How I ate free for 21 days by using Instagram

Using Instagram and, in particular, influencer outreach, Lauren Oakes explains in this guest post how she ate for free for 21 days using only the power and reach of social media.

Working in marketing means you need to be constantly be learning. We wanted to explore the power of Instagram and in particular influencer outreach, striving to dig deeper into this to gain insights to further our offering to our clients.

lauren oakes megaphone marketing

What we did

The challenge was to eat for free for 21 days using only Instagram outreach based around our Instagram accounts eating.melbourne and cocktails.melbourne.

We posted images from Melbourne’s top restaurants in exchange for all my meals over the 21 days. Breakfast was provided to eat at home and the remainder of the meals were eaten out.

MenuLog came on board as a sponsor and helped with the delivery of lunch meals and we were also provided with snack and fruit boxes for in between meals. All 100% sponsored by individual brands.mumbrella-food-shot-1-lauren-oakes-megaphone-marketing

Our platform of choice for influencer marketing is Instagram.

On Instagram each image will appear on the feed of your followers and potential customers. Do you think that is the same for Facebook? Not quite.

Approximately 6% of your followers on Facebook will see your posts. Instagram is the number one social media platform being used by millennials and with the growing power of influencer marketing on Instagram, it is one of the most powerful tools we have.

Customers trust recommendations from a third party more than the brand – its more personal than first party brand promotion.

Instagram is the first platform that is optimised for mobile-first, and in this capacity it thrives. It is easy to use, its features are limited so you don’t have to think – it’s addictive to use in its simplicity.

It is a common misconception that if you are selling a product which isn’t directly appealing that Instagram is not the platform for you.

After marketing everything from tyres to liposuction, I can assure you that is not the case! Once you have a fan on Instagram you display your images/promotions to their feed as many times as you wish – its a perfect channel to your target audience.


How we reached out

Our Instagram followers are based in Melbourne and all share the interest of food and cocktails. That list of around 70K is the exact target market for Melbourne restaurants.

We are offering the business direct access to this impressionable audience. There is a sense of ease for the restaurant, we let them do what they do best (food) and we help them with what we know (content marketing). Small price tag to put their restaurant in front of 70K local foodies.

To make this appealing for the brands involved, we had the perfect influencer package. Combining our Instagram accounts with promoting our findings through the form of a blog and a video in which each restaurant will be included. We had the exact social media cocktail to make this a mutually beneficial offering.

To reach out to the restaurants, the best way, is straight to their inbox.

You want to help out these people – but they will also be helping you so it is important to be personal and friendly.

Email software such as Persist IQ can help automate this process. Ensure to email at optimal times – in the middle of the workday, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Mondays are hectic after the weekend and your email may be a very low priority, and too late in the week and you risk getting put off again till next week.

Finally the content of the email is important to grab the attention, make sure you lead with how they will benefit from the collaboration and make them want to read on. Short and sweet is a classic rule to stick with.

Another aspect which we hold for future endeavours is relationship building. We connect with a group of Melbourne’s finest restaurants and entrepreneurs and have the opportunity to help these people out but also form a connection in which we can mutually benefit from immediately and in the future.


What we learned

Other than learning how to keep eating when you are full! We discovered several insights to help expand our knowledge and offering.

Our following increased dramatically throughout the 21 days while we were posting three times per day. Something that may not be a fit for all pages but gained us over 150 followers per day.

This was a surprising outcome and we have now increased our account activity.

Does this give us proof of a scaleable strategy? It shows the relevance in our audience, friends tag friends in the images they like and they often then follow both eating.melbourne and the restaurant in question. Both benefitting from this interaction.

One of the businesses informed us that while on the challenge and had their busiest week to date as a result of the influencer marketing on eating.melbourne.

This is a brilliant result and one that proves the concept. One of the troubles with influencer marketing is being able to track the results. So confirmation of this is helpful.

The value in building an audience and sharing interests with that audience, instead of pushing directly for a sale from the consumer, is a powerful strategy. We aren’t asking for a like or a click through, we are simply providing an appealing image and the user is not pressured.

There are insights to be devised from the type of companies that saw value in influencer marketing.

The foodie industry has been taking charge in the Instagram space for some time now and the benefits are common knowledge. Instagram gives us the ability to capture the experience and share which is where the appeal lies for most who were involved. In industries which are not so visual, this is where we need to be convincing in that fact that Instagram can still produce a successful strategy.

Launching an influencer campaign takes work. But here lies the proof that it is successful.

If you’re not yet using Influencer outreach as part of your marketing plan, simply put…what are you waiting for?

You can read more about the 21 day challenge and the restaurants involved here. 

Lauren Oakes is an account manager at Megaphone Marketing


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