As you explore different types of marketing, you may already have an encounter with influencer marketing. It is making use of Food Bloggers and Influencers to expose your brand to different groups and demographics.
Although the pandemic outbreak has thrown challenges with the Influencer Industry, that doesn’t mean that it has no relevance to your marketing plans. It’s an opportune time for the influencers as the market changes and shifts are just the evolution of previously established trends.
And just like you, they have also found other ways to continue and thrive during the pandemic while observing protocols. They have found ways to establish their branding across different platforms.
Up to this date, it is considered that there are nearly thirty-eight million influencers worldwide. They are present on top social media platforms such as Instagram, Tik Tok, and YouTube. And guess who is present on those platforms as well? Yes, your target customers.
With that number, you might start to wonder, how would you find the best influencer to partner with? This is where we enter the picture. This article is loaded with what you need to know about influencers and how you would know if they are the right fit for your business.
Influencer Marketing For Restaurants
This type of marketing can bring so much to your business. It helps you expose your brand to a whole new set of audiences, those who you don’t think will work for your business. It also encourages more traffic for your website, which often leads to an increase in sales.
Social media has done a terrific job in helping businesses, no matter what their size, boost brand awareness. With its presence in the daily lives of consumers, it is not surprising that what they read through it will somehow influence their lifestyle and ways.
But due to the sudden market changes, consumers are not just blindly following influencers who are fun and popular. They are more inclined to support those whose content is educational and can benefit their lives in the face of the epidemic.
Since there’s easy access to every platform, it is hard to determine those who can be called influencers. To give you more of an idea, here’s a brief overview of this type of marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
This type of marketing requires you to create a collaboration or partnership with a local celebrity or a public figure to promote your brand. In a restaurant setting, these individuals are also known to be food influencers or food bloggers.
With the continuous evolution of the market, you must adapt your strategies accordingly. Involving different individuals who have different personalities and audiences allows you to stay on top of these changes.
These individuals fill every niche that you can utilize for your next marketing campaigns. They can offer a range of trade-offs and distinct advantages for your brand. And with the effects of the pandemic and lockdowns, businesses had a better view of them.
The use of social media influencers is now not just limited to the mainstream industries. Those who are considered stern and serious professions such as finance and accounting are slowly finding their way to navigate this trend.
They use this type of marketing to connect not just with consumers, but to expand their network as well. They have seen how social media influences e-commerce and how it delivers authentic and organic accelerated returns.
But what makes an individual an influencer? And what makes an influencer a full-pledge food influencer?
What is a Food Influencer?
How to become an influencer? First, you have to create a profile on your chosen platform. Next, create content that will help you gather 10,000+ followers. Once you’ve done that, then you’re now considered as one.
To find a great influencer, you have to check how they engage their followers, their formula for their content, and the authenticity that they provide for every content. Consumers find less to not-scripted content more engaging and easier to connect with.
To be a food influencer, of course, the individual has to create savvy content about food and restaurants. They know how to wisely utilize the foodie culture for their benefit and the brand that they are endorsing.
How much does Influencer Marketing cost?
The cost will, of course, vary with the influencers you’re trying to reach. If it’s a well-known one who has done partnerships with huge restaurants and brands, then you should prepare to pay a bit more than usual.
You also have to be smart in dealing with different types of influencers. There is one who requires you to pay for tier services, while there are individuals who accept free food and merchandise in exchange for their endorsement.
Before working with one, make sure that you’ve already established your goals and made them clear to them. Create a contract to ensure that both parties are protected with this type of partnership or collaboration.
Want to make the most out of the investment that you’ll use for this type of marketing effort? Here are some ideas on what you can make your chosen influencers do for your business.
What do Food Influencers and Bloggers do?
Creating content for your restaurant may seem to be too general for them. To make sure that you’ll get the outcome that you want, you have to communicate the goal that you want to achieve.
If you plan to start a buzz about your new menu item, then make them highlight that on their content. As long as it’s within their capabilities and contract, you can ask them almost everything for your brand.
Ask for reviews
This is considered the best way to capture a huge number in brand awareness and engagement rate. Giving your customers insight about your restaurant through the eyes of their fellow consumers (influencers) is a great way to build a trusting relationship with them.
Also, over 90% of diners are influenced by online reviews that they see, especially from someone who has a large number of followers. Influencers have a good reputation when it comes to reviewing as they’re known to provide genuine and organic feedback.
To get started, reach out to bloggers who have already expressed interest in writing a review about your food. You may offer a free meal and gift cards in exchange for their review content about your menu and services.
Earn their good side by letting them experience the best service that you can offer. Make sure that your entire staff is aware that an individual will be coming to make a review. And this is not to deceive consumers, but to ensure that your team is at their optimal condition throughout the service.
Conduct a promotional deal
In restaurant influencer marketing, you can hire individuals to promote your brand. How? By giving them an exclusive pass for your pre-opening or pre-launch activities. Try to keep these parties as intimate as possible for the influencers to get the feeling of being valued.
And once there’s established mutual trust between you and your chosen influencers, then you might consider giving them better access to your operations. This is where you can utilize social media takeovers.
But, again, be clear on what you want to show your audience. Giving them access behind the scenes is a crucial process as you have to consider your business and staff’s privacy.
Sponsor a post
Since this industry is a growing one, there are already agencies that handle the management of various influencers. This is the main reason why the process becomes too technical and a bit of a money-making system.
With the involvement of agencies, you’re now required to provide certain compensation for the services of these influencers. It can be in the form of money or extra free services. But this approach brings both advantages and disadvantages to your campaign.
While sponsoring a post gives you more freedom and control about the content that the influencer will create about your business, it has an impact on the authenticity of your brand. Especially that there are regulations that require influencers to disclose if a post is sponsored or not.
Consumers are made aware of this through hashtags such as #sponsored or #ad. If a customer sees this on a post, they’re given the impression that the post was just made to create a good image for a brand, which is not a good thing if you want to cultivate loyalty from a campaign.
Make them a brand ambassador
If an influencer worked wonders for some of your campaigns, why not make them a mainstay and publish them as an ambassador for your brand? This gives you more room for negotiation about their services and compensation.
Why consider this step? Well, they’ve already proven their worth to you during your past campaigns. Most likely, they work with the same audience as you have. So, engagement with the new influencer shouldn’t be a problem for you.
How To Find The Best Food Influencer For Your Restaurant?
With millions available in the pool, we’re here to help you filter influencers that are worth your time and trust. Here are the things that you should consider to know that you’re on the right path in choosing individuals that are the right fit for your business.
Establish a clear goal
Before starting a project, it’s a must that you have a goal you want to achieve in mind. Using this type of marketing, you can achieve benefits such as brand awareness, lead generation, brand building, customer engagement, sales increase, and customer loyalty.
It is easier to determine whether influencer relationships will assist in achieving your primary goals when you clearly define them. Influencers will be more likely to produce content that will generate the results you aim for if they know what is expected from them.
Look for influencers who are interested in your brand
You won’t find a better way to start organic influencer marketing than with a brand advocate starting even before you do. They have already established a genuine interest in your brand, and it’s easier to communicate what you want as a brand.
And you don’t even have to look that hard, they’re most likely in your backyard already. Take a look at your social media accounts and identify those who are tagging you on their posts. Invest in this type of partnership that screams authenticity from all angles.
Connect with those who serve the same demographic as you
Make the process simple. If you want to boost your customer engagement, then it’s better to find influencers who connect with the same market as you. You can easily encourage brand awareness, engagement, and even loyalty through their posts.
If you want to be sure that they share the same target audience, you might want to start with user-generated content or UGC. From there, you’ll be able to identify if the users that will engage with that post are part of your target customer base.
Start within your community
Even if you have enough resources to support a nationwide campaign using an influencer with a significant following nationwide, it’s still ideal to start engaging locally. Do you want to know why? Well, unlike your national celebrity, local influencers most likely have local followers.
These local followers have a greater possibility of going into your restaurant than those who live three regions away from you. Even though widespread engagement on social media is a great thing, its foot traffic and orders are what matter most.
Listen to their voice
We meant figuratively. Do they carry the online tone that you want for your brand? Can they represent your brand using the voice they have established to their followers? These are just some of the questions that you need to answer before starting a partnership or collaboration.
Keep in mind that consistent marketing brings great benefits to a brand. A single mistake can badly hurt your branding efforts, and you may have a hard time recovering from the blow of it. Especially now that cancel culture is still a thing for consumers, you have to be careful about who you partner up with.
Although you can give them guidelines on what you want to see and how you want them to post, it is still best that you trust them and give them the freedom to compose their content and posts. This is why you have to be comfortable with how they set the tone for their followers.
Check out relevant industry events and blogs
Food bloggers may be your sole focus on this type of marketing, but there’s also a great advantage in introducing more diversified influencers for your brand. You just need to find those who are already relevant and already established authority in your industry.
These are the individuals who have already proven their expertise and engagement in your niche. This is why you have to be constantly monitoring newsletters, podcasts, blogs, and events that use influencers to conduct interviews or host events for them.
Track and monitor hashtags
Hashtags make it easier for you to identify those who are talking about a certain topic. If you’re looking for local influencers, then you might consider looking at the hashtags using the name of your city or local area.
If you want to establish a themed partnership, then you should look into those who are into the same theme as your restaurant. This approach will be simpler if you have branded hashtags that you already use for your brand.
If they use the same hashtag, then you can check them out. If they check all your boxes and requirements, then you might consider reaching out to them and talk about future collaboration or partnership.
Stick to your budget
While it’s tempting to go overboard just to score a good influencer, you must consider that you’re still taking a business risk. Even if they have a great number of followers, there’s still no assurance that every follower will engage with your brand.
Also, every influencer has different metrics they use for their rates. They have multiple factors that they consider before working on a partnership. Make sure that you will give them clear instructions and that you’re on the same page right from the start.
Although you can negotiate their rates as much as you want, you also have to give value to the service and benefits that they can bring to your table. And the last thing that you want is to scar a relationship even before starting.
So if you don’t have enough resources in scoring your desired influencers, then you might want to hold on to that project and start looking into other opportunities first.
Try out Nano and Micro-Influencers
To reach small, hyper-niche audiences with a tight budget, it can be really useful to work with multiple Nano influencers. When coordinating hundreds of nano influencers is not possible, partnering with a handful of micro-influencers can be a great solution.
Large followings and blue checkmarks indeed appear to be impressive, but they might not be the most efficient influencers for your campaigns. An influencer’s average engagement rate is higher the fewer followers they have on Instagram, according to a marketing study.
Generate suggestions from your customers
Who else can give you the best influencers other than your audience itself? They know what they want and they know who they want to see. If you have many followers who follow a lot of other brands and influencers, your followers can quickly tell you which ones they’re looking forward to partnering with.
Ask them through a simple post, through your Instagram story, or even an FB live. You’re likely to receive insights from your audience that you hadn’t thought of, adding value to your community as a result.