#FoodPorn as a Content Strategy

Derogatory title, eh? Clickbait happens, ha!

The term “food porn” has become common phrase in today’s tech-savvy, digital-forward world. Oftentimes thrown in the paragraph of hashtags hidden under multiple line returns (i.e. the shameful first comment), this viral food trend has garnered over 207 million tags on Instagram.

As a follower of #FoodPorn myself, I was familiar with the consumer behavior when interacting with this content theme. To further explain, I often find myself clicking-through to the brand page where the food came from and even marking “save” on the most drool-worthy images so I can remember to visit the brand when I have the munchies. So, my familiarity led me to wonder… could #FoodPorn perform as a content strategy?


Screenshot of @bestfriendvegas Instagram feed

I acquired the Best Friend by Roy Choi (@bestfriendvegas) brand in November 2018 – one month before grand opening. At this time, the Instagram page had 16,431 pre-existing followers from a former LA-based Chef Choi brand and no public-facing content. I immediately resonated with the welcoming, cultural, informal and dope brand Chef Choi had set forth, and in my mind, the social pages just had to speak to just that. Alas, the crowd-sourced #FoodPorn content strategy begins!

In a few words, Best Friend’s content strategy is a collective of owned and user-generated #FoodPorn content curated for awareness and acquisition and published on a 3-4x/weekly cadence during peak engagement times.

In longer and less formal terms, I basically scour the hell out of Instagram geotags, hashtags and image tags to gather the very best #FoodPorn UGC existing on the Insta-webs. When I say scour, I mean I scrape that bad boy ’til every image has been viewed and liked. Fully utilizing the 20 image tags, geolocation feature, brand hashtags and 📷 credit to @handle, this UGC (and in-house content) is published with quirky, yet fitting copy.

Now let’s dig deeper, and by deeper, I mean let’s change our chatter to what I’ve noticed over the 10 months since brand launch. The qualitative evidence, should you. The first three months (December through March) were all about acquisition. Allowing the former audience to understand whilst still a Roy Choi brand, we were a Las Vegas-based brand and growing our new in-market audience. Inbound user geotags, hashtags and image tags were infrequent compared to what they are now, but the brand continued to post the best UGC and owned content. Essentially, the first three months were spent “training” our users to post the type of content we could repost and in turn, users became aware of what content the brand was looking for. After the first three months the shift in labor required to find content began. Users began frequently tagging the brand, using brand hashtags and even sending their content as a request to be featured. Today, the collection of ready-to-post #FoodPorn content would last the brand over 6 months (and is growing every day)!

Onto my favorite part – the data – the quantitative s*** that really matters! Since launching the #FoodPorn content strategy, the brand channel has experienced 906+ average month over month (MoM) follower growth, 1,300+ image tags, 3,000+ geotags and currently holds a 1.3% engagement rate. The growth the account has encountered is undoubtedly incredible, but if you’re like me you’re probably wondering what’s going on with the engagement rate. It stumped me for quite awhile, and of course, there is no definitive answer, but given the 16,431 pre-existing followers from the former handle and the awareness that the account had been sitting null for several months, it screams ghost and inactive followers. At least to me – ha!


Follower graph of @bestfriendvegas via HypeAuditor

So, that’s where I’m still learning… How can I continue to grow the already engaged recent audience acquisition (roughly 9,000 followers), while also engaging the former audience? Is the former audience even still present on Instagram? Should I care about the former audience’s low engagement with my content? Let’s ponder this together. Feel welcome to leave your opinions or insights on engagement rate and more specifically, engaging a long-term audience below.




Featured header image shot by Audrey E. Ma, Los Angeles

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