I’m baffled when restauranteurs and people in the food industry tell me they don’t see how their business could be affected by social media. It’s so plainly clear how social media and the food world tie together. The answer is summed up in a single word: culture.
Social media has become a vehicle for sharing culture. If you don’t believe me peruse your Facebook Newsfeed. You will find people sharing music, articles and art; you will see people explaining – in great detail – the rituals they perform (such as getting married or graduating). You will find people chronicling the milestones of their daily family lives. You’ll find people engaged in debates over politics and social mores.
More than anything, you will see people talking about what they ate, what they are cooking, and where they are eating. Art, rituals, social norms and food: these are the building blocks of culture.
Eating food is one of the most commonly shared and universally enjoyed experiences. Sitting down to a dinner with family and friends, going to your favorite restaurant to celebrate good news, sharing a new recipe with your coworkers, swapping snacks in the grade school lunch room: these are all important parts of our collective sense of culture. Food is important, not just because it is necessary, but because it’s personal to us. It is tied to so many memories and emotions.
The bottom line is this: if you are a restaurant or food mogul who wants to find success through social media, keep it simple. Remember how important food is to people and to our culture. Consider how lucky you are to be a part of an industry where people WANT to talk about you, because talking about food is already engrained in their cultural DNA. When you remember that, having conversations with people online will seem so simple, you will wonder why you didn’t start doing it years ago.