We’ve written before about the power of the influencer. There’s so much written online on various marketing websites and blogs so we’ll try to keep it succinct and then include some insight from a food blogger we work with, ProperFoodie.
Influencers, when collaborated with correctly, can add huge value to your brand. That is to say, you build genuine relationships with them from your brand to theirs. The most important advice we would give is to have a look through their online presence; blog, social platforms etc. where you can see what they tend to post about, their interest, personality etc. to see if your brand would be a good fit for them and vice versa.
An example: if you’re a construction company and you want to collaborate with a food Instagrammer then we would ask why? What is the relevancy of your construction brand to their audience? It’s not a valuable partnership to either party. Instead, think about how you could connect with people and what you’re trying to achieve with it. Perhaps instead of food bloggers, the brand might perhaps look to get involved with a renovation blogger. There’s big accounts now of people renovating their homes and documenting them online. That construction brand we spoke of could get involved in the interior design and renovation online world and could be seen by that bloggers audience. The audience ultimately is following that particular blogger for a reason – either they love watching people do up their homes or they are doing something similar themselves and want to be in an online community of support and advice. If the blogger gives you a glowing review, their audience will see this and perhaps use your company for their renovations.
Agency strategic thinking…
It’s a simple strand of strategic thinking but one that we have seen producing successful campaigns time and time again. The power of the influencer is vast but remember that they have built up their audiences, spent hours upon hours on campaigns and photography producing beautiful content – it’s even a full time job for many. They therefore will want paying or rewarding in some way. Before you approach them, make sure you do have a budget or product to give away.
As an agency, we work with a number of bloggers and influencers on behalf of clients. One such blogger is the Proper Foodie. Working with her on a campaign for a client, we collaborated with Debbie to create a recipe post and competition. Debbie creates fantastic recipes, photo and video campaigns plus much more. We wanted to chat with her and include her insight about the world of the influencer, her recipe inspiration and top tips for photography plus much more…
So Debbie! Tell us more about you, ProperFoodie and how you began…
I set up ProperFoodie in October 2015 as a way to gather and document my recipes and experiences with food. I had always been interested in food and after completing my degree I went on to gain a Masters in Nutrition. As a Registered Nutritionist and Nutrition researcher I work in the academic and healthcare settings and mainly deal with the science behind how food interacts with our bodies and how it manipulates our health and wellbeing. ProperFoodie was, and still is, my way of interacting with real food and an outlet to explore my creative side. As my website has grown, so have my ambitions and skills. After completing an intensive chefs course, several photography courses and many online lessons in web development, video production and food writing I am now able to offer a wide range of marketing services for food businesses and brands, ranging from recipe development and food writing to production of food photography and recipe videos.
What’s your top tips for a brand working with a blogger?
Before you start to work with a blogger, have a clear idea of what it is you are wanting to achieve through the blogger partnership.
Is it to gain access to a new audience? To promote a new product? To improve your social media presence? Are you looking for a blogger that has expertise in a particular area and so can provide tailored insight or knowledge to your customers? Are you looking for someone that can provide you with new content, photos or videos?
Knowing what you want to achieve in the first place will first of all direct you to the right blogger with the right skills and secondly this will help the blogger to deliver exactly what you need.
Not all bloggers and brands will fit together and if the right information is clearly communicated I will always say up front if I think I’m right for the job or not.
Your photography on your blog and Instagram is fabulous! What would your top tips for food photography be?
Practice! Get out your camera/smartphone at every possible opportunity, the more I shoot the more I learn. There’s always room for improvement. I also look for inspiration in other food photographers and many of the courses I have attended have been a result of finding photographers on Youtube and Instagram.
Some of the best tips I have picked up along the way include: using the rule of thirds (get a grid up on your camera or screen phone), using layers (napkin or board under a plate), the rule of odds (1,3,5,7 etc objects in the shot), using the colour wheel to find matching or contrasting colours, and editing to enhance an image not to complete change it. Learning to shoot in artificial light has also been a real game changer – particularly in the dark winter months.
Any sneaky hacks for food photography?
It’s sometimes better to shoot a dish after its cooled down completely. A dish that is cooling as you shoot can dry out and get a skin on top – not a good look for photos. Other times it’s imperative you work fast to get an image, such as with ice cream. In this case I always set everything up first and have a good idea of how I will want to place things.
Backdrops are becoming a big business for food photography and one of the best hacks I have picked up along the way is to make by own with a piece of hard plywood, tester paints and a sponge. I love my unique, one-of-a-kind backdrops 🙂
You have lots of set ups for your food photography; how long does it take to do each shot? How often do you cook for your blog?
This really depends on exactly what I am cooking and if I’m creating a video for the recipe or just photos. Set up, production and clear down for a video can take a full day, whereas photos of just an end product may take 2-3 hours, including the cooking.
I like to try and do one cook each month that is just for the blog, but this can vary depending on how busy I am. Some of my work will be exclusively for the client and so this will never appear on my site or social channels.
If you could give a piece of advice for people looking to launch their own food Instagram and blog, what would it be?
Just get going as soon as you can. The online environment is forever changing but the longer you have been in it the more you learn and grow. There’s also a lot of help and advice out there now. So I’d definitely make an effort to research as much as possible, join blogger facegroups, find blogging websites and sign up to their newsletters. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also really important – so make sure you have a fair understanding of that.
In terms of building your online presence, have you found any hacks for it?
So many things are trial and error so mostly it’s just persistence and time. Social media presence is definitely about meaningful interaction with other people and their accounts. In terms of presence in Googles eyes, I think I’m still learning, but it’s all about user experience and providing the best information for your audience.
What is your favourite part of being a foodie online?
Being able to share my recipes with others and interacting with like-minded people locally and on the other side of the world is definitely a massive plus. The online community is vast and its continually growing and changing. Who knows where it’s going or where it will take me, I love the fact that its not set in stone and that there may be new opportunities at every turn!!
If everyone reading would make one of your recipes this summer, which one would you recommend?
My Thai red curry is definitely my favourite recipe at the minute. Its inspired by my travels in Thailand in 2012 so its a reminder of good times for me. But it’s also a really easy recipe to make and all that coconut, coriander, red chilli flavour is just fantastic. This recipe also uses roasted courgettes, which I think adds an amazing flavour and texture to the dish. It can be made with shop bought paste or if you’re feeling like making the whole thing from scratch there’s also a recipe for homemade Thai red curry paste.
So, how can you relate that to your brand?
Looking at Debbie’s content, you can tell the work that goes into being an influencer. Not only is she a nutritionist so spends time working out this info for her recipes but she creates and alters the recipe, she cooks the food and then takes all the photos/video before editing it all together before publishing it online and then promoting it on social media. We spell this out because the power of the influencer is just that; they’re all rounders and do all aspects of the campaign themselves.
Working with an influencer therefore holds that value for a brand. They have built up their own audience that is engaged with them. If they then enjoy a product or brand, it’s more than likely their audience will also be engaged with it – they followed the influencer for a reason in that they have similar interests or aesthetics. By that blogger promoting your product not only do you reach a new audience but you reach an engaged one.
If you’d like to discuss this more, we’d love to hear from you. We love working on digital campaigns and building your brand online, so give us a call!