The Lay of The Land For Food Ordering in Social Media.

The food space in the online world is saturated with would be competitors. Every month or so there is a young gun claiming to have created a better meal online ordering site (I was no exception!). However, as these start-ups learn, there are two food giants already occupying this wanted space. You may have heard of them: GrubHub and Seamless. Though their websites have tons of restaurants to order from, which makes them appealing, they do not just rely on that. Each has a strong social media presence which constantly engages and nourishes relationships with their users.

 Seamless:

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   Was the first company to take food ordering to the web. It was started in 1999 by two lawyers who were tired of working late and having to take time to order food. In 2011, they bought back their stake from Aramak and with new leadership; they took their game to another level. Currently Seamless has amassed over 2 million users with over 120,000 restaurants in 40 cities around the states, including London.  With so many users, Seamless chose Twitter and Facebook as their tools for engaging their users on social media.

There Facebook page boasts over 200,000 likes, with over 20,000 “talking about”. They do about 1-3 posts a day every week, including weekends! This is important to note because most companies take the weekend off. Each post has an image and a strong call to action, and they get a lot of engagement from their fans through likes and comments. They also run contests and promotions for their fans. Their Twitter page has over 36,000 followers. There they post regularly and use it more for customer service and for sharing articles that are related to the restaurant industry. Unlike their Facebook page, their engagement on Twitter is less than stellar; getting very few replies and even fewer re-tweets.

For some reason, Seamless has inexplicably not dedicated too much time to Pinterest. As I mentioned in my earlier blog, the power that Pinterest holds for companies dealing with food, this oversight doesn’t make sense. I will have to chalk it up to them being too busy!

GrunHub:

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 If Seamless is the corporate big brother, GrubHub is the cool and quirky little brother. Found in 2004, GrubHub has compiled an impressive 1 million dedicated users to their site. Being the chief competitor to Seamless, Grubhub continues to take a big bite (pun intended) out of their profits. Like, Seamless, GrubHub’s choice for their social media is Twitter and Facebook.

There Facebook page has over 160,000 likes to date with 12,000 “talking about”. They post at a consistent paste with about 1-2 posts per day. However, unlike Seamless whose image posts are mostly standard food images, GrubHub incorporates more meme’s and customized images that are constant with their fun persona. They have pictorial images and quizzes that they use to engage their fans. They also have a custom tab called “GrubHub’r of the week” in which they post pictures of users to build brand loyalty and awareness. Their Twitter page has over 39,000 followers and a slightly higher engagement rate than Seamless. Like their competitor, they use Twitter for customer service and conversational topics for discussion daily.

Again, for reasons beyond my comprehensions, GrubHub does not even have a Pinterest account. With their custom designed images and meme’s they could create a nice following on Pinterest that would drive traffic back to the site.

So as you see, the giant players in the food world have dedicated time and resources to remain active on social media platforms. Neither site is perfect, but with dedicated users each site has amassed a nice following. Maybe in the future there will be a site that challenges them, but it will have to do so through social media. Any thoughts?

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