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Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie on Working with Restaurants, Her Favorite Restaurants, and More

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Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie on Working with Restaurants, Her Favorite Restaurants, and More

It can be hard to stand out on Instagram, especially in saturated niches. However, Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie managed to do just that. Today, Julie Moreno shares her journey of becoming a food influencer, working with brands, and her tips for creating engaging content to help you stand out on Instagram.

Who is Julie Moreno?

Julie Moreno was born in Bogota, Columbia, and moved to Canada when she was only eight years old. She’s lived in Calgary for 21 years and loves the many neighborhoods and exciting places to eat in Calgary

Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie on Working with Restaurants, Her Favorite Restaurants, and More

Julie Moreno’s food Instagram account started as a way to share a challenge that she took on with her husband: eating at every brunch place in Calgary together. 

“So we started going to all these different brunch places, and we would take pictures of the food, and we would start posting them on Facebook just to post them somewhere, and then I realized that not everybody on my Facebook would want to see my food pictures. So then I was like, maybe there’s a better platform for this.”

This realization led Julie to create her popular food account, Calgary.Foodie, in 2016. Initially, her account was a hobby project, but now it’s evolved into an influential platform and deep passion of hers. 

Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie on Working with Restaurants, Her Favorite Restaurants, and More

Creating Engaging Content

Julie Moreno shares that giveaways are always popular on her Instagram account because they get a lot of traction. 

“It honestly just depends on what time you post, what day you post, so not necessarily always the content.”

She also finds that Instagram stories with polls or questions also get the most engagement from her followers. 

Working with Brands

One of Julie’s marketing strategies to grow her page to where it’s at today was creating a price or collaboration sheet package on Canva. This package details all of the products that she offers, along with their costs, in an aesthetically pleasing format. 

Using her package, Julie will reach out to restaurants and say, “Hey, I would love to work with you. Here’s what I can offer and the costs. Some are responsive. Some are not, depending on the budget and the size and things like that.”

She stresses, “If you don’t put yourself out there… No risk, no reward [that] kind of thing, so that’s basically how I’ve done it.”

Julie shares that her collaborations are half collaborations that she initiated by reaching out to the brand and half when companies approached her through messages on her Instagram or emails. 

Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie on Working with Restaurants, Her Favorite Restaurants, and More

Choosing Brands to Work With

Julie has several parameters that a brand must meet when she considers what brands to work with. 

For starters, they must offer a product or service that she genuinely likes and would use in her own life. 

For example, Julie will sometimes be reached out to by seafood restaurants. However, she is allergic to shellfish, so she can’t work with many seafood restaurants because she can’t eat their food. 

“I don’t want to be disingenuous about what I post.”

Another factor she considers is how a brand wants to work with her. 

“For example, when brands contact me for discount codes or things like that, I’ve personally found that those don’t really work with my following, so if that’s what they offer, then I try to suggest something else and come to a different agreement.”

Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie on Working with Restaurants, Her Favorite Restaurants, and More

Julie shares that her most successful campaigns are usually ones where she can connect with the owners of the brand or restaurant, especially when the connection goes beyond the product itself. 

She personally enjoys collaborating with these restaurants or small businesses more than once if she’s built a good rapport with them. 

“I feel like these [collaborations] are the most successful because there’s more of a personal aspect involved, not just the product, so we both want it to succeed, and then by working together and building that rapport, I think it becomes more successful when you’re more invested in the relationship as well.”

Working with Milestones

One of her favorite campaigns to date is working with Milestones, a restaurant chain in Canada. Julie notes that she’s worked with them several times and has met the manager and head chef at the local location many times. 

“They’ve always been very, very nice [and] welcoming, great to work with. They have creative minds as well.”

During past campaigns, Julie took pictures of Milestones’ new food for Instagram posts and stories to share with her followers. The goal of her campaigns with Milestones was usually to promote their new menus or new items added to their existing menu. She’s also hosted giveaways with them. 

Julie’s Advice for Brands 

Julie recommends that brands work to build relationships and rapport with influencers. 

A negative experience with brands that she has noticed is brands reaching out to her but never getting back to her after she responded that she was interested in working with them. 

“One thing I love about brands is when they have really good communication with you and everything’s clear and easy and fun versus a lack of communication and the community that’s really important.”

Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie on Working with Restaurants, Her Favorite Restaurants, and More

Standing out in the Foodstagram World

Julie shares that she personally likes to share a little bit of everything on her foodstagram, but many food influencers enjoy specializing in a specific cuisine which is also great. 

Another critical thing to consider when building an Instagram account is the style of photography. She shares, “I think everyone has a picture, in their mind, [and] different ways they take pictures, like if there’s angles or photos or different ways they edit their pictures and things like that.”

Another thing that Julie does to stand out on Instagram is she adds her logo to all of her pictures. She shares that this makes her images different and brands them so people know these pictures are hers. 

She also notes that she likes to focus on local, small businesses. 

“I like to focus on that [small businesses] a lot…, especially since COVID. A lot of people are trying to make their living off of these entrepreneurial businesses, and I like to support that as well.”

Future Plans & Recommendations

Julie shares that her favorite restaurants are constantly changing. However, she is currently loving Hayden Block in Kensington in Calgary because of their delicious food and drinks. She notes that the atmosphere and neighborhood that the restaurant is located in is also scenic and fun to walk around before dinner. 

Another restaurant she recommends is Mercato, a delicious Italian restaurant in Calgary, which she shares has excellent steak, pasta, and Italian food. Her favorite brunch spot is Monki, which has several locations in Canada. 

Julie Moreno of Calgary.Foodie on Working with Restaurants, Her Favorite Restaurants, and More

In terms of future content, Julie shares that she is excited to share about a new restaurant called Central Taps. She just attended the soft opening and shared that the atmosphere, location, staff, food, and drink were really great. 

Amy DeYoung is a freelance blog post writer covering influencer marketing and business topics. As the daughter of two business owners, she's been fascinated by all things business from a young age, which led her to graduate from college with a bachelor's degree in business. When she's not typing away, she spends her time reading nonfiction books and mystery novels, baking scrumptious desserts, and playing with her dog.

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