Social media influencing is a relatively new and successful avenue to market products. Find out how food companies can harness this power with the help of an influential Nebraska food blogger, who is also a GROW Nebraska member.
As a young mom, Michaela Kenkel of Elkhorn let her creativity shine through entertaining with themed dinner parties and cooking. When she shared photos of her decorations and creative foods on her website nearly 10 years ago, friends and family kept asking for the recipes.
Michaela obliged and started transforming her website into a food blog with beautiful photos, cooking instructions and recipes. She called her website ‘An Affair from the Heart.’
After receiving a boost of new followers when two of her recipes were featured on the Today Show website, Michaela turned her hobby into a full-time business.
Michaela’s website is now a highly successful food blog that reaches more than one million viewers each month through her social media channels, her weekly blog/newsletter and organic searches to her website.
Michaela has found a niche within her food blog that also benefits food entrepreneurs and businesses. She regularly works with companies, such as Frank’s Kraut and Dorothy Lynch, to create new recipes using their products and then shares them with her large audience. She is always taking on new clients as well.
“It’s a whole new way to market your business.” Michaela said. “It’s a great way to get your name out there.”
Michaela has created and shared more than 800 recipes over the years, and the Sloppy Dorothy Sandwich recipe she created using Dorothy Lynch salad dressing is in the Top 10 most popular recipes.
“It went bonkers,” Michaela said of the sandwich recipe. “It went to my top 10 in the first month.”
Food businesses who hire Michaela to create recipes for them harness the power of a relatively new form a marketing using social media influencers. With Michaela’s strong following of regular viewers, it is money well spent.
An Affair from the Heart has more than 180,000 followers on Facebook, more than 3,000 on Instagram, 40,000 on Pinterest, and more than 8,000 subscribers to her weekly email. In addition, organic recipe searches attract hundreds of thousands of recipe seekers to her website each month.
“I have a good following of people, and I always make sure I answer questions posted on social media,” she said. “I take a lot of pride in developing relationships with my audience. I engage with my readers a lot, and I feel like I’m in tuned to what they like and what they don’t like.”
Michaela said her food blog doesn’t cater to one specific food niche.
“I have a little bit of everything,” she said. “My recipes are pretty easy – tried and true family stuff.”
As a child, she learned to cook from her mom and grandma. It was her grandmother’s hamburger soup recipe that was featured on the Today Show.
“It really gave my traffic a boost,” Michaela said. “It was instrumental in showing me that I could do something with this website, and it didn’t have to be a hobby.”
Michaela attends many conferences each year to stay up to date on the latest social media trends and to ensure she is following best practices for clients and readers. She joined a food blogger mastermind group and learned the arts of food photography, photo editing and food videography.
Food companies are now benefitting from her professional skills and audience reach. Once a food company partners with Michaela and gives her a product, she develops recipes for them and writes the blog posts about the recipes, makes sure the posts are Google friendly, and takes photos and sometimes creates video.
“I do all of the social media influencing and make sure people know where to purchase the product,” she said.
Recipes that she develops for other companies are also posted to her website and are promoted to her millions of followers.
“It’s just another way to market your product and another way to advertise and it really, really works,” she said.
Food businesses interested in boosting sales through social media influencing with Michaela can contact her from her GROW Nebraska page at https://members.grownebraska.org/list/member/an-affair-from-the-heart-10597
Save the date! Michaela will speak at Grow Nebraska’s April 15, 2020, MarkeTech conference in Kearney.