Influencer marketing, and now influencer marketing for restaurants, is taking over social media channels. How can your restaurant brand benefit from influencer marketing?
First – what’s Influencer Marketing?
Before social media existed, influencers came from those you saw on TV, a movie, an athlete, or well-known celebrity. Advertisers would have to put aside a significant chunk of their marketing budget to get these influencers to endorse their products. But times have changed.
Influencer marketing is defined as “a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than a target market.” Anyone with an specific expertise and a following of 10,000 or more people can be an industry influencer.
Using an influencer (or multiple influencers) is a great way to leverage social prowess to reach your market in a way to increase restaurant sales.
Second – the Power of Influencers
When it comes to modern-day word-of-mouth, influencer marketing for restaurants can be very effective. In fact, social media influencers can be more powerful than celebrities when it comes to promoting a product or service at a reasonable price.
Influencers have a large following that look to them for photos, information, references, and suggestions based on the influencer’s authenticity. These loyal followers believe in their reviews and recommendations because they find influencers to be credible. One post from a solid influencer can increase traffic to your restaurant dramatically.
As a restaurant owner interested in this form of marketing, you’ll need to find the most effective people that can attract customers to your restaurant.
So, where do you find the right influencer?
This is the most important part of the process.
The key to choosing an influencer that works well with your restaurant is for their followers to be your ideal customers. The influencer also needs to have followers that are interested in what they are saying. This engagement can be seen through likes, comments, and shares. If an “influencer” just has a lot of followers, but little engagement, they aren’t that influential.
The first best step is to find influencers that attract similar demographics to your restaurant and are located in the same area. You can search by tracking local businesses that share similar customers. You can also create a list of local food bloggers, city bloggers, lifestyle reporters, local celebrities (such as a popular radio host), and connect with them.
Most influencers want to work with restaurants that have a solid brand. If you aren’t actively posting on social media, start as soon as possible. If an influencer is going to promote your restaurant to their following, your restaurant needs to look good. Have all of your logos, branding, content, and information up to date so you can create a good first impression on potential influencers.
Once you’ve connected with an influencer, the focus should turn towards promotion. Your influencer marketing campaign will need to be fun, clever and out-of-the-ordinary for an influencer to actively promote it in a way that will connect with their own following.
When it comes to the creative process, be flexible with your influencer. They know how to best connect your restaurant with those that follow them, since they communicate with their audience on a daily basis.
Your influencer should be your guide, but keep posts engaging rather than promotional. Too many promotional posts can rub customers the wrong way.
You will want to communicate ahead of time to strategize with your influencer. You want to make sure all executions and deliverables are clear and match your restaurant’s brand and goals. Be sure to thank them for their support personally and on all social media posts where they mention your restaurant.
You can also branch out from non-food related social media accounts.
For example, let’s say you are an organic, health-guru restaurant located in Austin. There is a climbing wall gym located 2 miles away that is super active on all social media channels. You would want to begin following them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see how they connect with their customers. Pay attention to their tone, voice, and content. More importantly, check often to see what customers are communicating back to the business.
From there, you can find local customers who might be able to benefit your restaurant. One of those customers who interact with the climbing wall Instagram page could be a local personal trainer that several residents hire, admire, and respect. By visiting that customer’s personal social media pages, you can learn more about them, their followers, level of engagement, and determine if they would be a good influencer to promote your restaurant.
Finding an influencer, and influencer marketing for restaurants itself, can be a tedious process, but it’s also fun and rewarding. So, who will you be targeting for your next influencer campaign?
Activate Your NetWaiter Site
If you want to attract and keep more local customers informed about your restaurant, check out NetWaiter’s restaurant platform and network. You can search for, and activate, your NetWaiter site and app here: