BTS: Q+A with Local Influencers

Being a public relations agency, our team works with influencers on a daily basis. We have collaborated with food bloggers, TikTok aficionados, fashion Instagrammers and more. We are always impressed with the content these influencers create and enjoy partnering them with our clients to help share their stories across social media. This week, we are highlighting two local influencers – Sippin’ N Dallas and CHOMP!. Read along to learn more about these lovely ladies, how they grew their online presence and some of their favorite Dallas hot spots!

What prompted you to start your page?
Sippin: Honestly, it was kind of random! I used to post fun food or drinks on my personal instagram stories, and I noticed that people were interested in what it was or where it was from. One morning at work, around 10am the idea popped in my head and I thought of a name for a page, and had the page created later that afternoon. My first post was up that evening when I went to happy hour at Parliament! And it’s been on the go ever since! I will hit two years in June.

CHOMP!: It all started with an obsession of taking food photos! I had a lot of struggles with food/allergies/health growing up so it allowed me to find an appreciation for different types of food. I also love food presentations. I think it is an artform, so I started taking photos of my meals! I had been taking photos way before I started my blog, but I finally let my friends talk me into making it happen. “What are you doing with these pictures?” they would often ask me. “Why don’t you blog about it?” I’m not a writer and don’t really care for writing so I pushed back for a long time. Finally, CHOMP! was born in 2009! I cannot believe I’ve been doing this for over a decade now. Not only is it a place for people to go and see my food recommendations, it’s also been kind of a food diary for me. I like to eat so much I often forget most of the places I’ve been to. It’s nice to go back and see the posts and where I’ve been. In the past few years, though, it’s evolved more into Instagram, where it’s easier to do a post and a short caption. Life changes and my current work/schedule makes it difficult to keep up with actual blog posts.

 

How did you grow your following on social media?
Sippin: I have been insanely blessed and lucky with growing my following. I don’t know that there is a rhyme or reason as to how I’ve grown my page, I’ve never been big into the stats of the page because I think that can be too overwhelming. For me, the page is a fun side hustle, andI want it to remain fun. For the longest time, 6+ months, I didn’t show my face / or who I was on my instagram, and I did notice a difference once I introduced myself. I think that people associate more with a page when they can put a face to it, as well as a personality. I think being real with your followers, and showing them a little bit of your life is part of growing your page. At least that’s what worked for me, and I’ve enjoyed getting to make personal relationships with people through the page as well.

CHOMP!: Can I say I didn’t? 😛 It’s definitely been a slow and long journey. I’ve never truly focused on growing my following. I mean, it’s nice when you see your follower count go up, but I’ve tried to never make that my priority. I started my Instagram account in 2011, but it was more personal for the first few years. I just happened to like food, so my feed was mostly food. I was honored to have been picked up by @bestfooddallas when they were first expanding into the Dallas food scene. That helped increase my following and opened me up to various media events. I am very grateful for my time with them as a Dallas Community Leader. However, a few years ago, something happened with my account where engagement just dropped off. I know everyone experienced something similar due to all the algorithm changes, but my account never recovered. It almost feels like I’ve been shadowbanned forever. I’ve tried for a long time to find solutions… change up hashtags regularly, engage more, take a long break from the app and hopefully let it all reset, and nothing has worked. So over the years, I’ve just worked on changing my mindset and my purpose for this page. “Why do I post?” I ask myself that on a weekly basis. “What is my motivation?” Ultimately, it’s to share delicious food with the community and my following count is not a priority.

What is one thing you hope your followers know about you?
Sippin: I want my followers to know that they play a huge role in this page without even realizing it! Sippin wouldn’t be able to be Sippin around if it weren’t for their support. And I also want them to know that I keep everything genuine. I do turn down a lot of opportunities because they aren’t places or things I would purchase / go to on my own, and I want everything I post on my page to be a true recommendation, as if I were one of your friends telling you to try a place they just tried and loved! I have also honestly reviewed restaurants, bars and places that I have had disappointing experiences at, but I think it’s important to highlight that in a tasteful way for my followers. You need to be able to talk about the good and the bad, in an appropriate way.

CHOMP!: Everything I post on my feed is a genuine recommendation. It is something I’ve personally tried and enjoyed and want to share it with my viewers. The things I feature are items I’d happily eat or drink again. If I did not try something I posted, you can always find that tidbit in my captions. I also feature a lot of small/local businesses in Dallas. That’s not really something I seek out specifically, but we just have a lot of great local food in DFW!

Social media trends and predictions for 2021?
Sippin: I think shopping via social media will become the new go-to and norm. Instagram is really pushing their shopping ability, and I think that is going to become one of the larger ecommerce markets. I mean, I find way too many items I want to purchase on social media… and too many items that I end up purchasing! 😉

CHOMP!: I don’t pretend to know trends or have the time to track them. I’m actually not a heavy social media user other than Instagram. I don’t have TikTok or Snapchat or anything else.

 

What is one piece of advice you would give someone looking to start their own blog/influencer page?
Sippin: GO. FOR. IT. I think most people are concerned about others being judgmental or not being supportive of the decision, and I don’t think anyone should ever hold the power of keeping you from doing something you want to. Personally, for those that were judgmental of me in the beginning, are now some of my biggest fans. People will always come around, but you don’t need them to. You just need to believe in yourself! You never know if something will work out until you try it!

CHOMP!: Be genuine. Be true to yourself. What is your true purpose for wanting to start this blog or page and stick to it. You can’t ever please everyone. If you are passionate about something, it will show!

Sippin Faves:

  • TexMex – Las Palmas (aka, my second home)
  • Italian – Avanti
  • Burger – this is a tough one- I have a few favorites. These are in no rank, as I need to test them all again 😉 Hudson House, Le Bilboquet, Bowen House
  • Happy hour – my fav happy hours are Las Palmas, Hudson House & Standard Pour
  • Day drinking spot – Katy Trail Ice House, HG Supply Co rooftop or Chelsea’s Corner
  • Date night spot – Catbird, Georgie’s or Bowen House
  • Unique eats spot – Cris and John & Chilangos Tacos,

CHOMP! Faves:

  • TexMex – Mesero
  • Italian – North Italia or Eataly
  • Burger – Barley & Board. Hands down.
  • Happy hour – I don’t really drink so I only go to happy hours where there’s food specials! I also haven’t had time to do many HH’s in a while, but recently I had a great time at Uchi and Sloane’s Corner.
  • Day drinking spot – Day drinking is not really my thing. I much rather go hang out at a coffee shop during the day. I can list some of my favorite cafes! LDU, Merit, Drip Coffee, La La Land Kind Café, Hola Café, Fiction Coffee and Magnolias Sous Le Pont.
  • Date night spot – Gemma
  • Unique eats spot – Cris & John