Sometimes, it can seem like the internet was made specifically for food content.

Aspirational, yet obtainable, recipe-focused content showcases beautiful, delicious food and it’s ingredients. Not sure what to cook tonight? Have an ingredient but not sure how to prepare it? There are literally millions of recipes online that can help.

recipe sites' visual social strategies

With the rise of social media and video content, we expect more from our food instruction. Recipes used to get passed down through generations in detailed books. Now we seek out high-quality production videos instead. Instead of plastic-covered recipe cards, we now ask “where do I put my phone so I don’t spill on it?”

Here are three recipe brands’ social strategies — focused on visual, shareable content that is easily consumable (pun intended.)

Buzzfeed’s Tasty

Brand Strategy + What Works

If you’ve been on social media in the last 4 years, you’ve undoubtedly seen a Tasty video. Tasty largely pioneered the recipe video as we know it today. These videos have no introduction, no listing of ingredients or amounts — just straight into the preparation, with a link to the full recipe in the description. The entire cooking or baking process is shot from overhead, with phantom hands combining ingredients. Although this is now the norm, it was extremely innovative when it was first released, as no one was shooting this kind of content. These recipe videos were optimized for social sharing: shot vertically and no sound. These are shared hundreds of millions of times on Facebook and get high engagement on Instagram. Since their inception, Tasty has now expanded to cookbooks, an active Facebook Group, written food content like quizzes, and original long-form shows, often featuring BuzzFeed’s on-screen talent.

Duplicate Their Success

The incredible thing about social media is the real-time feedback. You’ll know immediately if something you post connects with users. Tasty knows their audience, and they know what they want. They have a surprisingly-bare Pinterest page, but instead have fully committed to the video production that made them famous. Take note with your own brand — give the people want they want, and focus on the platforms and formats that work for you.

Spoon University

Brand Strategy + What Works

Spoon University’s target audience is college students and recent grads. Their recipes tend to be colorful and easy-to-make, with ingredients the average 18-year-old has heard of. Their recipes often even don’t require a stove or oven. Along with an active Pinterest presence (almost 5 million monthly viewers) and a popular Instagram, Spoon University creates non-food content geared at their grad-aged audience: a recent blog post discussed self-care in college.   Much like Tasty, Spoon uses the shot-from-above, phantom hands video format to make original recipes. One favorite Spoon post — a recipe video “fail.” It showcased the brand’s authenticity and personality and gave users an inside look at the production.

How to Duplicate Their Success

Spoon University is an online master class of niche marketing. They’ve created content that directly appeals to their audience, and your brand can replicate their strategy. Too many brands make content they THINK their audience wants to see, instead of listening closely and providing value. Spoon focuses on recipes that are college-student-friendly (they’re not cooking a pork roast that requires 4 hours in the oven) and produces content beyond recipes to appeal to a college student’s concerns. They have professional contributors, but also real college students writing blog posts to showcase their knowledge.

Empty Fridge

Brand Strategy + What Works

Empty Fridge is the only site we highlight here, that does not produce original content. Instead, it sources videos from various accounts and tags them to give credit. Although they post the occasional dessert video, Empty Fridge’s focus is on providing hearty dinner recipes that are quick, easy, and have ingredients you know — think unique takes on chicken, pasta, or pizza. They also have no website and no social media accounts, other than Instagram, and encourage you to tag others in almost every post.

Takeaways

Others are creating great content. As long as you credit them properly, you can use their content to your advantage. If your time and resources are tight, there is no need to spend thousands on creating videos or staged images. Simply curate content from other producers, and make sure it makes sense for your brand and aesthetic.

Having mouth-watering visual social content isn’t easy, but it can pay off in a big way for your brand.