How Social Media Redefined What It Means to Be a ‘Foodie’

In the past, the title of “foodie” was bestowed only upon those who could name the best hole-in-the-wall eateries. Their refined palates were second to none, and restaurants craved their hard-won approval.

Lately, however, the “modern foodie” has risen up to rediscover the joy and creativity of gourmet home cooking. While they still possess important knowledge about restaurants, 75 percent of foodies reportedly cook at home multiple times a week. And they’re trading in their physical cookbooks for recipes of the digital variety. They not only use social sites to find cooking inspiration more than seven times a day, but they also share their culinary creations across their networks.

Foodies are strong influencers on social media, and food and beverage brands would be wise to engage with this key customer segment across the purchase funnel to turn them into their most powerful brand advocates.

The Rapid Rise of Video Recipes

There’s no doubt social video recipes have been key to the rise of the modern foodie. Many of BuzzFeed Food’s video recipes on Instagram and Facebook have gone viral — reportedly shared 66 million times and viewed 390 million times in June 2015 alone. And the infamous s’mores dip video reigns supreme as the most popular viral food video.

Since then, other publishers such as TastyMade have jumped on board, competing to showcase easy, fun, and unique recipes. Entire companies and social media campaigns have come from this trend, and health and nutrition businesses have also taken advantage of food videos’ popularity.

Other brands — even those that have nothing to do with food — have opted to sponsor publishers’ individual recipes. Hyundai, for instance, recently sponsored a Tasty recipe video for game-day appropriate hot dogs. Tasty has also featured food and beverage brands such as Perdue Farms, as well as famous chefs such as Wolfgang Puck.

These videos owe their success to a few different factors. First, they cater to people’s love for food. It’s one of the few things that most people have in common, and it’s lighthearted enough to appeal to a wide range of people. Food videos also have the power to grab and hold onto the audience’s attention. And because there’s an emotional connection between people and their favorite foods, these videos can create lasting impressions.

Turning Modern Foodies Into Loyal Customers

Creating opportunities for foodies to learn and try out new recipes, as well as share their own recipes, tips, and kitchen hacks is a great way to gain their trust and loyalty. Here are four ways to turn modern foodies into raving-fan customers:

  1. Forge an emotional connection.

Foodies may seek inspiration online, but when it comes to purchasing groceries, they want to exercise their senses. Brands need to provide experiences of taste, smell and feel that can help consumers form an emotional connection with the ingredients they need to create a tantalizing dish. Help foodies see and feel how your nutritious food makes their lives better.

  1. Share the product’s backstory.

Foodies want to know the story behind the foods and drinks they consume. While this might not be the right strategy for all brands, if your product is locally sourced, for example, foodies will want to learn more about it — and be a part of it. Use the packaging, the website, or social media to illustrate the unique origins of your product.

  1. Engage and communicate online.

As foodies seek inspiration online, brands need to become an integral part of searching, shopping, cooking, and finally, displaying the finished product. About one in five foodies both research and shop online, so engaging these people on social media can lead to sales. Also, the more mobile touchpoints a brand can provide, the better. Having accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest means reaching a wider audience.

  1. Don’t default to games and tests.

You’re not going to inspire foodies with games, discounts, and contests. Though these are common marketing strategies, foodies will respond better to more creative messages, rather than having a product forced on them. They’d prefer to own and drive the conversation.

For example, Kraft Food’s “Twist That Dish” content hub allows consumers to share recipes and tips to stretch their budget while also demonstrating where Kraft’s own products fit into their kitchen endeavors. This kind of online engagement works because it allows foodies to participate in the conversation.

The modern foodie is changing the food and beverage marketing game. As their influence grows, you need to work to convert them into lifelong customers. If you can prove to foodies that you’re a partner in their creative kitchen adventures, they’ll reward you in kind.

Sarah Clark is the president of Mitchell, an award-winning public relations firm that creates real conversations between people, businesses, and brands through strategic insights, customized conversations, and consumer engagement. Mitchell is part of , which is made up of nine global network brands and supported by its specialist/multimarket brands.

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