Influencers have taken a hit during the pandemic which means many are looking for new partnerships (and some are happy to reduce their usual fees). Sending your best selling dishes to their home on a Friday night is a worthwhile branding exercise and could help you get those contactless orders you need right now.

Wondering how to make contact with influencers? You can engage service providers who do this for you, but it will cost you, and as long as the pandemic reigns, being careful with marketing budgets is where it's at, so here's a quick step by step guide so you can DIY and save on marketing costs.

You can fast-track a lot of these steps by using a web app such as which has a free 7-day trial. I had a look around and the 7-day trial lets you do most of the work you need to find an influencer. If you take your influencer marketing seriously, it'd be worth signing up for the paid version. But if you want the step-by-step guide to the good old fashioned manual way, read on!

Step 1. Find influencers in your restaurant's delivery radius

On Instagram, use the search function to punch in your location you want to target. Be specific where possible, e.g. if your restaurant is in Parnell, search Parnell or nearby your delivery radius. You'll then see a list of posts from people who have tagged that location in their posts, meaning they've visited recently. This is a good place to start. You can also search for your restaurant name and see if any influencers have already patroned.

Step 2. Stalk the influencers!

Click on the posts of the beautiful people, they tend to have more followers (please don't shoot the messenger, it's simply how influencer marketing goes!). For all the visual learners, here's a quick screen recording of me looking up Christchurch and finding an influencer. This guy looks like a gym buff, but everyone loves a cheat meal!

Step 3. Assess the influencers: Are they right for your restaurant?

How many followers do they have? Tens of thousands of followers look great, but quite often, those with smaller followings have more engagement and trust with their audience. Further, the more followers, generally, the higher the fee to work with them. Are they posting content that aligns with your brand and your offering? For example, if you're a family restaurant, a mum/family will suit you better than a young socialite. Vice versa if you're selling sexy cocktails.

Step 4. Check their followers are local

This is important. Check that enough of their followers are based in your area. Someone might have tens of thousands of followers, but if most are based in Australia, that's of little use to your restaurant. To find out if their followers are locals, once again you'll choose to use a tool like, or you can DIY. DIY'ers: take a quick look through the people following them and see where they are located or where they have pinned themselves on their posts. It will take a little time, but it will be the difference between reaching the relevant audience or not.

Step 5. Slide into their DMs!

When you find a good match, send them a message and see if they are interested in working with you. Tell them that you're interested in partnering with them to help their followers find your restaurant. Tell them why you think they're a good fit - a little flattery never hurts.

Step 6. Negotiate terms

Naturally, you'll need to "talk turkey" and make them an offer. For some influencers, being sent a couple of courses will make them ecstatic. For others, they'll want free meals plus a cash incentive. The incentive will vary, which makes it hard to offer a rule of thumb on what's appropriate. Bring your negotiating skills and trust your gut. Fees also depend on what you expect from them in return, more on this below.

Step 7. Be clear on what they need to do for you

Set their deliverables in stone. What is it that you expect from them? A post, a mention on their stories with a swipe up link to your website? A combination of both of these is particularly effective. Stories get big engagement and posts mean that when the story has expired, you've got that permanent fixture on their profile that their followers can refer to.

Step 8. Determine how to measure success

Influencer marketing is a branding exercise, rather than an exercise in performance marketing, so the results are often hard to measure. Soft metrics you can track are comments and likes on their post and mentions in passing from your customers. If your online ordering system allows, you can also use a discount code so that the influencer's followers get a XX% discount on their meals. This is a more effective way to determine the success of a campaign, but it will cut into your margins. 

Want to learn more about influencer marketing? Check out the top 7 insights every brand manager or marketer should take away from the MA's 2019 Digital Day Out influencer panel.

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