Who are Social Media Influencers?
A social media influencer, just as the word suggests, is someone who influences others through social media. The important distinction is that influencers are brand advocates who inspire their followers to act. Jay Baer put this simply, saying, “true influence drives action, not just awareness.”
For our industry, here are some examples of some strong hospitality social media influencers:
- Celebrity chefs like Mario Batali, Giada De Laurentiis, and Gordon Ramsey
- Restaurateurs like Danny Meyer, Tom Colicchio, Nobu Matsuhisa, and Wolfgang Puck
- Food & wine experts like Restaurant Girl, Laura Maniec, and Sabato Sagaria
Why are Influencers Important?
Building relationships with influencers helps you expand your social media presence exponentially, and at a much faster rate. By leveraging those relationships, you’ll notice your brand really comes to life with the added influence of a well-known real person. Their opinions can help drive awareness of and traffic to your restaurant. By focusing on your energy on engaging these influencers, and building these relationships, you’ll notice the impact it has on your business. Just be sure that once you get their attention, you maintain engagement with those social media mavens.
How do you engage with social influencers?
Just like you see who likes and follows you, so do they. You should start by following, liking, and sharing your influencers’ posts. Think of it as paying it forward. You more you give influencers love, the more you’ll get their attention and influence them to like and share what you have to say.
You can also start the conversation by reaching out to them in a professional manner, via a personalized direct message. Recognize that their time is valuable, and clearly state your purpose of how you wish to collaborate. Approaching a sought after social media influencer is more efficient when you come with a plan at hand, for example:
- Ask them to follow you, like your page, or join your network/group
- Suggest teaming up on an event
- Invite them to guest blog or post – think the popular “takeover” (link 1)
- Throw in giveaways to followers
- Provide reviews for each other
Most importantly, make sure that your approach will be mutually beneficial, and that you share similar goals. You both want to increase your brand awareness and expand your reach, and doing so in collaboration requires participation and buy-in from both sides.
Get on it
Make use of your arsenal of marketing tools. We’ve talked about geo-fencing before, and its use as a location-based marketing tool. Managing social media is easier when you have all your social platforms connected in one place. Tools like this can also help you identify the social media influencers with whom you should build relationships.
To learn more about engaging with social media influencers, and other social media tips, check out our Social Media Survival Guide.