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How can restaurants use influencer marketing effectively?

influencer marketing
I’m currently sitting in my dark home office with the rain absolutely thundering down outside, indulging in a little escapism by researching and making lists of influencers who would be great to work with on an upcoming restaurant launch. (I love it when work can be described as ‘escapism’!)

It’s a lovely job, to scroll through gorgeous Instagram feeds, and read well-written blog posts, picking who might be a good fit for the brand. It’s going to be big on coffee and have a vibrant healthy food offer, so there are some beautiful feeds that are relevant to those themes.

More natural than advertising, and with more predictable results than PR, the authenticity of influencer marketing can have an incredible effect on your sales, brand awareness, the success of your launch, and the perception of your brand. Influencers’ followers are engaged, niche and trusting. If your venue isn’t making the most of this resource you’re missing a trick, and it’s definitely worth getting your foot in the door. So how do you get going?

There are a few steps to go through before you start seeing your gorgeous dishes appearing across the internet, so tick these tasks off first:

What do you want from the campaign?

As with any marketing initiative, it’s crucial to know what it is you want before you start. More followers? Better engagement? Sales on a particular menu launch? By working out the goal you can make sure communication with your target influencers is accurate and informative, and they will be more likely to deliver the results you want.

Do I pay them?

Possibly. Everyone’s different, and depending on what you want you might be looking at sponsored content. If someone has to attend an event, shoot lots of photos, edit them, do a write-up, schedule their social posts etc, it’s time consuming. If they also have a huge audience, they may well charge for that and it could be £50 or £5000, or if we’re looking at Kardashian territory we’re into the millions.

It’s also very possible to work with influencers for no payment, but they might eat at your venue or come to a wine tasting, or another event on a comp basis, and be happy to post about it in return.

Research

This bit can take time, but it’s really important to know the content of the influencers you’re targeting, to know what they do and don’t post about, and to be able to make an accurate judgement about whether they’d be a good fit.

For example, one in particular might not work well as part of a cocktail launch, but they might be perfect for an in-depth review of your steak offer and ethical meat supplier as part of a wider series of posts on more mindful eating.

Approach

Use your research and make sure you’ve read the about/contact pages of your target influencers if they have them, and approach them in the way they prefer. Be personal, explain why you’ve gone to them in particular, and why you think it would be a good fit.

Results

Creating a hashtag is a good way to monitor all your mentions, and don’t forget to check all your metrics before, during and after. If you’re doing influencer marketing for the first time, do it in isolation so you can see the results clearly – e.g. don’t run a social competition in the same week(s).

If you’d like to chat about how to make influencer marketing work for your restaurant, get in touch!

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