Kristen, here! As founder of Tabletop Media Group and past blogger with Gadabout Food, I’ve experienced both sides of the spectrum: receiving countless invites to media events and sending invitations to social influencers + bloggers to visit our clients. Throughout the past 8 years in the media space I’ve seen it all, the good, bad and ugly. I’m here today to give you my top 5 pointers on how to get invited back to media events and to visit local businesses. These simple tips will go a long way and I promise, businesses (and media agencies like us!) will want to keep working with you.
1. Leave a nice tip!
Restaurateurs happily invite media in to promote their restaurants. If you don’t tip after a complimentary experience, the restaurateurs will have a bad taste in their mouth and will be less likely to host media in the future. Tipping is a nice thing to do for the servers and bartenders because they rely on tips to make their living. Same goes for other service industries (i.e. blow dry bars, nail salons, etc.).
Always bring some cash to the business you’re visiting and tip in cash at the end of the meal and/or your experience. I’ve found that a lot of the restaurants during a media visit won’t give you a receipt, so cash just makes it easier. If you forget cash, ask the server to run a penny or a couple cents so you can leave a tip on your credit card.
My rule of thumb is to think about how much food and beverage the restaurant comp’d or the price of your experience (i.e. hair cut, pedicure), and leave a tip of 20 to 30 percent of the total cost. You can easily do this by looking at the menu or service prices and tallying up how much your whole meal or service cost.
2. Ask to speak to the chef and/or general manager to say thank you.
If the restaurant or business isn’t “in the weeds,” it’s completely appropriate to ask to speak to the chef and/or general manager. This goes a long way to the staff after your media experience at their place of business. Plus, they will view you as someone who is respectful and polite, meaning chances are high you’ll get invited back!
3. If alcohol is being covered, be respectful and don't over indulge.
I always give myself a 1 to 2 drink minimum at media events. When visiting a restaurant, bar and/or other type of business who is serving alcohol, don’t over indulge on those martinis. Nobody wants a sloppy drunk on their hands!
4. Post on social media while you're at a media event.
Instagram Stories are great and all, but our clients really like to see posts on your feed. My suggestion is to post on Instagram Stories and Twitter when you’re at the media event, and then do a recap feed post on a platform like Facebook or Instagram the next day or so. Tip: be sure to do your research ahead of time and follow the business’ social media handles so it’s easy to tag them.
5. Follow through with your commitment.
Remember, there's a whole lot of organization that goes into just one media visit. If you’re visiting a restaurant, often times there’s extra service and food prep that has been made especially for you. Be mindful that when you cancel, it has a ripple effect.