Hosted by Robin Sussingham | January 9, 2020
If you’re like our first guest, you’ve popped into a neighborhood convenience store and thought “wow!” this is a little quirky and an adventure. Jeff Houck has been exploring Florida neighborhoods by visiting their convenience stores. These neighborhood meccas are filled with personalities, sundries and speak to the locals’ needs. Jeff discusses how these multi-colored, jam-packed, one-stop-shops are successful when they respond best to the area’s needs. He also explores why convenience stores fade in some areas. You can follow his journey via his instagram @jeffhouck or his website jeffhouck.com
Our second guest was featured once before when we needed inspiration for our Sunday dinners. Now, Isabel Laessig shares with us what it takes to be a food influencer. Isabel has more than 55,000 followers on instagram (@familyfoodie) and has coordinated a movement that has gained the attention of some national brands.
Dalia Colón shares “Family Foodie” Isabel Laessig’s advice for aspiring food influencers and it all began when Isabel’s daughter went off to college. The Dunedin mother of four started a food blog so her kids would have family recipes at their fingertips.
Fast-forward nine years. Today, Laessig is a social media sensation, with more than 55,000 followers salivating over her Instagram posts. Laessig also presides over Sunday Supper Media, an online empire that pairs food bloggers with brands hungry for press.
Food influencers on Laessig’s level are bombarded with invitations to restaurant openings, vacations and other tempting offers. But remaining a trusted source is about more than being wined and dined, Laessig says. For aspiring food influencers, here are her tips.
1) Focus on one step at a time.
For foodies, Laessig recommends building a presence on Instagram or Pinterest. “How many people are really looking for recipes on Twitter now? I would say [your] next step would be Facebook, but you’re better off doing smaller steps but doing them really, really well,” she says.
2) Make contact.
If you’re interested in working with a particular brand, use social media to send the company a direct message. “There has never been an easier way to connect with people,” Laessig says. “DM, and most will reach out to you and let you know if they’re interested, or they will give you an email [address] and let you know who you should contact.”
3) Stay on brand.
Invitations for freebies are tempting, but if you’re not careful, they can water down your brand, Laessig warns. “Don’t sell out. Just be yourself. Be your brand. Stay behind your mission in what you’re doing, just like if you had your own company,” she advises.<
4) Taking better photos.
Great pictures will tantalize your followers—and show large brands that you mean business. At restaurants, request an outdoor table so you can take advantage of natural light. If you’re eating indoors, ask your dining companions to shine their cell phone flashlights onto your food—a request Laessig often makes of her family. “That’s not beneath me, trust me,” she says with a laugh. Even if the lighting isn’t perfect, snap away nonetheless. “You’re always better catching that moment than missing the moment,” Laessig says. You can always edit the photo later or use a filter.
5) Take your followers behind the scenes.
In addition to staging shots of the food and yourself, be sure to let your guard down once in awhile. Instagram Stories, also called Instastories, is the perfect place to share candid moments, Laessig says. “People want to see what everyday life is like. We’re living in a society that they want to see behind the scenes and that you are who you say you are,” says Laessig, who shares photos of her family, puppy and backstage goings-on of her TV appearances. “It does not have to be styled. It just has to tell the story about your day,” she says.
Host: Robin Sussingham
Producer: Dalia Colón
Photo credits: Isabel Laessig