The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards


Entered in Instagram


At Plated, we believe that eating well should come easy. That's exactly why every week we deliver fresh ingredients and chef-designed recipes right to your door. Our strategy on Instagram is to create a curated feed full of current menu offerings, inspiring customer photos, helpful cooking tips and behind-the-scenes peeks at our culture. We engage our customers every day by encouraging them to post photos of their Plated experience and tag them with #platedpics. There are now over 26k amazing #platedpics on Instagram alone and we've made it an integral part of our strategy to respond to every single one of them. Our customers love engaging with us on Instagram and it's been amazing to watch our follower count increase by 1000% since the beginning of 2014.

Strategy and Execution

As a young startup, we have built a lot of our business through social media and word-of-mouth marketing; and over the past two years, our Instagram community has consistently been our most active and loyal. They've helped us make it to 2nd place in Mashable's "America's Most Social Small Business" competition and they've also "liked" a breakfast pizza recipe right onto our menu. As much as they look to us for cooking inspiration and kitchen how-tos, we look right back to them for recipe feedback and inspiration.

Our Instagram feed is carefully curated with shareable content specific to our audience. This has involved a lot of testing (and, sometimes, failing) but we've found ways to make shareable content on a not-so-shareable platform. For example, a recent video on how to make whipped cream in a mason jar outperformed any video that we've ever put up. The combination of relevant content mixed with a tag-a-friend CTA allowed this video to skyrocket to over 1,000 engagements with almost 300 comments, each comment tagging at least a few friends. Listening to our community has allowed us to create smart content that speaks directly to our brand.

We've been able to build a strong Instagram community of home chefs in an age of takeout and dining out. Our 26k #platedpics are proof that cooking dinner and eating well can be easy. Through customer photos we've been able to see our product used in ways we could have never imagined. For example, we've seen two friends who live on different coasts reconnect by cooking the exact same Plated meal, or we've seen parents bond with their busy teenager by taking the time to cook Plated together. These different use cases that have been illuminated through Instagram are direct inspiration for our product. An example of this is the release of our dessert menu. Every day we would see at least one person on Instagram post something like, "Great dinner - wish I had dessert" along with their photo. We used this feedback from social customers to inspire our addition of desserts. When we announced the release on Instagram we spoke right back to those who had asked by saying "Finally!" with a fun teaser image. Instagram has given us insight into our product that no other social platform has allowed us.

We deserve to win in this category because we've built more than just a following and done more than just increase a vanity number -- we've built an active and engaged Instagram community of home chefs.


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