With the power of influencer marketing exponentially growing over the past few years, brands need to pay attention to the social media influencers that resonate most with their customers in order to leverage that influence to help grow awareness of their company and, in turn, generate sales.

When foodie influencers share content promoting a brand, the goal is to influence their followers to purchase a product or service, or at the very least, further explore and engage with the brand’s marketing channels. And, partnering with influencers is a proven and effective way to impact consumer behaviors. A study conducted by Rakuten in 2019 found 87% of consumers made a product purchase after seeing an influencer review and 65% of consumers said they discovered a new brand or product through an influencer at least once a week.

In the food and beverage world, where new restaurants pop up weekly and products are constantly coming to market, the visibility influencers offer F&B companies is undeniable. Whether inviting a foodie influencer to your restaurant or sending them product to sample, there are guidelines to working with social influencers to ensure you get the most out of your partnership.

Here are some of our go-to tips for working with foodie influencers:

  1. Seek out the right influencer partner(s).

    It’s important to choose an influencer who is right for your company. A lot of foodies have their own niche – whether it’s sweet treats, wine pairings, global bites or even their own brand identity – so you want to ensure the influencer partner you’re working with aligns with your brand’s ethos. In doing so, the influencer’s content is more likely to resonate with your customers in a natural and believable way. Often times, influencers want to promote the personal experience they have with your brand as sharing human experiences creates a deeper connection with their followers. As a company, delivering such an experience in a positive way will help build a human connection between your brand and your customers, ultimately leading to increased loyalty and growth.

  2. Leverage the influencer in the right way.

    Influencer partnerships should always be mutually beneficial, so you want to get the most out of it for your brand. Make sure you identify the need that you’re looking to fulfill from the partnership before pursuing it. Whether getting content in exchange for the experience, general brand recognition or sharing news from your company, the partnership should provide direct ROI toward that need. There are different types of influencers to leverage as partners, including:

  • Micro-influencers (500 to 10k followers): These are the everyday consumers who drive around 25% – 50% engagement per post. They have the highest brand resonance out of all influencers because it’s driven by the strength and relationship they have directly with their audience and the personal experiences they have with the brand they partner with.
  • Macro-influencers (10k – 1M followers): These are bloggers and journalists who drive 5% – 25% engagement per post. Of all three influencer types, they have the highest topical relevance as they are typically divided into categories including lifestyle, travel, beauty, food etc.
  • Mega-influencers (1M+ followers): These influencers have celebrity status, including actors, singers, professional athletes and social media stars, and drive 2% – 5% engagement per post. They have the highest reach due to their significant following with their own brand fueling their influence but tend to have the lowest resonance when driving consumer actions from their posts.
  1. Know the value of your offer and the mutually beneficial partnership you’re presenting.

    Many influencers today only accept paid partnerships, with specific rates designated for different deliverables. When approaching foodie influencers for a partnership, know the value of what you’re offering and how that may compare to their rates. If they’re open to a product or experience exchange, great! If they’re looking for monetary compensation (which is more likely) in addition to a complimentary product or experience, this is where it’s crucial to know the value of what your offering compares to what they’re asking for. Negotiating is never off the table as long as it’s reasonable and respectful. Keep in mind, the influencers put in time and effort to produce content that benefits your brand while you offer a product or experience for them to post about.

  2. Check if the content matches your feed for reposting purposes.

    If you’re looking to work with an influencer to utilize their content on your social channels, you want to make sure they meet the standards you expect. Look through their feed to see if the quality is what you’re looking for to avoid disappointment when they deliver the final asset(s). It’s even better if the look and feel of their images matches your brand’s aesthetic to keep consistency in your feed.

  3. Doing a giveaway? Always ask for stats.

    Before partnering with an influencer for a social media giveaway, make sure you ask for stats or analytics from previous contests or giveaways to ensure you see ROI. Ensure their followers fall into the key audiences identified by your brand or those you want to start targeting if you’re looking to go after new people. You should also check for the number of entries, post engagement and total impressions on previous giveaway posts to confirm the influencer reaches a significant number of people.

  4. If you have specific messaging, make sure it’s conveyed.

    There’s a reason you’re partnering with an influencer. Whether you want to get the general word out about your company, or you have a specific announcement to share with consumers through the partnership, make sure the message you want is clearly expressed. Ensure to provide all this information to the influencer once he/she decides to move forward with a partnership.

  5. Create an official partnership agreement for paid content.

    You want to ensure if you’re paying any influencer to post about your company or product, nothing slips through the cracks. The best way to go about this is creating an official agreement that outlines what you’re offering the influencer and what they’re doing in exchange. Be as thorough as possible including details like total number of static feed posts and Instagram Stories, timeline for posting, links (if applicable), hashtags, accounts to tag, key messaging to include, post purpose, images rights and analytics reports. Send the agreement to the influencer to sign before any works begins and then review all posts before they are published by the influencer.

  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for updates if they don’t meet deliverables.

    Speaking of agreements, did your influencer partner not include key messages in the post they shared or meet the agreed upon deliverables? This shouldn’t happen because you reviewed the post(s) already (see number 7 above), but if something went askew, don’t be afraid to ask for corrections. It’s important you get the most out of your partnerships, and asking for corrections is completely acceptable as long as it’s within the contract you established.

  7. Ensure to follow FTC rules.

    When working with influencers, it’s important they follow FTC disclosure guidelines. It’s their responsibility to disclose the relationship in their posts, whether a paid partnership or gifted experience. As a brand, you should encourage the influencer to do so too, especially in a paid partnership.

Using these tips when approaching foodie influencers for a collaboration will help guide you in running a successful partnership so you can build relationships with influencers and consumers while growing the recognition for your brand.

By working with a social media influencer to post about your company and get the word out, the benefits often outweigh the cost. Influencers hold a lot of power over consumers by providing personal opinions for those who look to their reviews for advice. When followers turn to those influencers, they’re likely to act on their recommendations, which means a growing customer base for your brand if you score that positive review.

We specialize in influencer campaigns and can help with your program. Reach out to our team to get a kick start on your next influencer program.