You’ve probably heard of influencer marketing. If you haven’t heard of influencer marketing, you can read my article: Should you be working with Influencers?
In this article, we’ll explore whether you should be using influencers for your restaurant or bar and how.
Let’s cut to the chase, because if you’re as busy as me then you’ll also dislike unnecessarily long articles for the sake of it. In my opinion, the answer is “YES”. Therefore, the rest of this article is why and how.
Why should you be working with influencers?
Recently, all I could see on people’s Instagram stories was people buying and eating Halo Top ice cream, I’ve never seen an advert for it, just my friends constantly buying it and sharing an Instagram story about it.
I was curious, so I posted a story to my Instagram asking what is this Halo Top ice cream and then people gave me a little more information.
I don’t usually eat ice cream, but now I want ice cream and I want to try Hale Top ice cream. And there you have it. Our emotional brain takes over our logical brain. We fear missing out and we want to try it too. Then we buy it and we post pictures of it and so the cycle continues.
Influencer marketing works very much the same way. People with a loyal and trusted following see someone they trust doing something and they want to try it. It’s hardwired into our brains. Its why brands have used celebrity marketing for years, who you could say they are the original mass influencers.
Now thanks to Social Media you don’t need to use celebrities (Macro Influencers) and pay huge amounts to get your restaurant or bar in front of your target audience. You can take advantage of Social Media’s Micro Influencers.
These are usually normal every day people who have a loyal following usually under 100k followers. However, in the case of your restaurant or bar we can target Micro Influencers who have a following as low as 2000 and leverage it.
How should you be working with influencers
There’s no one size approach that fits all, so as you read the following look at my thinking rather than look for a blueprint.
Let’s say you have a restaurant and bar that’s chic and your target audience is stylish women aged from 20 to 35. If you hang around Social Media enough, you may realise that stylish women who post their lifestyle on social media usually gain a good following from other women.
These followers like to see what the influencer wears, what makeup she uses, where she hangs out, who she’s in a relationship with and what she eats. They’ll even have male followers who would be persuaded by her activities, whether that was to take their partner on the same activity or go with friends.
If this influencer is posting photographs in your restaurant or bar of her having a good time with her friends or family, then her followers are going to want to do the same.
Scale this to many influencers and you’ve got a little bit of mini viral marketing. Like I said, these influencers don’t need to have a hundred thousand followers. Influencers with 2,000+ followers would still have a great impact if you worked with many of them.
A bar and restaurant that did this very well is The Florist. While I don’t know if they used influencers, my Social Media was bombarded with photographs of young women next to The Florist’s beautiful décor. Like I said, I don’t know if The Florist used influencers, but their décor is a huge attraction for young women wanting photos next to the elaborate flower displays.
In fact, I was there on Sunday and I was watching group after group taking selfies and photographs. I was even asked myself to take a photograph for one group. All I could see was customers marketing this restaurant and bar. It was basically free marketing.
The catch with The Florist is that it has something that it’s target market want to be photographed against and that’s it’s décor. Another way to do this is well plated food and elaborate drink displays such as The Alchemist. It doesn’t have to be décor, food or drink it can be location, think Moon Bar at Banyan Tree, Bangkok, Thailand.
A location with a view might not be an option for you, but you can certainly take control of your restaurant and bar’s décor, food presentation and drinks presentation.
We’ll get on how to approach influencers soon, but you’re not going to gain any influencer traction if your restaurant falls short on any of the things above. Influencers need to feel attracted to your place for some quality reason and not because of a free meal or payment. They must love it and be able to genuinely share their positive experience.
You’ll be able to get away with basic décor and presentation if your food is very good, but it depends on your target market and how you present yourself.
How to Approach Influencers
Restaurants and bars are very visual places with visual objects. Therefore, in this article we’ll focus on Instagram which is a highly visual social media platform. Instagram currently has 1 billion monthly active users, so you’re highly likely to find your target market if they’re between 18 and 44 .
Step One – know your target market: I’m assuming you’ve established your target market, marketing is much easier when you know who you’re targeting. Remember, if you target everyone you target no one. If you haven’t then you need to sit down and identify what your restaurant and bar is all about and who you’re targeting.
keeping to the theme of young stylish females as a target market for this example, you need to understand who the influencers are, where they hangout and what they do. Make life easier and just focus on influencers in your city.
Step Two – finding influencers: once you understand who they are you’ll be able to find out where they hangout which means you can find them using Instagram’s search by Places.
For example, you might know they like to eat and drink at a competitor’s location, or that they shop in your local retail outlet. Using Instagram’s Places location, you’ll be able to see all the people who have been there by looking through the photos. You’ll notice influencers as their photographs are very polished.
Step Three – engage and approach: When you’ve identified influencers you want to approach, follow them and send them a direct message with an offer.
Your offer depends on your ambition and the level of influencer you work with. For example, if they have around 3k to 20k followers they’re likely come and tag themselves in photos if you offer them and their friends a free meal, or a free meal and a couple bottles of free prosecco.
I personally don’t think you need to pay a Macro Influencer to attend your restaurant and bar. A good few free meals and drinks with Micro Influencers and their friends should be enough to get your place in front of your target market. After all, not only will the influencer be posting photographs, but so will her friends who attend with her.
If your restaurant and bar is designed for your target market I can’t imagine you’ll get much rejection but expect it anyway.
Yes, you should be using influencers as part of your marketing strategy. You’ll need to make sure you have a target market. You’ll need to make sure your restaurant and bar has something that is attractive to your target market. Then approach influencers within that target market who are local to you. Offer them free food and drinks as an incentive and then watch as photographs of your restaurant and bar appear on Instagram.