Silicon Valley Foodies: Using Localization To Find Success on Instagram
Who is behind Silicon Valley Foodies?
After embarking on a career in tech, the owner of Silicon Valley Foodies, Rachel, decided to create an Instagram page dedicated to some of the best food spots in the area. Since creating the account five years ago, Rachel has managed to accumulate over 23,000 followers and has published over 500 posts. She describes how she came to create the Silicon Valley Foodies account as a way to overcome her issues with self-esteem.
‘I have always loved food. I have always loved taking photos of food and finding new places but I was also very self-conscious and paranoid about how people would perceive me. I think that was just professionally and even now it’s something that I struggle with a little bit, how I’m perceived by my colleagues. I’m going to be presented in a certain line, especially as a woman of color. So that is just something that I struggle with.’
She goes on to explain the origins of the account.
‘But then at some point, I was just, you know what, I’m going to do this. I kind of just applied the same psychology of what I would like in a food Instagram with recommendations in the area that were location-specific, which is why I started with Silicon Valley Foodies.’
The owner of Silicon Valley Foodies also explains how she maintains a high level of engagement and traction on her Instagram account.
‘In the beginning, I think the fact that my account was location-specific, and people look for locations when looking for things, really helped me. I think when I tried to post really regularly, I think that actually really helped me a lot. I also ran a lot of giveaways in the beginning. Their voice helped me grow a lot of the time and now I feel I’m able to repay a lot of businesses.’
Highlighting local businesses in the food industry
Rachel is also heavily affiliated with Locale, a marketplace that places local businesses at the forefront of its mission. She further explains her relationship with the brand.
‘It was started by a few folks that left tech and they started it maybe at the beginning of the pandemic. They reached out and they were like ‘Hey, do you want to partner on this?’ I love the concept of it. It was supporting local businesses and it was delivering farm fresh goods to your door. It’s just been incredible to see them grow up and explore. They’ve expanded to all the Bay Area and LA and so I’ve stayed very loyal to them throughout the entire process.’
She continues to elucidate her appreciation for local businesses and how they impact her decisions when considering potential brand deals.
‘For me, I think one, if it’s a local business, I think I’m more inclined to it. Especially, if it’s something that will resonate with my audience, I think that’s a big thing for me. Two, if I’ve eaten or consumed, or used the products before. I think that’s also a big thing for me. I don’t ever want to advertise something that I don’t stand behind. If it’s for the ones where I’ve tried it before but it feels it does not fit with the larger theme, I do try to push it towards other mediums like Stories that are a little more temporary and I do share lifestyle content there.’
Rachel also highlights her most successful brand campaign and further describes her measures for success when completing this type of collaboration.
‘It’s kind of hard to measure with local businesses and I’ve never charged when I partnered with them. I think a lot of the feedback comes in the form of bringing more customers in or being mentioned a lot but there’s no way to capture that metric. For example, I collaborated with an associate chef recently and he says that almost every week he gets customers mentioning me, in some way or another in their reservations. So that’s really good to hear but again, it’s not quantitative.’
Building a new community through social media
Rachel spends her days working for tech giant Meta but views the Silicon Valley Foodies account as a way to branch out and mix with other social groups.
‘The experience I’ve enjoyed the most is actually that I’ve made friends with a lot of people in the food and restaurant industry. That has been a huge blessing because I work in tech and a lot of my friends work in tech so I’m surrounded by tech folks every day. So it’s been very eye-opening and it’s also just been a really good experience to make friends that are in a different space and to share our experiences.’
She also explains how her presence on social media has changed her perception of the restaurant industry as a whole.
‘I now have a better understanding of the struggles. I think I’ve developed a lot more empathy for folks in the food and restaurant industry in ways that I didn’t know before. It’s beyond just tipping right. So, it’s been really rewarding.’
Supporting viral trends as a food influencer
Influencer marketing and food seem to be a perfect pair with many influencers jumping on various trends in order to gain more attention on their posts. Rachel also gives her opinion on some of the industry’s most significant trends.
‘What I’m seeing is a lot of voiceovers. I’m seeing a lot of people do very well with talking over things. I think people like an auditory consumption of information because in the past it used to be just visual. But now, if people are reading things out and you get all of that at once, I think it seeks to attract people.’
Rachel also delves deeper into her hopes for the future of influencer marketing.
‘I think it shows the impact of marketing and so I think we’re going to see a lot more movement from using actual ads and businesses investing in other forms of advertising to influencer marketing. I truly think that as long as these businesses have good ways to distinguish authentic accounts that have an actual impact and they target those influencers, I think that’s going to be the best. If I was in a marketing team for any brand, I would definitely utilize that.’
Although Rachel considers Silicon Valley Foodies to be a hobby that she completes in her spare time, her reach and success on the platform are undeniable. She finalizes by commending her presence on the platform.
‘I really do enjoy this because I find a lot of joy in supporting local businesses. I think it’s just the biggest blessing.’