There are many people online creating and sharing information on gastronomy: bloggers, instagrammers, youtubers – so-called “influencers” – who gain credibility from their followers who eat up what they post. In restaurant marketing, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to involve these digital celebrities, as they’re an ideal channel to reach potential customers. It’s a promotion strategy which, just like a fine stew, requires patience, dedication and creativity to get influencers to publish content on your restaurant and to reach their followers.
Is this an interesting challenge to increase your restaurant sales? Undoubtedly! That’s why we’re going to present you with 3 visions of the process, as well as invaluable advice on how to attract new foodies to your tables.
Finding the influencer
Not all influencers in gastronomy are relevant for all types of restaurant business. An influencer who shares information on Asian cuisine will be ideal for marketing a Japanese restaurant, for example, while an influencer who’s a wine connoisseur will be perfect for advertising an establishment aimed at wine lovers. The important thing is to give priority to the kind of content that they publish and the influence that they have on their community. To do this, it’s essential to study the influencer’s profile:
Jessica Bodoutchian, Social Media Director of the marketing agency Tinkle, explains the process:
“If you want to secure the participation of an influencer, you have to analyse their networks, understand their past work, know what kind of content they publish and look at where they’ve already collaborated. It’s important to evaluate their potential impact before coming to an agreement – their audience (followers/subscribers), presence (comments, retweets, mentions) – and then to make them an offer based on this previous analysis which matches their positioning, and not to force the issue. It helps to meet up without any commercial or publishing pressure. It’s a good idea to go for breakfast in a small group to get to know one another and present your product. This way, the influencer will get to know your face and it will be much easier to contact them”.
Getting to know the influencer
Ferrán imedio, is an influencer in gastronomy who writes for El Periódico de Cataluña, a major Catalonian newspaper, and he’s one of the people behind the creation of the gastronomistas.com blog, where he’s described like this: “He’s been to over 300 restaurants in the last two years alone, but his cholesterol is still at a normal level”. And he shares two important ideas:
Once you’re in the restaurant, it’s essential that… “I’m treated the same as all the other diners. If they suck up to me, that’s bad. At the end of the day, I write for my readers and not for the restaurants, so I have to get the same feelings that any other diner would have”.
Your value when chosen as an influencer in gastronomy is… “That I’m a journalist. In today’s highly technological world, we also have to fight for our place in the blogosphere. I live off and for this. It’s my profession, a profession which also demands you to be switched on 24 hours a day, constantly connected to your sources and up to date with everything which is happening in the sector”.
Julien Miquel, a French influencer, is developing his profession as an online journalist with a passion for wine, attracting 300 thousand followers on all of the social networks where he has a presence. As a matter of fact, his website socialvignerons.com won the prize for best wine blog at the Wine Blogs Awards 2015. An image posted on his Instagram account can garner an average of 400 likes. That means that he is sure to have a direct impact on 400 people.
Emiko Davies is one of the most recognised gourmet bloggers on the Italian scene. She shares recipes mainly inspired by Tuscan cuisine and all of her gastronomic experiences. She’s an influencer who, when visiting establishments that she likes, shares images like this one, and over 700 followers confirm that they respect her recommendation with a “like”.
Yesterday’s lunch spot amongst new friends at @ilbaciarino could not have been dreamier! #maremma #tuscany #roomwithaview (thanks for the suggestion @dinnerswithfriends!) Una foto publicada por Emiko Davies (@emikodavies) el
Getting the influencer on your side
There are many examples of how restaurants interact with influencers, such as in the case where Restaurante Sagardi in Barcelona held a conference and tasting session to provide information on the pork that they use in their wood-burning stoves, as well as their various cuts of meat and recipes. The event was, of course, attended by bloggers from the sector.
- Find the correct influencer according to the kind of content that they share.
- Analyse the influencer’s channels, publications and online history. Be aware of their motivations and what type of offer may be of interest to their followers.
- Interact naturally and honestly with them without purely commercial intentions, offering them some value.
- Establish an ongoing and personal relationship, even bordering on friendship.
Applying this with perseverance, common sense and, of course, offering an outstanding gastronomic offer, will allow you to boast one or several channels to attract potential clients, stand out from the competition and, of course, increase your restaurant’s sales.