Influencer marketing is using the status of community leaders as a means to power the perception of others. Influencers use various media platforms to connect with their following and share their thoughts and experiences with regard to a certain product, service or brand. Brands can use influencers to connect with their audience in a way that isn’t bought. According to TapInfluence, 65 percent of top U.S. brands participate in digital influencer marketing, and 74 percent of global marketers expect to include influencer marketing as part of their strategy in the next 12 months.
So why is influencer marketing useful for restaurants and other food products? Food is an extremely sensory experience. Likewise, content focused on food is attractive to consumers because it immediately appeals to their senses.
Here are three reasons why influencers can help leverage your brand in the eyes of the consumer:
- They’re engaging.
Eating has culturally been an occasion to gather for celebration, sharing, and giving. Because food is thought of as more of an experience than a product, consumers don’t respond as well to the promotion of the item but to everything that comes along with it. Influencers document their experience with brands. They comment on the service, photograph the decor, and film the perfect moment. Thus, the infamous cheese-pull was born. Influencers create room for conversation among their audience by using platforms that simplify sharing, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more. They also allow for engagement in a viral manner. Within seconds, a photograph of your new seasonal cocktail can generate thousands of likes, comments, and impressions. Influencers get people talking.
- They’re authentic and trustworthy.
An influencer does not have to have the highest follower account, but they must have a loyal community or fan base. Likes, shares, and comments are key indicators of an active and loyal community. As a brand, you borrow the influencers’ following, and deliver your product to the consumer in a way that is honest. By allowing the influencer the freedom to interact with your brand in their own authentic way, you are gaining the trust of their following. With 74 percent of consumers relying on social media to inform their purchasing decision, and word-of-mouth recommendations being a primary factor behind 20–50 percent of all purchase decisions, as reported by TapInfluence, it is important that people believe in your product and trust your brand.
- They work fast.
Influencers rely on digital and social media platforms to get their jobs done. This means they are constantly creating, posting, and updating. Turn-around time is not nearly as long as traditional media, which makes them the perfect vessels to communicate information on current promotions, seasonal products, and more. Give them your latest offering and a device, and the word will be out with the click of a button.
If you are not already utilizing influencers in your PR plan, it’s time to start. Influencer Marketing is becoming an essential tool to grow your restaurant’s audience and reach!