A study today found that food brands can build a following on Instagram, as long as they are creative. McDonald’s, for example, posts illustrations of its meals and enjoys the highest follower count among all its peers. The report also finds that #food is a popular hashtag among Instagram users, which creates opportunity for food brands to features user-generated snaps.

Why should brands that have a budget for professional photography use content from users? Conversion and trust. L2’s Insight Report on Instagram UGC finds that consumers trust content from other consumers far more than branded content, and even more than a professional industry review.

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As a result, placing user generated photos on the path to purchase can boost conversion by up to 9.6%.

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And food contributors need not be influencers. L2 research finds that photos from regular users have just as strong of an effect. In fact, the revenue generated from a user-generated post featured on the brand site had no correlation to the Instagrammer’s follower count.

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