How to Become a Food Influencer: A Tasty Career

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 24, 2024

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It seems like everywhere you look, food is slowly taking over your social media feed. If you’re anything like us, it’s welcomed content. From perfectly plated meals to mouth-watering baked goods, we eagerly await updates from our favorite social foodies. Perhaps all the delicious content has sparked an interest in learning more about leveling up your own kitchen creations. If whipping up new recipes, experimenting with exciting spices and, of course, capturing it all, is a passion of yours – listen up. You may be wondering how to become a food influencer.

That’s right, a food influencer. Did you know that this is an emerging niche for social media users? From home bakers to celebrity chefs, Instagram is the perfect place to show off your culinary skills. Want to learn more? Luckily for you, we’ve got the low down on everything related to this new Instagram industry. Simply read on below as we cover the basics, background and how to get started. Of course, we’ll also provide some tips on how to turn food influencing into a profitable career.

 Women recording content while she learns how to become a food influencer.

What Is a Food Influencer on Instagram?

By now, you may be wondering – just what exactly is a food influencer? Surely you are familiar with the concept of how to become an influencer in general. If not, allow us to quickly explain. An influencer is someone who influences others to buy or use certain products. They are typically found on social media apps, such as Instagram, and promote goods and services to their followers. 

Generally speaking, they are compensated in exchange for this promotion. So, with this knowledge, it’s now easy to better generalize what a food influencer is. A content creator that specializes in food-related content to share with their followers.

As you can imagine, the word food is very broad and can bring up different meanings to each person. And, well, that’s exactly the case when it comes to breaking down the term food influencer. Turns out, there are many different avenues you can take when thinking about how to become a food influencer. The range is wide, with everything from sharing home-cooked recipes to restaurant reviews. 

Some food influencers even travel the world to photograph the most appealing-looking dishes. And that’s okay – the social media world is big enough for everyone. However, it’s important to find your focus when it comes to what kind of food or genre you wish to be an expert in.

Person taking photo of food to share with Instagram followers.

How to Become a Food Influencer on Instagram

It’s officially time to dive into the main question at hand. That’s right, we’re talking all about how to become a food influencer on Instagram. While this might seem like a fun, easy and, well, delicious job, it’s actually a lot of hard work. It requires extreme focus, dedication and time. If you are a budding cook, long hours will be spent in the kitchen, perfecting recipes and ingredients. 

You may even want to build your kitchen credibility by taking cooking classes to obtain a food-centered degree or diploma. The job of a food influencer might be tough but we can guarantee it will never be boring. Keep reading as we break it down below. We’ll cover top items to put on your check-list, including thinking up a username, investing in a camera and using hashtags.

How to Become a Food Influencer: Create Your Instagram Brand

As you can imagine, the first step to learning how to become a food influencer on Instagram is, well, setting up your Instagram account. Although this may sound pretty straightforward, it actually takes a little strategic planning. First, you’ll need to identify your primary focus in the food industry. This is the genre you will focus on. While it can be hard to narrow it down among so many options, we are here to help. Think about what dishes excite you most or what you feel most comfortable cooking in the kitchen. 

Next, you’ll want to have a dedicated Instagram account just for your food-related content. This should be separate from any other accounts you may have. To set yourself apart, think up a catchy and creative Instagram handle that your followers will easily remember. It’s important to keep consistent branding throughout all your social media channels so your target audience can easily find you. 

With this in mind, take the time to do a little research on availability before you commit to your custom username. Another tip? You should also set up your Instagram account as an Instagram business account. This will give you access to features that will help you grow, such as post scheduling and marketing insights.

Women preparing content to learn how to become a food influencer.

How to Become a Food Influencer: Capture the Best Content

Next step? To successfully understand how to become a food influencer, you will need to learn how to capture your content. After all, the goal of food influencers is to share appetizing photos and entice their followers. With this in mind, you may want to consider investing in a high-quality camera. This will ensure your photos are crisp and clear. If photography is new to you, you can also look into taking introduction classes to learn different techniques and skills. Classes are often offered in-person or online through local camera shops or colleges. 

One photography tip? Always photograph your content in natural light. It will help to produce the most realistic looking images. You can also experiment with what type of content sharing works best for you. Do your food creations shine brilliantly when captured in still photographs? Or perhaps utilizing Instagram reels allows you to showcase more detail. 

In case you’ve never used this feature, reels are multi-clip short-form videos that are shared through the app. This allows you to capture more angles and dimensions of your food. You’ll also want to do a little research into the concept of food styling. Wondering what this term means? It’s when you expertly arrange the food in a visually appealing way. This is important in order to attract new followers and also encourage them to try out your recipes or restaurant recommendations.

How to Become a Food Influencer: Engage and Interact on Instagram

By now, your account is set up and you are sharing content. Congratulations! You are well on your way to success when learning how to become a food influencer. However, it’s not just enough to simply share your content with the social world. You need to also learn how to engage, interact and grow your Instagram following in order to become a successful content creator

First, you’ll want to make sure you are properly promoting your content. This includes the use of relevant hashtags to increase your visibility on the social media app. It can even lead to your content being featured on the Instagram explore page. This will give your posts a fresh new audience. 

To stand out in the food community, it’s all about making connections with fellow influencers. By joining forces and sharing each other’s content, you can attain a larger reach and help to support one another. You may already be following other influencers that would be a good match for you. Remember, they don’t have to share your exact sense of taste but rather be complementary. Consider going through your followers list and identifying a few influencers that fit the bill. 

Next, reach out to them and make a connection. You can do this through either post comments, story replies or Instagram direct messages. You never know when it will lead to a business relationship or even a close friendship. After all, influencers supporting influencers is what social media is all about.

Women baking cakes in hopes of learning how to become a food influencer.

How to Become a Food Blogger on Instagram

If you’ve done your research on how to become a food influencer, you may have heard the word blogger before. Some people may think that the term food blogging is interchangeable with food influencing. They are similar – yet different. Confused? While they are closely related and some may even overlap, there are a few key differences. 

True to its name, a food blogger focuses primarily on blogging. This means they have a separate online presence beyond social media where they connect with their followers and subscribers. They share updates, recipes and reviews with their subscribers through posts and pictures. In order to gain these subscribers, they need to have a robust list of email addresses for digital distribution. But don’t get us wrong. Typically, food bloggers also utilize Instagram and other platforms to widen their exposure. A hybrid of sorts, or an Instagram food blog, if you will.

If you are wondering how to become a food blogger on Instagram, you’ll need to slightly alter your course of action. The first thing to do is pretty obvious – start a blog. You can do this through your own website or using a third-party blog host that offers pre-made templates. One of the main differences between how to become a food influencer versus blogger is the type of content being shared. 

As you can imagine, blogging includes a lot of written content. This means you’ll have to be comfortable writing about your food rather than just photographing them. Typically, when sharing recipes, this will include a background to the recipe as well as notes and tips. If you are planning to focus your food blog on restaurant reviews, you’ll need to give honest and constructive feedback. This can cover the meals you’ve tasted, as well as the service and atmosphere.

Women working on becoming a food influencer by filming content.

How Do Food Influencers Make Money?

By now, you are probably wondering if you can make a successful career out of learning how to become a food influencer. It may surprise you to hear that the answer is yes. The career path of an influencer can be a very profitable one, if you know how. Turns out, many food influencers do their job as a full-time career. 

In fact, a single Instagram post for a sponsored brand deal can pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Other times, influencers may be compensated with free food or products. Of course, it depends on the size of your audience, as well as your reach and your engagement rate. It’s all about knowing how to monetize your content.

Interested in finding out exactly how food influencers make money? There are actually quite a few paths of revenue one can seek out. As you might have guessed, they mostly involve working closely with brands and businesses. In fact, becoming a brand ambassador is one of the top ways to turn influencing into a revenue stream. If you’re looking for more money-making ideas, we’re here to help. It’s all about finding what is the best fit for your brand – and your time. Below, let’s take a look at a couple popular monetary paths you can pursue.

How to Become a Food Influencer and Make Money: Brand Sponsorships

You may have heard the term brand sponsorships floating around the internet. But what exactly do they mean? And how can they profit you when learning how to become a food influencer? Allow us to explain. Brand sponsorships are when an influencer teams up with a business or brand, such as a local restaurant. The company uses the influencer to promote its products and services on social media in exchange for payment. 

The influencer is responsible for creating and sharing content to their social media channels. Remember, you’ll have to abide by the stipulations outlined in your contract. This can sometimes mean there are certain aesthetics to follow or formats you must capture content in. Always remember to review and agree upon contract terms before signing any deals.

Wondering how to connect with your target brands? Be sure to promote yourself. Tag and mention brands you cook with or use in your kitchen and re-post their Instagram stories or posts. And don’t be afraid to reach out to them with your portfolio. This shows an interest that can get you noticed for collaboration. 

Of course, you’ll want to also focus on growing your audience and Instagram presence like we mentioned above. After all, more followers will lead to more brand opportunities. You’ll want to think long and hard about the types of business you wish to create sponsorships with. Often, it’s best to think long-term about which ones have the most longevity and opportunity for growth. Always make sure you are compensated fairly for your time and costs.

Person taking pictures of food to share as they learn how to become a food influencer.


How to Become a Food Influencer and Make Money: Affiliate Links

Of course, we can’t forget to mention Instagram affiliate marketing when you are wondering how to become a food influencer and make money. Wondering what exactly this term means? Let us fill you in. This marketing concept is when influencers share content on Instagram and add links to each piece item featured. This can be anything, from cooking utensils to ingredients or restaurant deals. 

In order to pursue this, you’ll need to join third-party affiliate programs that support the different brands you promote in your content. When a follower clicks through your shared link and purchases that item, you’ll receive a commission from it. This can sometimes be a very small percent but remember – it all adds up. As you can imagine, the more followers you have will lead to more purchases through these shared affiliate links.

Another way to utilize this revenue stream is working directly with businesses to receive special discount codes to use. Influencers will then share the codes with their followers through social media content, whether its stories, live streams or feed posts. When used by their followers, the influencer gets a small percentage fee. Of course, this works best when you truly believe in the product you are promoting. It’s also extremely important to have a dedicated following who trusts your recommendations.

How to Become a Food Influencer and Make Money: Branded Merchandise

We certainly can’t finish our list of monetary options without covering branded merchandise. Of course, this method of generating income isn’t for every food influencer, but it is certainly something to aspire to. Wondering how to become a food influencer and sell branded merchandise or products? One popular way is to produce a cookbook. This is a compilation of your recipes and can focus on one specific subject or a broad range. Of course, you’ll often need to have a large following to catch the attention of an agency that can facilitate this. 

Another popular avenue is to sell branded merchandise on your website or through your Instagram. This can even include apparel with your catchphrase slogan. Keep in mind that this may require a personal investment into the product to get the goods produced. You’ll be able to make your money back, along with additional profits, through direct-to-consumer sales.

At Path Social we’ve built up an in-house platform of Instagram influencers and a proprietary AI targeting algorithm over the past decade. That’s how we reach organic users who are targeted, interested, and engaged. And that’s why no one can replicate our results, which means you’ll build an Instagram community that lasts! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.