Category Archives: Social Media for Food

Food Blogging 101

Food by nature is judged by how visually appealing it as and how pleasing it is to the palate. Of course every dish is best viewed in person, unfortunately that is not always possible. Enter food blogs. I would find it hard-pressed, with all the specialized food blogs out there, that one would not find a blog that is appetizing. The blogs range from healthy cooking, international dishes, to the most innovative dishes you can imagine. However, this blog is about the best practices of blogging and how the most superlative blogs use them.

Be Visual:

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   Before I go into detail, I want to first define what a blog is. In the book, Groundswell, the authors state that “a blog is a personal journal or entries containing written thoughts, links, and often pictures” (Li & Bernoff , 2011, p. 19). For food blogs the emphasis should be on pictures! As I stated earlier, food can be a spectacle for the eyes. So why wouldn’t a food blog have high quality and visually attractive images of the food? The Seven Spoons blog does just that. With a simple, yet elegant layout, blogger Tara O’Brady depicts the dishes she creates with beautifully captured shots. This adds more enjoyment for the viewer while reading her food stories. However, she doesn’t stop there. She tweets her blog from her twitter account @Taraobrady. By having a personal twitter account, instead of a Seven Spoons account, she creates an intimate feeling as people are talking to a real person, instead of a website. To top it off, she posts high value images of dishes frequently that are not on her blog.

Remember, the images you use MUST be of high quality! Otherwise don’t waste your time.

Be Fun:

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   Yes, food can be told in an entertaining way. One example of that can be seen on the Appetude food blog, DishDigest. Full disclosure, this is a totally selfish promotion of the food blog of which I was the managing editor of! Mind you, there were many things we did wrong, including the one rule I extol for food blogging: quality pictures. Unfortunately, circumstances did not allow us to always have those kinds of pictures…

Anyway, the one thing that was a source of pride for the blog was the writing. Our site only had restaurants in the downtown area of NY and considering that we were a dish ordering website, we only did review of dishes from our restaurants. We made it a point to make sure that in our review– not only did we describe the dish– but we interwove it within a story. What does that mean? Describing food can be fun, but too much food terminology can leave you bored. So each blogger created a back story as to why they were going to the restaurant and then incorporated the dish within the story. It was short, light, informational and most importantly entertaining.

 

Be Different:

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   This is for those wishing to take a bite out of the niche markets. With so many food blogs out there, it becomes hard to stand out. One solution is to create a food blog that tackles unique dishes. The blog Spoonforkbacon does just that. Creating inventive dishes that could boggle the mind! Chocolate Chip Bacon and Orange Kissed Pancakes anyone? By inventing these unique dishes, Spoonforkbacon becomes a great go to source for foodies wanting to try uncommon dishes. This makes the blog stick out from all the thousands of food blogs that exist on the web.

These are three best practice ideas that food bloggers should keep in mind. Of course there other ways to make an outstanding blog, but following these three rules should help you catch the eye of food readers.

If you have any thoughts or other ideas, please feel free to post.

Reference:

Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Forrester Research, Inc.

The Risks of Being “Social”

We can all agree that social media can add immense value to a company’s brand. A great social media presence helps people discover your product or service, and if done right, can even be a great source for generating sales leads. However, what happens when good intentions go wrong? There is an inherent risk that individuals take when they post online—comments can come back to haunt them personally. The same goes for big businesses. Below are examples of the risks associated with being “social” in today’s world.

 Burger King:

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   Sometimes is not even the brands fault, per se. No company has been in the news for all the wrong reasons because of their Twitter account than Burger King has. On February 18th hackers were able to gain control of Burger Kings Twitter account. They changed the logo to Burger Kings main rival, McDonalds, as well as posted inappropriate and offensive tweets for approximately two hours.

Image   Before you begin to feel sorry for BK (if you even do), consider that it may not have been the worst thing that could have happened. Maybe, if I dare say– a good thing. Taking a look at it by the numbers, Burger King after being hacked gained 30 thousand new followers on the first day, as well as over 450 thousand tweets about them all over the world! Before the hack, BK had roughly 80 thousand followers. Today is has a little over 111 thousand. Now, if you subscribe to the old adage that all publicity is good publicity, then you can warrant an argument that BK being hacked was great for their brand recognition and most importantly for them—their bottom line. The challenge now for Burger King will be to leverage this new found popularity on social media to a more permanent state.

McDonald’s:

Image   Now let’s take an example of a company who is actually at fault for their own social media disaster. In January 2012, McDonald’s embarked on an ambitious, yet foolish promoted trend campaign known as #McDStories. What was supposed to be an attempt for followers to share their happy stories about the brand to build rapport became a total Twitter nightmare. In fact, less than 2 hours after implementing it, McDonalds took down the hash tag. Why? Because heartwarming stories were not what was tweeted! McDonalds created a space where people could share their most disparaging stories about the McDonalds brand– and they did. To make things even worse, McDonald’s Twitter team didn’t tackle the problem head on. They simply tried to delete it and hope that it would go away. But like everything else on the web, once it’s there, it stays there.

As we can see, being social on the web carries risks and challenges that any business wanting to participate in social media has to deal with it. These are just a couple of the countless examples of companies dealing with mistakes and obstacles caused through social media. At the end of the day, anything you post on a social network, regardless of how insignificant you think it is, can rear its ugly head back at you. If it happens to Billion dollar companies, it can happen to anyone.

If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share!

One Food App to Rule Them All

As any consummate foodie knows, love of food is not only exclusive to a desktop. When you want to share what you ate or want to browse the next dish that is going to be devoured, all you have to do is take out your smart phone. With the plethora of options available in app stores, it is easy to be overwhelmed. However, this article will hopefully ease your worries by giving you the only app you will ever need to use to get your hands on another great dish.

Food Spotting:

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   Created in 2009, Foodspotting is a geo-locating app that shows images of dishes from restaurants in your area. With over three million downloads and over two million photos, Foodspotting is a favorite of food capturing enthusiasts. The app, whose design is sleek and clean, allows users to either discover dishes in their area or search images of dishes of a specific restaurant. This is useful for the eater that loves to see how the dish looks like. Also, if you’re one that cares what your friends eat, Foodspotting allows you log in with Facebook, so you can see what your friends have recommended.

The app is also great for driving business to restaurants. It is advertisement for a restaurants best dishes. Food is naturally judged by how appealing it is to the eye as well as our taste buds. Foodspotting having reviews of the dishes as well as images allows users to know which restaurant would be best to eat at. And if you ever browsed through the images, you know that there is something for everyone!

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   If that wasn’t enough to have you racing to the app store, I have even better news. As of January 2013, Foodspotting was purchased by Open Table – the online reservation behemoth. Purchased for 10 million, the two companies plan to integrate with each other. So what does that mean for you? Well, as stated in Gourmet Marketing’s website, “the most basic is that customers are able to place reservations through Foodspotting”. However, when making the reservation, you will be sent to Open Table. The two do hope to make it so that you can seamlessly make the reservation on the Foodspotting app. This is great news for Open Table because their user interface is extremely lacking design.

For those of you who are too lazy (you know who you are) to go the restaurants, Foodspotting has solved that issue as well. As of 2012, Foodspotting has partnered with Grubhub for ordering dishes. To be fair though, the options are limited to only restaurants that already use Grubhub.

On a final note, I should mention that Foodspotting is mostly concentrated in major cities, but with the help of their billion dollar partner (Open Table) Foodspotting should be making a presence in more cities soon.

So there you have it, this is in my opinion the only app you will need if you’re a foodie. The combination of aesthetics and usability in this app is matched by none. If you disagree or want to praise another food app, please feel free to comment below!

Social Media Basics for Food Lovers

Now, if you enjoy food as much as I do, then you may have on occasion stumbled upon a food blog or two. Don’t be a shamed. It’s only natural to want to see pictures of amazing dishes. People have been documenting food since the 1600’s! Maybe you even thought of creating a blog yourself and showing the world just how wonderful a chef you are. Maybe, like me, you just like to eat food and want to shout to the world just how great that cheeseburger you ate is. Regardless, in this article you will be armed with all the tools and platforms you need  to start in order to brag to fellow foodies just how much you love to eat.

During my time as a content manager for a food website, I’ve had the pleasure of eating and documenting many delicious dishes throughout New York City. Below is the list of my favorite social media websites that I used.

1)      Pinterest

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    This site is perfect for food images. In fact, the food category in Pinterest is by far the most looked at. Don’t believe me? Here are the stats: 57 percent of user’s interacted with food related content, by far the most of any category.  What’s great about Pinterest is that it is absolutely free. All you have to do is create an account and post away.  When you start the account you have the option of creating as many boards as you like. I would recommend that you do at least 8 boards. I personally have 12 different boards ranging from pizza to pasta. I highly recommend that you only post quality images. So forget about the camera phone pictures. Pinterest is a network for sharing. People only want to see the best, so don’t short change yourself by posting less than stellar photos. Why? Because in Pinterest “repins” are the name of the game. Users have the option to repin posts of others pictures on the site on to their boards. This is what makes the sites so viral. You should also repin images from other websites with their “pin it” button and populate your boards. The more images you have on your boards—the better.

This is also great for inspiring food bloggers. Because when you post an amazing picture, the chances are high that your photo will be repined. And if you link the photo back to your food blog, when someone clicks on the photo they will be directed there. Again, the stats don’t lie. The site drives more referrals to sites than Google +, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Pinterest is a great way to get free and effective traffic back to any website.

Which bring me to my second favorite site for would be food bloggers.

2) WordPress:

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You’ve taken the time to make sure the dish you just made or ordered (no one’s judging) looks fantastic. Now it’s time to show off your food vocabulary. Well, all you have to do is go to WordPress.com and create a free login. There you can customize (this may cost, depending on how far you go) your blog and post all the wonderful experiences you’ve had eating that delicious dish. If you linked back your images on Pinterest back to your blog, there’s a good chance that people will be able to see just how wonderful your writing is!

Of course there are more advanced techniques and sites that you can use once you get a strong hold on food blogging. But these two sites will help you get the ball rolling. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions?

-Daniel Pleacoff