Move over Instagram influencers, chains may be waking up to the fact that hiring someone for a sponsored post or slapping some pictures online isn’t enough to capture the eyes and hearts of consumers.
Italian operator Zizzi is looking to leverage the social media platform by hiring what it has claimed is the UK’s first resident Instragrammer. The aim? To generate dining goodwill by giving customers a peek behind the scenes and help them discover the ‘real’ stories behind their restaurants.
The man behind the camera for Zizzi is James Thompson, known as Food Feels on Instagram, who is also a ‘tastehunter’ for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. For Zizzi, he will document moments around the table this month, as well as the behind-the-scenes tales of the dishes and the staff who serve it.
The resident snapper is responsible for creating an online photography portfolio, which will be available on Zizzi’s website and Instagram.
This initiative is part of the Discover More Zizzi campaign and will feature images from locations all across the country, highlighting each one’s unique local touches, from Brighton and Manchester through to Scotland and Wales.
This new social media strategy also aims to help people discover spring dishes recently introduced to the chain, like Spaghetti Chorizo Carbonara, Gamberone and Chorizo Pizza, and Lemon Butter Seabass.
The campaign is inspired by the US social media hitHumans of New York, which highlights personal stories from around the world. At current count the account has just over 9m followers on Instagram.
“We know that every day people get together at Zizzi for all sorts of celebrations and catch ups and that our diners and staff have rich, interesting and surprising stories to tell,” said Rachel Hendry, head of marketing at Zizzi.
“We know that our diners want to not only enjoy the food they’re eating but to also understand where that food has come from and the personalities behind the people who cook it, which is why we’re launching our first ‘Discover More Zizzi’ online gallery.We’re big fans of James’ food photography so are delighted to be working with him on this exciting project and can’t wait to see what he comes up with.”
Thompson has 150,000 followers on his own Instagram account, which he started as a hobby in 2014.
“I’m really excited to be working with Zizzi on this project. I’m a big fan of Humans of New York so I love the idea of getting behind the scenes to find out about people, the food they’re eating and then to tell these stories through my photography,” Thompson said.
“There’s no better place to get to know a whole cross-section of society than a busy restaurant and it’s going to be so interesting travelling across the country to discover what people are really talking about round the dinner table in 2019.”
So what does Sparkie think of the idea – too cheesy or a way to find more mouths to feed?
I am honestly surprised that this hasn’t been done before, although I think it has in its separate parts. Companies have been known to hire influencers with large social media followings before and to have their own social media management before, but this seems to be combining those two areas.
Overall, this is a sign of the times though. We should definitely be expecting to see more of this. I am sure that a lot of other businesses are waiting with baited breath to see if this works for them so that they can schedule their own similar set-up.