Social media has become an instrumental tool for promoting businesses of all kinds, but one industry that’s seeing a particularly large impact is the restaurant industry.
This isn’t just due to the rise of “Foodstagrams” — restaurants that are seeing the biggest results in terms of raising awareness are working directly with social influencers. Instagram may have launched eight years ago, but it hasn’t run its course. In fact, it’s seen a major surge in popularity just recently with the rise of Instagram Stories.
Restaurants are starting to do what bigger brands have been doing for years: tapping social influencers as part of their overall marketing strategy, and the results have been tangible. According to a Hubspot survey, 71% of consumers are likely to buy products or services based on social media referrals.
The concept of working with social influencers is simple: restaurants reach out to individuals on Instagram who relate to their brand and have a large following to see if they would be interested in posting about their offerings. Some restaurants offer free food to social influencers, while others will pay for sponsored posts — a win-win for both parties.
Instagram influencersTo really understand how much of an impact social influencers are making on the industry and how restaurants can best work with them, Gather, the leading event software for restaurants and venues, talked to some real-life restaurant owners and influencers.
Allie Schotanus, director of digital marketing for Ocean Prime, an award-winning restaurant group, found that “when we utilize social influencers for a special event or promotion, we’ve seen a 120% increase in overall impressions during the week and a 30% increase in exposed reach for whichever platform is used.”
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Jeremy Jacobowitz is president of Brunch Boys (@brunchboys), an Instagramaccount dedicated to all things brunch with over 400,000 followers. He boasts that “restaurants will tell me about how they saw an uptick in followers and an uptick in brunch reservations…pretty much how they saw an uptick in everything [after my Instagram post].
Christine Yi, the mastermind behind the famed @cy_eats account (just over 200,000 followers), enjoys receiving inquiries from restaurants, but says that “every so often, especially when I am traveling, I will reach out to a restaurant that I’m interested in trying, and sometimes it’s successful. My intention is to share my enjoyment of food and the experience on my Instagram feed, not take advantage of a restaurant.”