How Food Brands Can Nail Instagram

It's all about showing some personality

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

With 300 million monthly users and a burgeoning community of foodie photogs, Instagram has become hashtag heaven for fast-food restaurants and snack brands.

A review of more than 8 million food posts over the past 18 months by Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners' social media shop Attention showed there's a real art to drawing a crowd. Taking basic beauty shots of meals just won't cut it for consumers. It's all about showing some personality.




"The bar is higher on Instagram—a lot of these quick-service restaurants want to lean into the behavior of the community on Instagram versus creating product-first content," explained Tom Buontempo, Attention's president.

Eight out of the top 10 brands with the most followers are fast-food restaurants that add a creative twist to their posts. McDonald's, for example, turns burgers and fries into mini works of art with hand-drawn sketches and vivid colors, while Dunkin' Donuts posts artistic slice-of-life pics (a girl on a swing, a kissing couple—all with coffee cups in hand).

Up until last week, Instagram had been largely ad free. But with plans to open its feed to all advertisers later this year, that creative bar will be raised even higher.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.