5 tips to kickstart your food influencer journey
5 tips to help you kickstart your venture into the competitive world of food influencing.
No time is as hot for online influencers as right now. As the methods we use to connect and socialise online grow in leaps and bounds, so do the ranks of individuals trying their hand at influencing.
What is an “online influencer?” Influencermarketinghub.com defines an influencer in social media as someone who has “built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular topic.” And, if you are an avid user of social media, you’ll know that very few topics aren’t covered by that umbrella term. Health and beauty influencers, bargain shopping influencers, fitness influencers - and that’s just the beginning.
But our business is food here at La Española, and we know just how many food influencers are out there. And how competitive it is. We’ve spoken to a number for various interviews we’ve conducted for our blog, and are always impressed by the passion and gusto they tackle their online role with. These people just love food, and want to share their eating experiences with the world - just like we do!
Have you decided to follow your passion of becoming a food influencer but have no idea where to start?
Our 5 tips will help you kickstart your venture into the competitive world of food influencing.
1) Build an online brand
If you look at any of your favourite food influencers social media profiles, you’ll notice similar characteristics across the board. Whether it’s their Facebook or Instagram (the main foodie platforms of choice), you can bet that the big names in this online circle have their branding finely tuned. That means attractive, aesthetically pleasing feeds that have a cohesive theme or colour palate, a tone of voice that is unique to them and, of course, high quality images of the delicious dishes they have been lucky enough to sample and review for their audience. Clean, easy to navigate and uncluttered themes are the most popular with online audiences.
Building your online “look” is a process, much like anything else. Sometimes it takes some time to decide what theme or style really defines you, but if food is your niche (and not online marketing), hiring a digital marketing or branding expert is a brilliant way to really break down what you’re all about before you begin building your online presence.
2) Focus on quality over quantity
One of the reasons keen influencers sometimes lose their passion for their “brand” at some stage along the way is the misconception that you have to “churn out” content to be seen and keep your followers interested. It can be exhausting and burn you out early on. But know this is not true, and most digital marketing experts will also confirm this.
Posting something just for the sake of posting something and staying consistent often means that content quality dips dramatically over time, and you’ll start to lose your audience that followed you for your authenticity in the first place!
Scrap the belief that you HAVE TO post every day, but instead focus on crafting quality content that reflects time, effort and passion. Planning your content feed the month before using a simple spreadsheet is an easy way to lower the stress level and enjoy the process. Three to four posts per week on each platform is sufficient and will guarantee a slow and steady growth. Also, spend time doing keyword research to target the audiences you desire, and you’ll blow up in no time!
3) Network, network, network!
Many people get into online influencing and expect to have freebies thrown at them from the get-go. This isn’t the case at all - and why should it be? Brands searching for influencers to promote their products do their research, and they are looking for experts who have a carefully-curated backlog of work behind them before they provide free products or services.
The food influencer world is no exception. Whether you are keen to dine out for free and review that hot new restaurant’s menu, or would love a box of goodies courtesy of your favourite candy company - you have to prove yourself first. Networking with the right people is paramount to online influencer success, and building solid, healthy relationships with brands before approaching the subject of promoting their goods is absolutely the way forward.
Tagging brands in your own non-sponsored posts showcasing their products that you love (that you yourself bought) proves your brand loyalty is authentic and genuine - and is a good first step to get noticed and open the door of communication.
4. Be authentic and honest
As much as social media is an escape for many people and a world where the lines are blurred between fantasy and reality, at the end of the day…. nobody wants to be lied to. Not in our lives offline and not in our lives online. The rise of social media influencers with expertise in food has skyrocketed, and the number of old-school food critics for newspapers and publications have obviously dwindled in favour of the online crowd. But - you can learn lessons from the original, big-time food critics, who were paid to review restaurants, cafes and eateries for major publications and to deliver a rock solid opinion on the experience.
These days, many food influencers online are too scared to rock the boat and scare off potential clients by being anything but absolutely upbeat about a product. And sadly, it shows. We all know when we see a review that is people-pleasing. We all sense when an influencer isn’t being honest. And it feels wrong.
Carve out a name for yourself as an influencer who voices your real opinion respectfully, tactfully, honestly and authentically. Trust us, it will shine through.
5. Learn from the best in the business
The best in any field didn’t get there by simply declaring themselves experts and expecting everyone to take them seriously immediately.
Michelangelo didn’t just decide to try his hand at painting the Sistine Chapel one day. He was tutored under the greats in the art world from the time he was a young boy. Sir David Attenborough didn’t visit one zoo and declare himself an expert in all things animals and plants, and expect people to take him seriously. He continues to work on his craft over 60 years after first appearing on television screens. And we learn with him. J.K Rowling didn’t just shop the first Harry Potter novel to one publisher who instantly snapped it up and handed her a huge cheque. Our favourite world of wizardry almost wasn’t to be, as 12 publishers rejected the manuscript before one took a gamble on it. A gamble that paid massive dividends. And lastly, the late, great Anthony Bourdain didn’t just land a globally-televised TV series, travelling the world like a rock star sampling foreign delicacies. He honed his craft under the best chefs out there, worked his way up to head chef of an esteemed restaurant, worked notoriously long hours and finally wrote a book that hit home with those of us that have slogged it out in the food industry.
Do you get what we are saying? If becoming a food influencer is truly your passion, learn from the best, read as much as you can, cook as much as you can, speak to experts as much as you can - and make mistakes along the way. Building your life experience and keeping an open mind to ‘always be learning’ will get you far.