What can food influencers do for my restaurant?

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

This week we were fortunate enough to catch up with Alex Jewell, the social media influencer behind the Instagram page @bestfoodalex. Alex captures the best menu items from trending and classic eateries all around the Chicago area.

Social media is a key facet of any restaurant’s overall marketing strategy, and with food influencers becoming more prominent, they can provide an interesting way in promoting a restaurant. However, restaurant owners need to do a little more research on an influencer beyond simply how many followers they have.

What else matters besides followers?

While it makes perfect sense to look at how many followers an Instagrammer has, and use that number to determine how much value I will get, it’s actually not correct.

One issue is how did they get those followers? According to Alex, if an influencer focuses too much on the number of followers they have but can’t tell you how they got them, that’s a red flag. Believe it or not, followers can be bought, and if an influencer you have been following has a sudden, sharp spike in their number of followers, they may have paid for them.

Instead, look at the likes and comments in their posts. Again, a high number of likes alone doesn’t signal high engagement. If they have few comments but tons of likes, something might be off. Longer comments and emojis are good indicators of an influencer creating truly engaging content.

Alex adds that if you see people tagging their friends in the comments, that is a sure-fire sign that an influencer’s followers are consistently engaging with their content. Higher engagement leads to higher chances their followers will pay your restaurant a visit.

How do I determine ROI?

Firstly, it is very hard to convincingly prove a tangible ROI of an influencer’s services. Even so, the best way to achieve a positive result is to determine your strategy before you even hire an influencer.