We’ve already talked about How to start your own online grocery store with Blink as well as restaurant business plan trips to start your restaurant business. Today, we will talk about how to work with food influencers and top accounts to follow.
Marketing strategies have always been essential for restaurant owners to master, and they have always believed ‘word of mouth’ to be a fantastic way to market their business. Today they have learned that not all mouths matter, and that’s where influencers step in. Influencer marketing is rapidly taking over the marketing niche, and being a restaurant influencer is a rising trend.
The restaurant influencers industry snowballed in 2020, and in the post-pandemic world, it’s still one of the fastest-growing industries. There have been many kinds of research done on this topic, and most of them have a consensus that more than 60% of consumers are more likely to purchase something or eat somewhere based on a social media referral.
People are more likely to believe in referrals from people rather than brands. Having local food influencers market your restaurant is a great strategy to gain new customers.
Looking up a restaurant includes its menu and social platforms to check out its posts and food. People want to know what the food looks like, the ambiance of a restaurant, and what their trusty influencers have to say about the restaurant they want to try.
This entry highlights how you can work with food influencers and the top accounts to follow:
1. How to Build Your Restaurant’s Instagram
Before you even think about hiring food influencers to promote your restaurant, the first step to take is to make sure your Instagram account is in fantastic shape. Here is a list of things you need to ensure before reaching out to influencers.
Create an Instagram Account
The restaurant industry is always playing catch up with new technology. So if your restaurant doesn’t have an Instagram account, it’s time you have one. Create a business account and make your logo your profile pictures to make it easier for your customers to find you.
Make sure whatever your profile picture is, it should embody your restaurant and represent your brand. Add a bio to your account, highlighting your brand.
Add your restaurant’s location and links to your website and other social platforms. This will make it easier for your followers to learn more about your restaurant.
An excellent way to keep your followers interested in your brand is by posting regularly. As soon as your account is set up, start posting. Post a couple of times a day, and make sure to post interesting content to keep your followers hooked.
The most important thing to remember for a restaurant Instagram account is to post beautiful pictures of food. Having a beautiful-looking account will help you gain followers on the hunt for lovely food that they can devour virtually and in reality.
Engage with Your Audience
As soon as your followers start to increase, make sure your content is attractive for all customer demographics. Post food items and post about promos that you’re doing; potential customers are always on the hunt for a good deal.
Posting this sort of content keeps your followers involved, makes sure they engage on your posts, and promotes your restaurant.
Nurture Industry Relationships
Another thing you need to make sure of before hiring outside help to promote your restaurant is to build good relationships within the industry. Even if you are no longer in partnership with a particular business, make sure you are on good terms with them.
Word of mouth and positive reviews count for a lot in the food industry. Having good reviews leads to more followers potential customers and establishes your restaurant in your area.
2. Who are Food Influencers?
Influencers have taken over the world in the last 2-3 years with a storm. They are social media savants with more than 10,000 followers on their Instagram.
Influencers are practically small-time celebrities who have gained popularity by posting amazing pictures, engaging with their followers, and claiming to be authentic. Influencers vow only to post products they believe in, due to which people tend to trust their recommendations.
The business world has realized the power influencers hold with the people, and businesses have started using them to promote their brands. Food influencers can change the very name of your marketing game by bringing in 100s or even thousands of customers to you.
Please continue reading to find out how you can work with food influencers to promote your restaurant to make it the next big thing.
3. How to work with food influencers
Having built an overview of what food influencers and bloggers are all about, the next step is to decide how best to leverage influencer marketing for restaurants and significantly boost your social media engagement metrics.
The following section looks at some critical enablers of influencer marketing and various ways of integrating these into your marketing strategy.
Get restaurant reviews
All business and restaurant owners need to realize the importance of building vital customer feedback and reviews.
Since more than 90% of customers now give considerable weight to online reviews before visiting a new restaurant, ignoring this key metric can cost restaurants heavily. This is driven by the ability of transparent customer reviews to build a strong level of trust and influence buying decisions of new customers.
Confirmation from a fellow customer can make a more significant difference than thousands and millions spent on direct marketing.
To start building restaurant reviews, you can offer food bloggers or influencers gift cards or discounted meals in exchange for their reviews and feedback. To ensure detailed reviews that can help you build a positive reputation, look for enthusiastic influencers about your food and cuisine type.
Influencers are also keen to maintain authentic accounts and honesty with their reviews to ensure accurate feedback for products, meals, and experiences. As such, it is critical to serve them your best food, provide an extraordinary experience, and address any concerns immediately if needed.
Host special events and promotions
Having determined which influencers to target, you can start sending invites to visit your restaurant. These could cover special events such as a new menu rollout or a tasting menu evening.
It’s also essential to keep such events intimate and limited to a smaller number of influencers. This can make it a more exclusive affair and give you the chance to build a better relationship with the influencers you’ve invited. Having built this relationship, you can start handing over your social media accounts to influencers for management and live shows of your main events.
Such “takeovers” of social media accounts allow influencers to run your account as real-time content creators. While such handovers require a significant level of trust and some legal contract, there’s a huge potential benefit in the form of new followers and customers you might be able to attract during such events.
Publish sponsored posts
While most influencers still work on a freelance basis, more experienced influencers are now represented by external marketing and social media management agencies. As a result, most influencers now look for compensation either in payments or gift cards and free meals. While this can come across as hosting food influencers in return for posts and followers, ensuring full disclosure of sponsored posts can help avoid transparency issues.
Most local regulators now require compensation influencers to declare sponsored posts as advertisements. To disclose the audience, such posts can be tagged with #sp, #sponsored, or #ad.
However, giving control of your social media to external influencers, and using sponsored content, can have both pros and cons. While you get control over influencer posts and can define the details, you could also end up losing transparency and authenticity, both of which are critical for building a strong social media following.
Conduct giveaway contests
Contests, gifts, and giveaways can be an excellent tool for engaging with your followers and building a close connection. Social media can be a great place for creating word-of-mouth publicity about your restaurant through giveaways and free meal coupons.
Some research suggests that social media contests can generate several thousand fan followings and can be a great tactic for gaining new customers and converting them into regulars.
Influencers can help you develop and define such contests, keeping in mind the requirements of your followers and generating ideas to maximize the impact of such contests.
Alternatively, influencers can promote your giveaway or contest on their page, letting you build a better presence. The Key is to provide influencers with good images, content, and information, which can then promote the contest.
Hone Dedicated Ambassadors
While using influencers on an ad-hoc basis is quite the norm, most brands build longer-term partnerships with popular influencers. Instead of doing one-off campaigns or promotions, using influencers for the long term can help create brand ambassadors, who can then play a vital role in promoting your brand.
For example, if your restaurant is themed around healthy food or green eating, you can team up with an influencer that focuses on clean and healthy diets. With audience alignment in mind, you can create synergies and gain a higher following. Such partnerships can take the form of influencers making regular special event appearances, as well as letting you use their name and photographs on social media posts.
Co-create products and services
Influencers can be a great way to help your brand co-create products and services which are in demand with followers and customers. This can take the form of influencers’ branding material and profiles being used on your products and can mostly apply to the fashion and clothing industry. This is because fashion-related influencers can quickly help brands market products and create conversations.
However, the food and restaurant industry can also utilize co-creators, such as collaborations with healthy diet influencers to develop healthy food menus or baby food products developed and marketed in partnership with motherhood bloggers.
Other examples include a range of kitchen products and utensils sold through household products and kitchen-related influencers.
Most brands can benefit significantly from co-creation, allowing them to generate new ideas and leverage influencer knowledge. This can enable a better understanding of target markets. It also aids the creation and launch of new items, and understanding customer dynamics from influencers’ perspectives.
4. Top Food Influencer Accounts to Follow
Partnering up with food influencers is a great way to market your restaurant. We have made a list of 5 popular influencers account to follow. This list will give you an idea of what to look for when researching food influencers to market your restaurant.
The Everyday Foodie
@theeverydayfoodie is not just one person but a team of people based in Toronto who promote food and restaurants on this account. They have 32K followers who love the colorful photos and videos they post while on the town and traveling.
@devourpower is an account run by a couple who go around New York City and share mouthwatering pictures and videos with their 1.5m followers. They are always on the hunt for the new and different cuisines. They also share the most artistic pictures which always leave us drooling.
FoodstagramPK has one of the highest followings in Pakistan as a food influencer. He’s constantly posting tempting pictures of food, making his 60.7k followers want to join him on his food haunts. Check out his Instagram on a full stomach, or you risk a binging spree of a lifetime.
HuSsAin is a food influencer account run by Hussain, who lives in Saudi Arabia. He has over 2.9 million followers who wish every day was cheat day. His food videos always have our stomachs rumbling as most of his followers run to his latest food finds.
GAT is the food influencer account everyone should know about. A Londoner runs halal Girl About Town with over 82k followers. Her word is considered law, and every restaurant she recommends instantly becomes the go-to place. Her mouthwatering food photography and videos feed guides her followers on which restaurants and food to try.
Look for influencers in your areas and with the help of this blog. Hire them to market your restaurant and get cooking.