Ever wonder how to grow on Instagram and TikTok as a food influencer? Keep reading to learn all about Diana and CK’s journey to making a full-time income as a food influencer.
Who are Diana and CK of Hypefoodies
Diana and CK are initially from Springfield, Virginia, and they quickly decided to focus their food reviews on the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas in 2017. Both Diana and CK were working full-time when they started, but they chose to pursue it with the intention to make it an income source. Today, Diana works her original job part-time because she enjoys it, but CK is fully retired from his previous job and works as a food influencer full-time.
Brand Deals in the Food Influencer World
Diana and CK start by narrowing down what the company really wants. Is the company looking for a giveaway hosted on their social media, sponsored posts, a video promo, etc.? Once this has been established, Diana and CK will share their rates with the company and discuss details.
Something to note is that Diana and CK will charge differently based on what they film with. Most of their social media content is taken on their iPhones, which is much easier to film with than their DSLR camera. If a company wants them to film on their DSLR or create a video promo, their rate will be higher because they are charging the company the videographer rates. Their video promos take hours to edit, so they also consider this when setting their rates.
The Value of Transparency
Diana and CK are a great team, but what happens when they disagree on a food or restaurant experience? To keep things authentic, they still post their thoughts on the food and their experience. If you are part of a partnership, remember that it’s okay to disagree, and different people have their own opinions and tastes. In the long run, Diana and CK have found that their audience really enjoys this transparency.
In addition, they will always focus on food that they truly love. If they eat at a restaurant and both don’t enjoy a dish, they’ll usually focus on sharing the food they did enjoy and skip over the ones they didn’t love as much. This keeps their social media reviews honest but overall positive as they always want to share the love with the many small restaurants they support.
Instagram vs. TikTok
Both social media platforms have been invaluable to Diana and CK for growing Hypefoodies. However, they noted that Instagram has a much more active audience that leaves comments and messages. However, both are valuable resources that expose them to different audiences and give them the chance to share different content styles. Currently, Diana creates all of their TikTok content, and CK makes their Instagram content.
Instagram giveaways have also been an excellent way for Diana and CK to grow. They never reach out to restaurants to get products for giveaways, but they have companies reach out to them about hosting giveaways on their Instagram because they have good engagement rates. This has led them to host giveaways weekly on their Instagram.
Food Influencer Partnerships
One of Diana and CK’s favorite experiences have been Fortune House, a small business in Burt, Virginia. Fortune House has been open for over 20 years and was used to seeing the same customers.
Diana and CK made two videos on Fortune House on a whim because they genuinely enjoyed the food. These videos had around 100,000 views between Instagram and TikTok. Within a day, Fortune House was already having new customers coming in.
When Hypefoodies made a video about Fortune House, the owners immediately saw many new faces. On their second visit to Fortune House, Diana and CK were thanked and treated like the owners’ own children, which was a special experience for them.
Diana and CK have noticed that some small businesses sleep on the power of influencer marketing, which is why it excites them to help promote these businesses and show the effect it can have on their business.
They noted that they’ve even had people comment two hours after a post went live that they just finished eating at the restaurant and enjoyed it, which amazes them. This shows that they have a strong relationship and engagement with their audience. They hope to continue this relationship even as they grow into even bigger influencers.
To date, one of their most surprising partnerships was a Dunkin’ Donuts giveaway with Wizards tickets. In the future, Diana and CK are excited to possibly work with an apartment complex to create a Hype approved food list for people living in that area.
Take note of trends, holidays, and more. Diana and CK recently posted compilations of black-owned restaurants for Black History Month. These videos have helped support smaller, black-owned businesses in the area and have since gone viral. They’ve received lots of positive feedback for supporting black-owned companies and genuinely enjoyed sharing about restaurants they are passionate about. Consider what trends, holidays, and groups you can highlight for your own social media. Examples could be cruelty-free makeup brands, small businesses, ethical consumerism, Halloween-themed products, and much more.
Don’t underestimate the power of video. Diana and CK are very creative with their videos on Instagram and TikTok. Video is a popular, attractive medium that many people enjoy, and it’s more personable. For example, Diana and CK have filmed short videos of a chef talking about their cuisine at a restaurant, giving the chef a voice on their platform, which their followers have responded to positively.
Don’t be afraid to film in casual settings. Diana and CK have been getting a lot of positive feedback from viewers on their “car food reviews.” These reviews are short videos of them reviewing food in their car. People enjoy this casual, down-to-earth style of filming. For many, this can make them feel like they’re listening to their friends tell them about their latest eats. Try incorporating this into your own content by using unique settings, like your car, kitchen, or even sitting on your floor, to set your audience at ease.
Give back to your audience. Diana and CK have created a free Hype approved guide which shares their top favorite restaurants that are “Hype approved.” None of these restaurants are sponsored but true favorites. This is an excellent resource for their audience that sets them apart from other social media influencers. They’ve also organized the restaurants on this guide by location to make it easy for their audience to find restaurants in their area. To implement this, give back to your audience with free printables, guides, blog posts, or other resources that’ll keep them coming back to you for more recommendations and resources.