Taking Pictures of Your Food – Not As Weird As It Seems

May 5, 2016

I have a ‘Millennial’ confession to make. I’m not on every single social media app. Despite the theory that Millennials are on every social media forum, there are so many out there that it’s hard for me to keep up. Facebook, Twitter, Strava and SnapChat seem to keep me busy enough…but there’s another one that has piqued my interest and may be useful for vending, micro market and OCS companies: Instagram. It’s a mobile photo sharing app that allows you to take and post photos (and videos), which can then be shared on other social media sites, too (think Facebook and Twitter).

I recently saw an Instagram post from a vending company I follow on Twitter (I know, confusing right?). The vending company had posted a photo of a delicious looking buffalo chicken sub that was going out to some micro market locations that day. And it got me thinking: why don’t more companies take pictures of their food?

If you’re anything like me, keeping up with social media can be a hard thing to navigate, yet it’s crucially important, as 65 percent of adults are on social media sites, according to 2015 research by the Pew Research Center. Those are your customers. Those are the employees who enter the breakroom and use your vending machines, grab a cup of your coffee and check out from your micro market. If taking photos of your food can draw the consumer to the breakroom, I think it’s worth trying out.

Where do I start?

First, you have to start with a customer base. Get your users to “like” or “follow” your company on the social media forum you think you would most often post to. It doesn’t have to be Instagram. Once you take photos of your product and post it to Instagram, the photo will automatically ‘share’ to Twitter, Facebook, or both. If you want your customers to follow you on Facebook, then you need to incentivize them to ‘like’ your company. Put signage in your breakroom, offer a reward (such as a ‘chance to win a prize’ or a $1 off your next purchase, etc.), promote your social media through email campaigns, etc.

The next step is to take the actual photos. If you have a new product or fresh food going out that same day, that is a great opportunity to snap a few pictures and place online. As the Pioneer Woman wrote in one of her blogs on food photography, “food is very unforgiving when it comes to being photographed.” But there is some relief. The internet is full of great resources for how to take a good picture of food. Just Google “food photography tips” and you’ll be well on your way. Some general tips: use natural light, turn off the flash and have a few people look at the photo before posting.

Next, it’s time to put the photo online with a comment letting people know that the product is available that day. Post on a regular basis (at least once weekly), photos of snacks headed out to a location, the route driver getting ready to leave, etc. bring front of mind for the consumer the snacking experience.

As with anything, check the data afterwards.  This will be a good indicator if your social media efforts are worth the trouble.

Taking photos of your food is a great way to put your name out there and hopefully draw more foot traffic to the breakroom. Now, I’m hungry for a buffalo chicken sub sandwich.


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