Engaging and Influencing an Online Food Community
Last week, I had the best BBQ Ribs that I’ve ever eaten. The first thing I did when it was brought to my table was… take a picture of my lunch with my phone and upload it to my website. Turns out, I’m not the only one who does this. More and more people are uploading pictures of their food onto blogs, Facebook, and more. This ranges from home chefs snapping pics of their favorite creations to diners showing the world their latest culinary adventures. In fact, there are even websites dedicated to describing the best ways to take pictures of food and serious online arguments about the etiquette surrounding photographing your restaurant meals.
The trend has even lead some chefs to ban the practice of photographing food, citing flash photography as a distraction to diners and fearing that restaurant secrets will be shared with the wrong people. What is fueling the food photo trend? The answer lies in the changing ideas that people have about social media, food, and the growing ease of sharing the details of daily life.
A growing number of people in all age groups are aware of just how simple it is to snap a picture or video of nearly anything and display it to an audience within seconds. While sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are the most likely candidates, there is a growing segment of the web devoted to food. Specialty sites like FoodFeed (www.foodfeed.us) are dedicated to the audience of foodies who love to talk about anything edible. Its a real online Food Community. Unlike main stream social networking sites (devoted to chatting, games or music), food community websites have a following that includes people from every age, gender, and social class. This makes food community websites an ideal place for people to indulge in their love of food in a way that is more accessible than ever before. More importantly its a place where food brands and supermarkets can establish a presence.
The explosion in the food culture has almost certainly contributed to the large number of people who are showing off their meals. It seems like everyone is a critic- shows like “Top Chef”, “Iron Chef”, and “Chopped” have turned every diner into an expert. To help showcase both their knowledge and love of food, many are turning to social media sites to share their passion by offering up photos and reviews of their meals. And audiences are listening- many of these sites have readers who make up their mind about a restaurant long before they ever set foot in the door based on the reviews of friends or even anonymous writers on favorite food sites. Among true culinary devotees, the musings of fellow foodies can be reason enough to visit a particular restaurant.
Some might call it Social come Food, but in many ways it’s a real online Food Community
At its core, dining is a social experience, and the growth in social media and ease of technology access has created the opportunity to make eating even more social than ever. So what does this mean for advertisers and media buyers? Well it’s really a new category. Some might call it Social come Food, but in many ways it’s a real online Food Community. Sure the content is user generated, but the community surrounding the food content is moderated by the community itself. bad food just doesnt cut it for the Food Community.
There is the opportunity for advertisers to really to delve deeper into the community. What I do know is we’ve really only seen the beginning of food community trend. With it being easier to post a photo or comment about a dish, more foodies will establish a presence opposed to investing their time setting up a food blog. How is your Brand Engaging with an Online Food Community ?