I can’t tell you how many times I sit in my room doing homework, thinking about how much I should be working out… only to end up scrolling through social media, drooling over pictures of pancakes from that cute diner down the street that my friends posted about AGAIN.
So, what do I do next? I drive myself to the diner and snap some shots of their Instagram-worthy late night breakfast food to show everyone that I’m trendy too. I got a delicious meal and lots of likes, and that restaurant didn’t have to pay a penny for marketing.
Food is no longer just for eating, but for sharing, tweeting, and liking; restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and others rely on large social followings, successful posts and online reviews more than ever. Social media is not only changing the way we show others what tasty snacks we come across, but is changing the food industry as a whole. Here’s three ways it’s doing so:
1. Reviews are more Prominent and Plentiful
Think about the last time you went out to eat. How did you decide on a restaurant or choose what food to try? If you’re like me (indecisive beyond compare), you may often turn to friends or past customers on social media to help. If my close relative raves about the new burger joint downtown on Twitter and gives them five stars on Facebook, I might go there for dinner.
According to a study done about social influences and collective dynamics, it’s not surprising that as of 2017, the second most popular way people find restaurants to try is through other’s opinions on social media.
2. Trends can Decide the Menu
Three words: Rolled Ice Cream. Before the summer of 2016, I had never heard of it. A year later it made USA Today’s Trendiest Ice Cream list. It blew up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and this yummy Thai dessert became one of the hottest new must-haves. Ice cream shops I had gone to before now sell it and new shops are popping up from east to west coast.
The sharing power of social media made this frozen treat go viral, as it has with so many other foods, and eateries have caught on. They don’t want to miss out on a thriving market, so they join the conversation and ride the trend.
3. Connection with Customers
You go to a nice restaurant and order their specialty chocolate lava dessert (YUM). You love it so much that you post a picture of it on Facebook and tag the restaurant, thanking them for the great food.
Not only can you connect with the restaurant by tagging them, but they allow themselves to connect with customers on a more individual, personal level.
Think it doesn’t make a difference? Check out this study done by Twitter, showing how customers are 44% more likely to share their experiences, online as well as offline, after receiving a personal response from a business on social media.