Who is Jennifer Long?
Jennifer Long graduated from Boston University with a hospitality degree. During her senior year, she realized she enjoyed hospitality services but was more passionate about trying new foods. Her passion for food came through on her personal Instagram, and people began telling her that she should start a food page.
Today, she works full-time in tech after taking software engineering courses and runs a food blog, which she started in December 2017, and food Instagram, BostonFoodBae. Her food Instagram was originally named Jennifer Long Eats before she changed it to represent her focus on the Boston food scene.
Jennifer shares that one of her most viewed posts was about an upscale speakeasy in Boston. The post on Next Door Speakeasy was random. However, it led many people to follow her based on that one Instagram video, showing that you never know what may take off.
She notes, “I started focusing on Instagram reels kind of recently too because I think Instagram is prioritizing Instagram reals for creators now since they’re competing with TikTok.”
As a result of this change, Jennifer started to post more videos instead of photos, which led to greater engagement on her Instagram.
Another recent hit for Jennifer was a post sharing her top 15 Asian-owned restaurants or businesses in Boston for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Growing a Successful Blog and Foodstagram Account
Jennifer notes that one of the trickiest parts of growing on Instagram is being flooded with invitations from restaurants and brands.
“It’s so easy to get consumed by all the paid sponsorships and all that stuff, like free food [and] free invites… Some places that were just average, I did post just because I felt bad that people were inviting me.”
However, Jennifer notes that a couple of months ago, she realized that she wasn’t “too happy with where my brand was going… I did end some of my partnerships with some brands that I felt I was posting too much of, or it didn’t go exactly with my brand. What I’m trying to do right now is try to be more authentic, basically bring back why I did this in the first place.”
As a result of this change, Jennifer shares that her following has improved, and people are enjoying her food content and posts showcasing her personality and life.
She notes, “I’m trying my best to be more authentic, which I think is the number one thing to a successful blog.”
Jennifer’s Brand Partnerships
Jennifer shares that one of her best brand partnerships has been with Dunkin’.
She notes that they have routinely treated her and other bloggers well, saying, “It’s usually three rounds of posting, so it’s three-month contracts where we just have to post once, one static post each month, so a total of three posts, and then each round also has three stories, which is very reasonable for the price [they pay].”
Jennifer shares that she negotiates her pricing based on following and engagement. She works with Dunkin’ through a PR company, and she sends over her engagement and insight metrics after each post. They are usually most interested in her metrics that show how many people saved the post, liked it, and commented on it.
She notes that some bloggers notice a decrease in engagement on sponsored posts compared to organic content.
“I think that is kind of true in terms of some of my posts with Dunkin’, but I think at the same time that’s why I try to mix it up a little bit sometimes. I’m trying [out] a reel coming up.”
Many of her Dunkin’ posts are pictures of her holding a Dunkin’ cup or donut.
“I think every time I post a picture with me specifically, it does get more engagement for some reason… I think they [her followers] like that kind of more interactive, personal content where it’s with my face or me posing with the cup.”
Jennifer’s Brand Pet Peeves
Jennifer shares that she has had overall good experiences working with brands. One thing that is particularly important to her is professional communication.
Something she doesn’t like about brand interactions is when “Brands reach out, and it seems like because they’re giving us free things, like free food or free products, that we [the influencers] are the ones that owe them… They make it sound like you have to post because they gave you something for free.”
She notes that this leads to awkward situations where she feels pressure to post about a restaurant even when she doesn’t love the food.
To avoid this, Jennifer shares, “I take a lot of precaution, but that’s one thing I don’t like about [working with] some restaurants.”
The Future of the Creator Marketplace
Jennifer shares that she would love to see more authenticity online.
“If I had to choose one thing, It’s just more authenticity. Going back to what I said, I do see a lot of bloggers that steer away from their authentic selves because it’s so easy to get consumed by the paid partnerships and the views and everything.”
She notes that sometimes people try to get content just for views, even though it’s not authentic to them.
“I would love to see people just having more authentic content.”
Big Goals & Final Thoughts
When asked about her dream collab, Jennifer shared that her dream collab would be working with different Asian supermarkets throughout the nation. She also loves SPAM and ramen brands. Her favorite collaborations are usually with local restaurants in Boston, and she would also like to work with bigger Asian brands.
Another goal of hers is to branch out and showcase home cooking on her platforms.
Jennifer explains, “Something I really admire is all the aesthetic cooking content, where people are just effortlessly making food.”
She is currently working on making her sunroom into a more aesthetic space where she can share cooking and drink videos, which will be very different from her typical restaurant content.