Running a tight social media ship is a must in the industry, with a solid following holding the potential to pack out venues and garner loyal support. So who better to learn from than the social media gurus themselves — food bloggers.

Here, 2017 Restaurant Leaders Summit panelist Catherine Slogrove from Papaya PR looks at how to take a creative digital approach and examines the Papaya Food Blogger Appetite 2017 survey.

Love them or loathe them, food bloggers know a thing or two about social media with followings of 20,000-plus the norm on Instagram. But according to Papaya’s Food Blogger Appetite survey, 45 percent of bloggers believe restaurants are getting this valuable marketing tool wrong.

It’s not enough to just be active and present on Instagram, you need to approach it in a strategic way to do a product or venue justice. Think about who you are targeting, the imagery that will appeal, the bloggers you can leverage and how it fits in with your overarching marketing strategy.

It’s also important to get familiar with the platform, understand the hashtag rhetoric and its targeting capabilities. If you’re going to invest in social media marketing, it’s worth setting yourself up for success.

So, what is the trick to generating a following of foodies and having enticing pictures of your venue plastered over Instagram?

  1. Turn up the lights

A little mood lighting may be good for lovers, but 60 percent of food bloggers urged venues to ‘turn up the lights’ for Insta-worthy food shots. Natural lighting is best for food photography, and if you want to increase your visibility on social media, make it a good environment for pictures of your venue to shine.

  1. Be regular

Post at least once a day with consistent, high-quality imagery. Nearly half of the food bloggers surveyed identified poor-quality imagery and consistency as the main contributing factor to lacklustre social media.

  1. Use the right hashtags

Ensure you are using high-traffic hashtags for the food and beverage industry.  To reach maximum traffic, use all 30 tags and hashtag your surrounding suburbs along with high-traffic tags including #sydneyeats #sydneyfoodie and #eeeats among others.

  1. Engage food bloggers that align

They’re a controversial lot, but food bloggers are passionate about food evangelism and have the influence to build momentum for your venue. Fifty percent of food bloggers find out about new venues via direct outreach from PR agencies or venues themselves. Most bloggers have their email address on their Instagram handles, so reach out directly to see whether they’d be interesting in covering yours.

Slogrove is among more than 30 leading operators, industry experts and government officials who will speak at the summit on topics ranging from staffing and keeping costs in check to driving revenue and marketing.

Other speakers include:

  • Josh Niland, owner, Saint Peter
  • Tony Panetta, executive chef, International Convention Centre Sydney
  • Lisa Margan, co-owner, Margan winery and restaurant in the Hunter Valley
  • Nino Zoccali, owner, The Restaurant Pendolino and La Rosa
  • Andrew El-Bayeh, director of Example PR and former marketing director at Merivale
  • Jason Jelicich, partner and senior business coach, Barmetrix
  • Paul Rifkin, executive chef, Campbelltown Catholic Club
  • Clovis Young, founder, Mad Mex
  • Palisa Anderson, founder, Chat Thai
  • Ramzey Choker, founder, The Grounds
  • Dan Mylonas, art director, The Grounds
  • Mo Wyse, owner, Smith & Daughters
  • Jay Yip, ‎general manager tourism, trade, development, Trippas White Group
  • Geoff Ikin, general manager, global media, PR and social, Tourism Australia
  • Natalie James, Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Alex Hawke, assistant minister for Border Protection and Immigration

With plenty of networking opportunities throughout the day, the Restaurant Leaders Summit promises to be an invaluable event for all stakeholders within the restaurant and foodservice industry.

For restaurant trade (operators, managers, chefs, etc) tickets are priced at $349 + GST. Supplier tickets are priced at $599 + GST. Restaurant operators who buy eight tickets or more tickets will get a discount of 20 percent.

To read the full report, visit








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