What You Need to Know About Restaurant Social Media Influencers

November 6, 2023

By partnering with food influencers, restaurant owners can reach a wider audience and tap into their loyal following of brand advocates and enthusiasts.

A survey conducted recently showed that nearly one-fifth of people who visit restaurants search for restaurant information by tracking the reviews of influencers, while slightly over 20% rely on creators who generate restaurant reviews. Collaborating with influencers can be a great way to create buzz around your establishment, increase customer traffic, and improve your online presence. However, it's important to remember that successful influencer marketing requires careful planning and execution.

What is influencer marketing and how does it work: 

Influencer marketing has become a ubiquitous concept in the world of social media. They are everywhere, from Instagram to TikTok, podcasts, and more. Brands collaborate with highly followed individuals to promote their products and services through influencer marketing. When an influencer promotes a restaurant, it acts as word of mouth for their community. This sort of ambassador helps to build awareness thereby leading to an increase in visibility, engagement, foot traffic, and purchases. Brands often incentivize influencers to promote their products or services, and in turn, influencers help businesses reach a wider audience. When it comes to restaurants, the most effective strategy for influencer marketing is to invite influencers whose followers match the target demographic. These influencers can be offered perks or payment in exchange for creating content. 

Here are some tips to help you make the most of influencer marketing programs for your restaurant:

1. Identify the right restaurant influencers: To ensure your restaurant gets maximum impact, it's important to find local food bloggers or Instagrammers whose content aligns with your restaurant's theme and target audience. Look for influencers with a significant following and an engaged audience that values their opinion on food and dining experiences. Keep in mind that specific influencers will stand out from the rest. These influencers will have excellent content, love your food, understand your brand, and ultimately become your brand advocates. Consider them as your VIP influencer group and invite them regularly to new menu releases, store openings, special promotions, and updates on placing orders. Treat them like your most important guests or investors, and ensure they meet your critical staff members and decision-makers. You could also offer the influencers with the best food blogs exclusive merchandise. 

2. Build genuine relationships: Authentic connections with restaurant influencers are vital to building long-lasting partnerships to help you achieve your marketing goals. Engage with their content, attend events, and support their endeavors to establish meaningful collaborations. How to invite influencers to your restaurant and where to find restaurant influencers is all part of the art of building relationships with food influencers. Check out the Restaurant Influencers podcast, where experts in the field of dining and hospitality disclose their techniques for enhancing their online presence through the art of smartphone storytelling.

3. Offer fair compensation: Restaurant influencers invest their time and effort in promoting your restaurant to their followers and fans, and it's important to compensate them fairly for their work. The amount of compensation will depend on several factors, such as the influencer's reach and influence. Some influencers may be willing to settle for free meals or gift cards, while others may require monetary payments. It's important to establish a fair compensation model that takes into account the value that the influencer brings to your business.

4. Create unique content: Collaborating with food bloggers on distinctive content that highlights your restaurant's signature dishes, ambiance, and special events is essential. This content should be engaging and shareable, helping to increase your online visibility and attract new customers. Ask influencers to share their dining experience at your restaurant through user-generated content. This authentic content can act as social proof and attract more customers to your establishment.

6. Track and analyze results: It's essential to utilize analytics to measure the success of your influencer campaigns and determine the impact of your marketing efforts. Reach, likes, comments, and conversions are all metrics that can be used to evaluate your campaigns. By providing influencers with exclusive booking links and discount codes that can be included in their content, it's possible to track the performance of your campaigns and assess the success of influencer marketing for your restaurant. However, there are indirect benefits of an influencer marketing campaign that are not readily measurable. For example, a potential customer may come across an Instagram post featuring a beautiful restaurant promoted by an influencer and decide to visit the place in a couple of months, even though the influencer's unique code may no longer be valid by then. Nonetheless, the customer's decision to visit the restaurant is partly a result of the influencer's collaboration.

7. Set clear objectives: In the world of restaurant influencer marketing, it is important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Setting specific goals such as increasing reservations, boosting online reviews, or expanding your social media presence can help you develop a targeted strategy. It is important to note that each goal requires a different approach. By setting specific goals, you can create a more effective and efficient influencer marketing campaign that delivers the desired results.

Incorporating influencer marketing into your restaurant's marketing strategy can set you apart from the competition and help you effectively promote your business to a loyal customer base. To achieve this, it's crucial to leverage the right influencers who can establish a personalized connection with your target audience. In addition to influencer marketing, it's important to develop smart, targeted, and segmented marketing communication strategies. These approaches can help you stay connected with your customers and build lasting relationships with them. Discover how Appfront can help. 

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