Read any online marketing manual, and there will be at least one paragraph dedicated to restaurant marketing through micro-influencers. First things first, social media influencers are bloggers who have a certain fan following and cover topics of their interest. In the restaurant industry, Food Bloggers are the most relevant social media influencers, and in this article, we will discuss why you should engage with these micro-influencers and what are the best food influencer strategies.
Food Blogger Marketing: Why Restaurant Influencer Marketing Can Work
Many people argue that social media influencers do not have enough reach, brand pull or recall value, and so, there is no use in engaging with them. This belief is a myth! Micro-influencers have excellent brand value. This is because your audience spends time online listening to what they have to say, is loyal to them and trusts the blogger more than it would believe your local celebrity. Food bloggers and other such micro-influencers are considered experts on the issue of restaurants, and their verdict can be taken as a guarantee of great experience and even better food. Because of their presence on social media, they can also increase your website reach and ensure that people at least know who you are.
To top it all up, food influencer marketing for restaurants is affordable and effective. This is so because micro-influencers such as food bloggers are far cheaper and more approachable than celebrities even if a minor one. Instead of spending a vast amount of money on a single campaign, you can engage with 3-4 different bloggers, cover a broader audience base and maintain a relationship with them so they will keep covering and posting about various events and updates in your restaurant. Most bloggers also do not merely write about your restaurant like a newspaper advertisement but talk about the experience, what they found tremendous and what sort of connection they felt with your restaurant. This gives your restaurant a personality for people to relate to and an image even before they visit it. This is one of the greatest food influencer strategies. To know more regarding micro-influencer marketing, read this article on The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Side Of Restaurant Influencer Marketing.
How to Engage With Influencers And Food Bloggers For Your Restaurant Marketing
Now that we have established why using influencers for a restaurant is a good investment in your restaurant marketing strategy, now we’ll elaborate on how to engage with them. Read on to know how to chose and invite bloggers, what your etiquette should be, what platforms you should cover and what the payment structure should be like.
1. Choosing Your Food Bloggers
When it comes to deciding whom to approach many factors must be kept in mind. You are not just featuring your restaurant as a one-time thing and chances are you will be engaging with the same food blogger again. You cannot just haphazardly pick anyone or give the job to the first person that agrees. That being said here are six things you must keep in mind while choosing a blogger for your restaurant influencer marketing.
The first question that you must ask yourself is how is the chosen food blogger relevant to your restaurant and brand image that you are trying to create. Food bloggers have their interests and fortes, and most of them specialize in ‘kind’ blogging. This means that they cover certain kinds of foods and restaurants. Some may cover only sweets and bakeries while someone else may be an exclusive vegan blogger. Someone else, on the other hand, may only cover theme restaurants or some may cover restaurants with a certain history only. Follow different bloggers and identify who would be relevant to your restaurant.
(ii) Target Audience
The next thing to consider while deciding your micro-influencer is to look at the audience they cater to. If their target audience does not match yours, it would be a wasted pitch. Go through their comments, likes and study the type of content they write and the target audience of restaurants that they cover.
(iii) Online Platform
While different food bloggers are on different platforms there are some platforms that you will inevitably cover and on others, you will see an increase in your following. The platforms that most bloggers directly cover are- Zomato, Instagram, WordPress, Blogspot, Youtube (through vlogs), blogger, etc. Through these platforms, people will be directed to your restaurant page on different social media platforms and your website.
(iv) Page Views and Reach
The next thing to consider while deciding which food blogger you want to engage with is the page views and reach that they garner totally and on individual posts. It makes no sense to engage with a blogger who does not have the required brand pull even if they are talented. You can reach out to them of course, but then it would be marketing for marketing deal where both of you feature each other on your respective pages for creating a bond and goodwill while reaching out to each others audience.
Even though blogging is an online activity, for a restaurant which is local the location of a blogger is also important. If the audience of a blogger is based out of your city where the restaurant is located, it makes no sense to engage with them no matter how good they are. Chose a blogger from the same city as their maximum audience would be from the there as well.
(v) Shared Interest
Finally, it is very important for the interests of the blogger you engage with to match with yours if you want a successful food influencer marketing strategy. Engaging with a blogger is the same as getting a business partner or a new colleague, and for the betterment of both your restaurant and the food blogger, it is necessary that your interests match. While choosing a restaurant, food bloggers do their research and have their reasons to choose one restaurant over another. Depending upon the nature of the blog, a food blogger picks his/her restaurant. Mutual interest is thus a minimum for you to consider while approaching a food blogger.
2. Inviting The Food Bloggers
Now that how to choose a blogger has been dealt with, the next thing is how to invite your chosen bloggers. Here is a step by step guide:-
(i) Contact the Bloggers
Most bloggers are very easy to contact and approach. Take a close look at their blog, and you will find an email address or a phone number that you can contact them on. If you do not find anything, you can always leave a comment saying that you would like to approach them and leave your email id for them to follow up on.
(ii) Create a Relationship
We can not emphasize this point enough. Understand that your food influencer will probably be there to stay as your brand ambassador and in a sense be the face of your restaurant for all his/her followers. It is better to create a healthy relationship right from the first email. Value their time and efforts, talk to them, tell them about your restaurant all this will make them connect to the restaurant better and the result will be a better feature for you.
(iii) Be Well-Organised
Another complaint that most bloggers have with the restaurateur is that they are not well organized when it comes to engaging with a food blogger. Send them a timely invite (at least a week before) to any event you want them to cover. Extend an open invite for a normal feature and decide the time convenient for both. Be well prepared for the visit and deliver to the promises you made; it tells that you are professional and a happy blogger would mean a happier you when the feature is finally out!
(iv) Give Them Something New
Bloggers love experiencing and featuring newer concepts and innovations. If you plan to invite someone for a regular feature, the chances are that they will agree, but it will not be as exciting as when you create a special event for the blogger. This will not only make a lot of bloggers want to feature you, but they will also actively push your restaurant through all their social media channels which is what influencer marketing for restaurants is all about. This will help in coming up with the best food influencer campaigns.
In this day and age of social media, influencer marketing is a great way to gain traction and market your restaurant. Hope this guide has been helpful in telling you why you must engage in food blogger marketing and how you can approach these food bloggers for the same.