It looked good on Instagram…

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When making a decision about where to eat with my friends, it typically goes like this:

Me: “Where do you want to eat?” 

Friend: “I don’t know. Where do you want to go?” 

Me: “I don’t care. I’ll do whatever”

Friend: “What about Chipotle?”

Me: “I had that last nigh.”

Friend: “What are you in the mood for?”

Me: “Hmm, not sure…you?”

And so on…

In the time it takes us to figure out what we want, we could have already eaten. This is where the power of Instagram comes in. With endless foodie accounts, Instagram fuels cravings and provides options.

I lived in Raleigh this past summer and happen to follow @RaleighFoodPics, an account that focuses on the many restaurant, food trucks and eateries around the area. My roommates happen to follow the account too; so, when we saw the picture of the best looking fried rice and chicken hibachi, we had to try it.

An Instagram account convinced us to drive 35 minutes to a fast food hibachi place. Not only that, but we saw at least seven people we knew while we were there. They saw the Instagram post too and were there to try it out.

While Yelp and Urbanspoon are great tools for finding restaurants tailored to your preferences, sometimes, seeing is believing. Instagram accounts like @NewForkCity or @FoodInTheAir have the power to validate claims often seen on more traditional sites. It also adds a sense of discovery, making you feel like you have uncovered some unknown, delicious place.

It’s arguable that Instagram can be as effective at making people do something as word of mouth. If I had a restaurant, or store for that matter, I would stop throwing away advertising dollars and start Instagraming. A really clever caption with a really cool photo will draw more eyes than any pop-up or magazine ad.

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