF (Melbourne Food and Wine Festival).
Use a mix of hashtags and be sure to include more hashtags that have 5,000 to 100,000-200,000 shares vs millions of shares. You’re more likely to have your content discovered if you are not lost in a sea of #foodporn hashtags.
4 Team Up to Tell Your Food Story
The term #farmtoplate has become more than just a hashtag. It’s a movement of people fascinated with the story of their food and how it reaches them. It’s about ethical food practices that occur along the way, leading to the final meal.
We are also fascinated with the story of food. The story behind the people that grow it, that make it, that create wonderful dishes with it. We love stories!
So how can you leverage this fascination? Well, you can start by looking sideways.
Look sideways to the people that can help you tell the #farmtoplate story. Or your business story. Or the menu story. Or the indigenous food story. Or the boutique brewery story. Or the history of your pub story.
Team up with suppliers, farmers, tour operators… even the chefs!
People are not just looking for delicious food – they want the authentic, farm-to-table “food story” or the historical story to go with it! If you can merge cultural experiences with your food, you’ll do well. Foodies love to travel – give them an experience, not just a meal.
5 Experiment with Video
Video – especially short, engaging video – is huge on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even LinkedIn.
Short, snappy “Taste” style food videos work really well on these platforms. Here are some tips for succeeding with short video when leveraging food industry trends:
- Steer clear of landscape video and go for square or vertical video instead. It’s optimised for the mobile experience and it gives you more real estate on the newsfeed.
- Use text overlays or captions as the majority of people watch video with their sound turned off.
- Create recipe videos. We love to eat but we also love to know how to do stuff. Even if we don’t actually make it (and most of us probably won’t).
And a few final tips:
To take great food photos, try the following:
- Shoot in natural light if possible. In low light situations, like in a restaurant, use a second light to provide enough light to take your picture. Or… refer to #1 in this post and have some professional photos taken if you have the budget for it.
- Experiment with different angles.
- Use different bowls and plates to enhance the shot and provide variety to the props you use.
- Vary portion sizes. There is something attractive about a mound of cupcakes or pancakes….there’s those pancakes again. We love pancakes. And stacks.
- Use your friends or family or team to model for you.
- Look for interesting surfaces to use as backdrops.
- Add color to your dishes, if you can, to make the colors pop.
- Don’t be afraid to make a mess as it adds texture and can hold interest.
Are you Hungry?
Sorry about that!
But tell us, which of the food industry trends do you love (or hate) the most?