She landed her first restaurant deal with 1,500 followers

Mar 30 • 2023

IKYMI, yesterday I shared a case study of how Robin, a social media marketer in Toronto, does content creation and social media management for restaurants. And today, we’re continuing the conversation on how Robin landed her first deal with just 1,500 followers (and how you can too!).

(If you want to learn more about the type of work that Robin does for restaurants, check out yesterday’s post)

SARAH: So Robin, how did you start working with restaurants?

ROBIN: When I began my Instagram account BlondEats out of university, I started to reach out to restaurants to come in and try their food and post it on my account for free, which only had 1,500 followers at the time. However, I didn’t see a lot of success with that. So I actually downloaded the Foodtography School Brand Pitch Guide, re-framed my pitch, and all of a sudden saw emails in my inbox inviting me to come in. I worked with a few restaurants for free, then used that content to build out my portfolio and Instagram and used that to pitch more restaurants, this time for paid work.

S: That’s super interesting that you only had 1,500 followers and were able to turn that into paid work. What value do you think these restaurants found in working with you if you didn’t have a large following?

R: It’s actually a misconception that you need a large following to work with restaurants. When you can create high-quality content for restaurants, the content itself has value. So when I was just starting out I found a lot of success focusing on the quality of content I could create, rather than focusing on (or promoting) my following.

S: OK, last question: Now that you’ve been doing this for a few years, what’s your biggest piece of advice for someone looking to get into restaurant photography, videography, social media management… all of the above!

R: First, you just gotta start. Stop second guessing and thinking about the what if’s and thinking your co-workers and friends will care. Which brings me to my second point — Post the dang photo or video! You NEVER know what can happen from one video — it can go viral, someone from a restaurant could see it and decide they want to work with you, or you can be crowned the corn kid.

But the most important piece of advice is to focus on improving those foundational skills. I stopped obsessing over how I can get more followers — I literally just hit 10k! and actually focused on improving my hard skills. As a result, I secured my biggest brand deal to date this year and my business has grown year after year.

S: Robin, thank you SO MUCH for sharing all this. I’m so proud of you! And I think I speak for our entire community when I say we really appreciate your time and candor on this subject.

If you like the idea of being able to be creative and work for yourself without having a giant following or a blog of your own, then creating content for restaurants might just be the thing for you. And you’re in luck because I have a whole course dedicated to teaching you how to do just that. Say hello 👋 to the Restaurant Foodtography School course!

Take Robin’s advice: stop second-guessing and start building the business of your dreams!