Updated: Jul 18, 2018
I receive questions almost everyday from followers about Instagram, building a following, food photography, etc. In this blog post, I answer several of these awesome questions!
The most important advice I have to grow a following on Instagram is to always post high quality content. Each of the photos you post are in your gallery forever, so definitely be proud of every individual picture you post, in addition to your collection as a whole. If this means posting less frequently than you would like to, it is ok! Potential new followers have to look at your gallery page before deciding whether or not to hit that follow button; make it so people can't not follow you!
I also tag 20 related Instagram accounts and comment <30 hashtags in every photo, but this tactic seems less effective with the new algorithm.
Lastly, I suggest following and engaging with a bunch of Instagrams in your niche. This way you can make Instagram friends who will engage with your content! Your page will get more visibility, followers, and will join a network of similar Instagrammers.
How do you get restaurants and brands to notice your Instagram? (@sisterfoodiesri)
The answer to this question is fairly similar to the one above. When restaurants are looking for Instagrammers to collaborate with, they are looking at following, engagement, and content creation skills. If you continue to produce quality content and grow your following, restaurants, PR companies, and brands will notice you!
The large majority of the time, I let restaurants reach out to me, as opposed to cold calling restaurants myself. However, if you do want to reach out to a specific restaurant to collaborate with, I recommend including specific reasons why your Instagram is unique (e.g. high engagement rate, high growth rate, and follower demographics that would be appealing to the restaurant). Give the restaurant incentive to want to work with you!
How do gift card giveaways work? (@_for_the_love_of_food___)
Restaurants will normally reach out to me over email or DM requesting a dine-in and giveaway collaboration. At the dine-in, I take photos and try dishes as normal. If the restaurant does not provide me with the gift card while I am there, it is assumed that they will send the winner the gift card. I reach out to my restaurant contact asking them what information they want me to collect from the ultimate giveaway winner (full name, email, mailing address, etc). If the restaurant gives me the gift card, I am responsible for mailing it out.
Usually the rules to enter the giveaway are (1) Follow your Instagram and the restaurant's Instagram, (2) Like the photo, and (3) Tag a friend in the comments. I let giveaways last for 1-3 days and then select a winner by copying and pasting the Instagram comments into a random name selector from Google (I delete entries without a friend tagged before selecting a winner). Finally, I check that the winner completed all rules of the giveaway before announcing the winner on Instagram story and collecting their mailing information!
If you do not want to wait to collaborate with a restaurant, you can always purchase your own gift card or giveaway some other prize (like baked goods)!
Phone or DSLR camera? (@ca_lynch_)
Almost all of the photos I post are taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6. I honestly just use the kit lens and the food setting on the camera (lol)! However, I know plenty of influencers who use their iPhones!
What do you use to edit photos? (@ca_lynch_)
Snapseed! There's a "selective" tool I use on every picture. You can edit specific parts of the picture to make the food look more vibrant! I also use the "details" feature to boost the clarity of the photo.
How long do you spend on Instagram daily (editing photos, liking, commenting, etc.)? (@full.time.foodie)
I can spend between 1-5 hours per day on Instagram-related things, depending on how busy I am otherwise! If I post, I will always "engage the post" for 30-40 minutes after posting. This involves responding to comments immediately and liking other people's photos who liked your photo. Engaging the post is supposed to increase the number of people Instagram shows your photo to!
On heavier Instagram days, I spend a lot of time liking posts, sifting through photos I had taken earlier, and editing my favorite photos. In addition, I spend around 2 hours at each restaurant or influencer event!
Although sometimes it feels like I spend so much time doing Instagram that it could be a second job, I genuinely enjoy all the work I do! It is so rewarding to know that your effort has resulted in a growing following, new community of influencer friends, relationships with restaurant/PR companies, and much more!
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment!