Instagram is another place to connect with regular customers, reach new audiences, and start building relationships with peers in your industry. This couldn’t be truer for restaurant business owners or business owners in the food and beverage industry.
People looking for a new place to try for food and drinks almost always go to Instagram to check out a restaurant or bar’s account. They want to know what your food looks like, what your space looks like, and if any credible food accounts have posted about you. But working with food bloggers isn't always a straightforward path.
Here, you will learn all you need to know about how working with food bloggers and local businesses can grow and expand your audience. Let’s get started!
How to Build Your Restaurant’s Instagram
Before reaching out to potential food bloggers and influencers to work with you'll want to make sure you're Instagram is in tip-top shape. Look at our quick checklist below to make sure you’re Instagram is set up for potential followers and customers.
#1 Have an Instagram Account
If you don’t have an Instagram account, it’s your time to set one up. Start by creating a business account and pick a good Instagram profile picture that embodies your business. It can either be your business’s logo or a menu item you’re known for. Whatever it is, just make sure it represents your brand. After setting up your account, make sure your account page has a bio about your business, a location if you have one, and any website to link out to for followers to learn more.
PLANOLY Pro-tip: Go to local restaurants’ Instagram accounts, look at who follows them, and then go off of that. You can also start following food bloggers for more visibility and discoverability.
#2 Post Regularly
After setting up your Instagram account, you have to maintain your Instagram presence by posting regularly. You should shoot for posting a couple of times a week, and then once your followers start to grow, you can start looking at your Instagram analytics to strategize better what type of content your audience is looking for. PLANOLY’s premium Instagram analytics features offer you in-depth audience demographics and the times your followers are most active to help you create and schedule content for the highest success.
#3 Engage with Your Audience
Once you’ve gotten in the hang of posting regularly, start posting content that’s also engaging to your audience. Like new menu items, special promotions, or partnerships with other local food and beverage businesses. This gives your audience something to look forward to, promotes responses, and notifies food bloggers to try new items.
#4 Nurture Industry Relationships
The restaurant industry is well-connected, and it’s important to build relationships even after you finish working with them. This not only can lead to positive reviews but partnerships with other businesses in the food and beverage industry to help expand your audience and establish yourself in the local food scene.
Working with Food Bloggers and Influencers
Speaking of nurturing industry relationships, here are some helpful tips to start your new working relationships. Food bloggers and food Instagram influencers have an important role in helping expand your audiences. Whenever they write about your business or tag you in a post, their followers check you out because of that. So it’s wise to start on the right foot and continue nurturing your relationships with them. We spoke with Jane Ko, author + food blogger of A Taste of Koko. She gave us some helpful tips for businesses working with food bloggers and influencers in the future.
How to Approach Food Bloggers and Influencers
Food bloggers and influencers are people too, so remember to treat them like that. She shares,
“For me, it's all about the ask - I prefer a well-written thoughtful email over an Instagram DM (my DMs are flooded!). A well-written email includes an introduction to the owner/team, the restaurant concept, and then an invitation for me to come visit.
This also applies to bloggers that are reaching out to restaurants. Many restaurant owners tell me about influencers/bloggers who come and demand free food - this is not how the media works! While I do get invited by restaurants, I often choose to just come in on my own time.”
Also, if your goal is to get written about or featured in a popular food publication, here are some tips Jane’s learned.
“Eater Austin, Austin Chronicle, or any food publication specific to your location usually like having the exclusive on openings. I don't think a restaurant needs to be written about or blogged about, but the concept, food menu, and team need to be interesting. Most restaurants will hire a PR agency (public relations) who already has pre-existing relationships with media to write/send a press release.”
Beyond that, here are some other things to consider.
3 Tips for Restaurants Building Industry Relationships
Restaurants to Learn From
Food scenes are different for each city, but a few restaurants market to their followers really well and keep them excited and aware of any new updates, along with building awareness among the food blogger community. Here are some of our favorites.
Taco Mafia consists of 4 taco restaurants in Austin that offer specialty tacos unique to each restaurant. They’ve teamed up and often host pop-ups, share each other’s posts, and more! This helps expand their audiences but also connects them to followers interested in their type of food.
They’re great at sharing drool-worthy burger shots that make you instantly need a burger and not just any burger, but their burger.
Not a restaurant, but a wine shop in West Hollywood promotes new wine additions and special promotions daily. This makes people curious to try new wines and post about them.
We hope you learned a little bit more about how you can work with food bloggers and influencers. And if you’re a new restaurant or food and beverage business, check out our food and beverage Instagram kit full caption ideas, types of content to post, and more!