Just one scroll through your Instagram feed and you are sure to be enticed by an ever-growing collection of awe-inspiring snapshots of food. From the latest vegan fried chicken to locally sourced, triple strained Kombucha blessed by angels; there are plenty of foodie ideas to explore and share taking the internet by storm, the question is – how do you stand out? It is important to note that it is the level of influence of the social media user that sets apart an image, video or blog post in a sea of content and how uniquely they tell their story.
The more prominent the food influencer is, the more likely potential customers will trust them and decide on the next must-try spot based on their recommendations. Influencer marketing, when done well, presents a massive opportunity for restaurants and bars looking to expand their customer base and increase sales.
Here are five ways to work with food influencers and leverage influencer marketing to benefit your business:
1. Identifying Influencers
The best way to kick-start your influencer marketing is to identify influencers who are relevant to your industry and have followers that match your brand’s audience. It is important to analyze your chosen influencer’s content and understand how closely it links in with your brand’s story and core values. Once you have selected your ideal influencers, create a collaboration proposal before you approach them.
Ensure your budget is appropriately allocated towards influencer marketing, bearing in mind the cost can range from “$75-£250 per post” for influencers with 2k-10k Instagram followers or “$1k-$3k per post” for influencers with 100k-500k followers. Meanwhile, when looking at the top end of the influencer spectrum, celebrity Kylie Jenner reportedly earns the highest at “$1 million per sponsored post” on Instagram.
2. Reviewing Experiences
If you have recently launched or updated your menu – it is worthwhile inviting a food influencer to experience your brand first hand. Offer them a broad selection of your food menu and complimentary beverages to taste test, along with a table situated in a prime location within the venue. To ensure the most exceptional experience that prompts them to share photos on Instagram and post a positive review. This, in turn, can improve brand awareness and increase your own social media following.
3. Brand Ambassadors
To further boost brand awareness, restaurants and bars should work with more popular food influencers through a partnership. For example, the influencer could be a food blogger, public figure or celebrity. From smaller content creation, such as posting on Youtube to frequent blog posts to featuring in your TV advertisements – there are several platforms available for your brand ambassadors to utilize and amplify your brand.
Additionally, you could invest time in regularly running sponsored posts with micro-influencers who typically have a follower base ranging from 2k-50k followers. Although they have a smaller following, their followers are still highly engaged and more likely to take note of the content shared. Therefore by tapping into a variety of influencers from up-and-coming to a more established level, you will significantly broaden your reach by attracting a diverse mix of potential customers.
4. Competitions and Promotions
When running competitions (e.g. win a two-course meal)– make sure to encourage your influencers to promote across their social media platforms. As well as sending the promotional copy for the influencers to use, it will be vital for them to create their own accompanying message coupled with a unique promotional code so you can effectively track campaign results. As a result, your promotions will gain increased exposure and generate a buzz around your brand.
5. Exclusive Events
Whether you are adding a new brunch option to your restaurant’s menu or you are introducing a new cocktail selection at your bar – a great way to engage your audience is with an event. Invite a group of your top influencers to an exclusive event to enjoy themselves, whilst live streaming and documenting their experience. This will lead to stronger relationships with your influencers and encourage their followers to trust and try out your brand. Ultimately, in the short term you will initially gain social media followers and ideally in the long term will become your customers.
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