Case in point: Chili’s Grill & Bar.

Recognizing that photos of food, including its own, are widely shared on social media platforms like Instagram, the American restaurant chain decided to rethink how it serves up its meals. 

As detailed by AdAge:

Chili’s now places its french fries in stainless-steel containers, sits its burgers up higher on the plate and uses buns with more visual appeal.

The result: the items on its menu are more photogenic.

That’s particularly important to Chili’s, which has been adopting technology in its restaurants and courting ‘new school’ customers that are, among other things, more likely to share their dining experiences on social media.

On social media, appearances and experiences matter

While the presentation of food is something that many restaurants have paid attention to long before the advent of social media, the popularity of user-generated ‘food porn’ has made it all but impossible for restaurants to ignore how they serve up their meals.

The right presentation of a menu item can mean the difference between a delicious-looking Instagram photo that screams “Eat me” and a not-so-hot photo that screams “is that even edible?”

Restaurants, of course, aren’t the only businesses that stand to benefit from an awareness of how their products appear and how their services are delivered.

Great product packaging and unique touches added to the provisioning of a service can also invite social sharing and lend themselves to the creation of social content that positively promotes a brand’s most important attributes.

In some cases, companies may even find that customers embrace more than just their products and services. For example, home decor and furniture retailer Z Gallerie was able to develop a successful social campaign around its print catalog, which it discovered Instagrammers love to share photos of.

Obviously, when it comes to growing a business, companies can’t be all sizzle and no steak. Photos on Instagram, for instance, won’t sell burgers for very long if those burgers don’t taste good. But many companies underestimate the importance of sizzle in the age of social media.

An awareness of how their products and services appear on platforms like Instagram can help them find ways to add a little sizzle and encourage their customers to promote their wares.