Food is popular on Facebook. In addition to posting photos of their lunch, 58% of surveyed users follow Food brands, making Food the second most popular sector after Restaurants. However, recent limitations on “overly promotional” posts diminished brand pages’ organic reach. Post interactions generated by 800 brands have fallen by 21% since Q2 2014, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food.
In response, brands are moving to Instagram. Reflecting the social platform’s growing popularity, 61% of Food brands have established an Instagram presence. Post interactions generated by CPG brands surged 191% in 2014, while Facebook post interactions fell 17%.
Not only is Instagram outpacing other social media platforms in terms of growth, it also boasts a follower engagement rate of 4% — 57 times that of Facebook and 133 times that of Twitter. Instagram users demonstrate a huge appetite for branded content, particularly when it comes to food. The L2 study found that the average Food brand term (e.g. #nutella) is tagged more than 230,000 times on average.
However, like other sectors, most Food brands haven’t managed to build a following based on this consumer enthusiasm. For example, about 6.2 million user posts feature the #nutella tag, while the official brand account has only 80,000 followers.
Pinterest is another potentially lucrative platform for Food brands, although most have yet to take advantage of its potential. Nearly half of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on Pinterest pins. The platform, which accounts for 25% of retail referral traffic, drives four times more money per click than Twitter and is aesthetically ideal for Food brands to share photos and recipes.
However, while 61% of brands have Pinterest accounts, the majority are less engaging than they could be. The L2 study found that only 7% pinned recipes as images and just 5% featured recipes in image descriptions. A mere four brands (Chicken of the Sea, Jif, Ready Pac, and Smucker’s) linked a post directly to a product page with direct e-commerce, to an e-tailer, or to a product locator.
The popularity of food-related content across social platforms provides Food brands a unique opportunity. By taking advantage of existing user enthusiasm for branded content and linking popular content to e-commerce, Food brands have the opportunity to dramatically increase their following.