Michele Thompson – A Look at the Journey to Becoming a Successful Food Influencer
In an interview with Michele Thompson, a Chicago based food influencer, Thompson discussed how she got her start as a food influencer, having to struggle to start over in a different city, and what collaborations she is most interested in for the future.
MICHELE THOMPSON-THE FOOD SNOB
Michele Thompson, better known as chelethefoodsnob on Instagram, has a story to tell when it comes to the struggles and triumphs of becoming a food influencer and finding successful brand collaborations. Her background in food manufacturing and love of tasty dishes has given her a unique way of looking at how to make influencer collaborations successful.
You can see from her education and career that she has an interest in all aspects of food. Thompson graduated from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University with a Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology and later went on to earn a Master’s in Family and Consumer Science and Nutrition. Michele has also spent a significant amount of time in her career focused on food quality from large organizations such as Land-O-Lakes, Kraft-Heinz, and Golden Peanut.
Thompson has 26.8K followers on Instagram and 36K followers on TikTok. She frequently posts information on the local restaurants and social experiences in the Chicago area. As a self-made content creator and food influencer, Michele is not a stranger to the challenges becoming an influencer can pose.
CHALLENGES OF BEING A FOOD INFLUENCER
In 2018, Michele took the leap into becoming a blogger and food influencer on Instagram and developed The Food Snob brand. The Food Snob brand shares Thompson’s passion for meal planning, cooking, traveling, drink-making, exploring new restaurants, and supporting minority and female-owned restaurants.
A challenge Thompson faced along the way was living in a small town with few restaurants and nothing to do. When she began her journey as a food influencer she was living in Georgia. She reports, “I would literally drive back and forth between Atlanta, which was like two and a half hours away just to get content.”
Another challenge for Thompson in becoming a food influencer was relocating to different cities. She has lived in Ohio, Minnesota, Georgia and currently resides in Illinois. Michele said, “I’ve had to move…had to start all the way over. That was very challenging because a lot of people like to follow a person who lives near them. I lost a lot of followers. I basically had to start over and then build back up my audience.”
Even with content challenges and relocating to various cities in the United States, Michele has continued to build upon her brand and gain new followers. Ultimately, leading to additional collaborations and partnerships with food or restaurant brands.
THE FOOD SNOB COLLABORATIONS
Thompson has had several successful collaborations from smaller local restaurants to large name brand companies. Michele’s biggest success, however, came from her own research and approaching a business owner about posting a video about them. The restaurant she hails as the most successful collaboration was Mimi’s Taste of Cuba. Her posted video received 84K views. In another collaboration, Michele was sought out by the business owner to post a reel on their restaurant, DJs Cafe. That reel was viewed 60K times on TikTok.
In addition to local small restaurant partnerships, Thompson has collaborated with Kroger, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds. In her partnership with McDonalds, Michele was featuring the Oreo and Chips Ahoy McFlurry.
THE FOOD SNOB’S FUTURE
Michele Thompson, in the interview, discussed her love of travel. Her dream collaboration is with a travel company or an airline. She said, “I love Chicago, but I absolutely love to travel. I would love to do what I do here internationally, that’s been a goal of mine for a minute. Take me across the world. Go to Thailand, London, and Beijing.”
Another goal for the future is a partnership with Target or a large clothing or fashion brand. Michele would like to include the clothing partnerships as part of her vibe when she is posting about food and places to eat.
Thompson’s current project is cooking. She plans to expand her brand by providing opportunities for followers to learn from her via cooking reels and recipes.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
So what does Michele Thompson say about her own journey to becoming a food influencer?
Michele said, “I always tell people, if anybody would have told me back in 2018, this is where I would be right now. I would think that they were nuts. When I launched, I had my idea. A first spark. Nothing happens overnight. Be patient with it. I couldn’t have made it to the next level if I didn’t have a mentor, if I didn’t have someone helping me, someone that I can bounce ideas off of. You can only get so far by yourself. It’s okay to ask for help.”
Whether you want to become an influencer or start a business, these are wise words to listen to. Thompson has become successful with the help of patience, a dream, and dedication to something she loves.
Although chelethefoodsnob was faced with trials and tribulations on her journey to branding herself as a food influencer, she has found success in each city she’s lived in through hard work and successful brand collaborations. You can check out more on Michele Thompson at the Food Snob Life.