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Initiate dinner plans with friends through Facebook, seek out Yelp reviews before choosing a restaurant, arrive at the location and check in on Foursquare, crowdsource menu recommendations through Twitter, photograph and post an image of your meal with Instagram – all before taking your first bite.

Welcome to dining in a social media society.

With 47% of 18- to 32-year-olds now tweeting or texting during meals, smartphones, apps, and social sharing are significant components of the dining experience.¹ Shared conversations over morning coffee are now accompanied by shared photos of the coffee itself. Users glorify even the most basic meals with praise and pictures, from granola bars to seasonal lattes.

This virtual meal-sharing phenomenon represents our evolving relationships with food and people. A beverage or meal serves to do more than satiate an individual’s thirst or hunger; it is responsible for communicating the consumer’s perceived lifestyle, perspective, and personality to an online community of followers.

Just as individual personalities are conveyed through pictures and phrases, so are brand personas. Through networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, brands can define their personalities, identify advocates, address customer concerns, and develop more meaningful relationships with their audiences.

When it comes to food and social media, the brand that chooses to ignore social media risks having its narrative hijacked, while the active participant has the opportunity to integrate with the existing food dialogue. By initiating and engaging in conversations, a brand can strengthen its identity and gain recognition among influencers.

Are you part of the conversation?

¹Adams, Diana. “Social Media and Food: A Match Made in Heaven.” Bit Rebels. Web. 13 November 2012.

Nicole Hill assists clients in growing their businesses and brands by identifying opportunities, then developing and implementing goal-driven strategies.