Alternatively, go back to step one and start with what you already know. A simple Twitter, Google or hashtag search using your restaurant’s name may uncover online or social media influencers who already love your brand. Or, if you are frequently in your restaurant and it’s appropriate, ask your customers about their social media habits. Are there certain social media platforms they use? Influencers they follow?
Most importantly, according to , influencers:
- Are actively engaged through blogging, social media or other online channels
- Have a large following of your target audience members
- Identify with a topic that’s relevant to your brand
- Consistently generate engagement around related posts
- Have engaged with other companies and/or similar content
- Start the conversation. With a list of influencers to target, it is time to start the conversation. Remember that this isn’t just a pitch, it’s the start of a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship. So start slowly. Familiarize yourself with the person’s interests by reading their content over a reasonable span of time. Then show interest by liking, sharing and commenting on their posts.
- Introduce yourself. Finally, when you are familiar with the influencer’s overall approach, reach out with information about your brand, yourself and your vision of a working relationship. Remember, the influencer can offer a great service to your brand, so approach the introduction with humility and, if possible, what you might offer the influencer as part of the give and take of the relationship. Do you envision a full brand ambassador program? Can you offer free meals or other incentives?
Not all the influencers may want to engage with your brand. That’s fine. Some may be too busy or may not see it as the perfect fit you envisioned. Don’t worry, when it comes to a good influencer campaign, quality is better than quantity.
- Launch your campaign. With that, your influencer marketing program is ready for the final step: launch! As you move forward, it’s important to remember that this isn’t about a single tweet or post. A good influencer campaign is the result of strong relationships between your brand and your partners, and, just like all good relationships, will flourish with ongoing cultivation and care.
Ellen Hartman, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the CEO of Hartman Public Relations, a full-service public relations agency specializing in the foodservice Industry. Hartman has experience working for Coca-Cola, Concessions International, Chili’s, Huddle House, First Watch, Tropical Smoothie, Billy Sims BBQ and Uncle Maddio’s Pizza and many QSR brands including Popeyes, Church’s and Arby’s. An industry leader for more than 25 years, Hartman is active in the Women’s Foodservice Forum, Les Dames d ’Escoffier International and has served on the board Georgia State University School of Hospitality. She earned her APR accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of PRSA’s Fellow program for senior accomplished professionals.