Kenkel Shares Tips on Advertising With Social Media Influencers

Kenkel Shares Tips on Advertising With Social Media Influencers

Kenkel Shares Tips on Advertising With Social Media Influencers

GROW Nebraska member and popular social media influencer Michaela Kenkel of Elkhorn will share tips for winning customers by partnering with brand ambassadors at the April 15 MarkeTech conference in Kearney.

Kenkel operates the successful food blog called “An Affair From the Heart” that reaches millions of eyes each month, including 7 million monthly views on Pinterest and about 6 million monthly views on Google. Her enterprise, which started more than a decade ago, now 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 recipe email.

She serves those followers with trust, sincerity, love and kindness and they respond with “likes” and “shares.”

“I take a lot of pride in developing relationships with my audience,” Kenkel said. “I engage with my readers a lot, and I feel like I’m tuned in to what they like and what they don’t like.”

Besides creating her unique recipes, Kenkel works as a brand ambassador to business owners and food entrepreneurs, such as Frank’s Kraut, Dorothy Lynch and Spice Isle, to create new recipes using their products. She then shares those recipes with her audiences to create momentum and generate sales for those companies.

Kenkel will present “Satisfy an Appetite For Your Brand: How to Win Customers and Influence Brand Appeal in the Age of Social Media” at one of the break-out sessions at MarkeTech, where she will share her advice on working with brand ambassadors.

Kenkel said her presentation will appeal to marketers, business owners, entrepreneurs and aspiring brand ambassadors and influencers.

For those who aren’t aware of this relatively new marketing tool, Kenkel said a brand ambassador “is a person who is hired by an organization or company to represent their brand in a positive light.”

By doing so, it increases brand awareness and sales among a specific audience.

“A brand ambassador works as both an ‘influencer’ and a ‘sales representative’,” Kenkel said. “A brand ambassador’s role is to introduce a brand and communicate its virtues organically through its existing audience and social channels and also provide opportunities for sales or similar conversions.” 

After the presentation, Kenkel said attendees will have a better understanding of social media and how to leverage the power of influencers and bloggers in advertising.

“Participants will learn how to find suitable influencers and brand ambassadors, establish and track goals for a successful relationship, plan for content and set deadlines, and monitor progress through statistical analysis,” she said. 

She also will show business owners how to create a successful social media strategy by working with legitimate brand ambassadors and influencers. Kenkel will focus on social media channels that she uses, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  

“They will learn what works and how to avoid common pitfalls,” Kenkel said.

Other takeaways from her presentation include:

  • The difference between being “influenced” and being “convinced.”
  • How to measure “likes,” “shares” and other online stats to evaluate performance.
  • Why a brand ambassador is so much more effective than any type of advertiser promotional resource.

In addition, Kenkel will share tips with aspiring brand ambassadors and influencers, who will learn how to work with companies and how to grow their audiences to make themselves more attractive as an advertising asset. 

Early bird registration for the conference ends on March 20. The price is $99 for a half-day and $199 for the entire day for non-GROW members and $59 for GROW Nebraska members. The registration fee includes breakfast and lunch and full conference registration, including two breakout sessions, the keynote speaker, chances to network, conference swag and the VIP After Party at McCue’s Nebraska Taproom in Kearney. To register, visit

GROW Nebraska® Foundation is a statewide non-profit training and marketing organization. Serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses, the organization provides marketing opportunities, education, and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska’s educational programs receive federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors.

Food Blogger Develops and Shares Recipes With Millions of Readers

Food Blogger Develops and Shares Recipes With Millions of Readers

Food Blogger Develops and Shares Recipes With Millions of Readers

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.”

Besides Dorothy Lynch, Michaela has also worked with other GROW Nebraska members, including Gary’s Quick Steak and Spice Isle Sauces.

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

Save the date! Michaela will speak at Grow Nebraska’s April 15, 2020, MarkeTech conference in Kearney.