Applebee’s Turns Its Instagram Over to Foodies for the Next Year

In a bold UGC-only experiment

In case you haven’t been seeing enough pictures of food in your Instagram feed, expect to see a lot more of them for the next 12 months thanks to Applebee’s. The restaurant chain is forking over its account to diners who share pictures on the social-mobile app. 

While more brands have been stocking up on user-generated and influencer content the past few years, Applebee’s latest campaign is an interesting example of a marketer going all in on the tactic to fuel its social strategy. The chain claims that there were more than 779,000 photos tagged with #Applebees on Instagram.

To participate, consumers must first opt in via a microsite that gives Applebee’s permission to post content to its account. Then, anything that those users post with the #Applebees or the campaign's #Fantographer hashtags is up for grabs for posting. Each posted photo is framed with a branded border.

"Our plan is to repost best images from our 'fantographers' for an entire year, encourage them through challenges to ignite competitive spirit, and give them social shout-outs to spread some love," said Shannon Scott, executive director of marketing communications at Applebee’s. "Of course, we will post our own content in the future, but the plan is that for at least the next year, we’re giving Instagram straight over to the neighborhood."

The Instagram content will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter, although Applebee’s will continue to churn out original content on those platforms.

Applebee’s is buying Twitter and Facebook ads to support the campaign, and is also enlisting its online social community—dubbed the Applebee’s Reply Squad—to spread the word.

Recommended articles