Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian

Consumers may be accustomed to a certain level of flash and dazzle from brands, but the real battleground is social media, specifically Instagram, the land of food photos. Here, brands are not judged by critics, but by millions of active users who determine what's popular. A recent study by Snipp Interactive, a promotions expert, delves into America's favorite food and snack brands on this platform.

The power of the post

In today's digital world, brands that ignore the social media buzz risk getting left behind. The best way for brands to be able to win over the millions of online judges is to foster a passionate community of people. Here's where Oreo, the undisputed king of Instagram, shines.

Hashtags, the secret weapon

Snipp Interactive, along with data from YouGov, set out on a mission to discover which brands truly rule American hearts. Their secret weapon was hashtags. By analyzing the sheer number of Oreo-related hashtags on Instagram, Snipp was able to gauge which brands had the most loyal and enthusiastic fan base.

Oreo reigns supreme

And the winner is Oreo. With a staggering 9.7 million hashtags associated with the brand, it absolutely crushed the competition. Kit Kat, the runner-up, trailed far behind with just 3.7 million, followed by Snickers at 1.7 million.

Beyond marketing magic

Oreo's dominance isn't just about clever marketing ploys. YouGov data shows that a whopping 98 percent of Americans recognize the iconic cookie. That leaves a mere 2 percent who haven't encountered this childhood favorite. Brand recognition is great, but the real kicker is the fact that a phenomenal 76 percent of Americans have a positive opinion of Oreo. This widespread love translates beautifully to social media, where fans actively create and share content that celebrates their Oreo obsession.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Oreo's success is attributed to user-generated content, as showcased by Snipp Interactive. Instagram users frequently encounter creative posts featuring Oreo milkshakes, cheesecakes, and artistic sculptures. Fans enthusiastically share their Oreo creations with relevant hashtags, fostering a sense of community and excitement. This organic content creation helps solidify Oreo's place in consumer's hearts and minds.

Hashtags as a tool for discovery

Hashtags are a powerful tool for building brand loyalty and engagement. Many U.S. snack brands benefit from millions of consumer-generated hashtags on Instagram. These hashtags help brands connect with their target audience effectively. Despite some brands dismissing hashtags as a passing trend, they are key for getting brands seen by their consumers in the age of social media.

Social media engagement matters

This study serves as a wake-up call for brands that haven't embraced social media engagement. Look at Oreo, Kit Kat, Snickers, Ben & Jerry's, and Hershey's—these top contenders on the Instagrammable food scene are all leveraging hashtags strategically to connect with their audience and build a loyal following. The takeaway here is that social media is a powerful tool for brands to connect with consumers in an authentic way.

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Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading Public Relations agency.