Raise your hand if you take pictures of your meals and post them to social media.
Now raise your hand if you do that and know how to monetize it.
That’s just why Danielle Heath, Class of 2019, is pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration degree. She’s a food blogger on Instagram—her feed BostonBehavior has 7,600-plus followers and counting. She’s getting her MBA so she can be as good at business as she is at blogging.
“The value of being in the MBA program for me is that I’m learning how to run my own business and elevate what started as a hobby into something that I can do full time,” says Heath. “Running an Instagram site presents interesting business challenges.”
Along with studying balance sheets and expense reports, she’s also learning crucial business tools like how to be a better negotiator. That’s especially important as she tries to monetize BostonBehavior. She can’t make money by selling advertising on her site (social channels don’t have that functionality) or from subscribers (it costs nothing to follow BostonBehavior on Instagram). So she has to find other ways to get something from a restaurant in exchange for eyeballs.
“One thing that’s been helpful at Suffolk is figuring out how much I can charge based on my following,” says Heath. “Or how much I can charge to run a contest or take pictures a restaurant can use on its own social media streams. Having that skill definitely complements my business model.”
Not a hobby
She may have started out as a weekend gourmet snapping photos of her yummy dinners. But BostonBehavior has evolved into a potential revenue stream. Which means Heath has to approach each restaurant she wants to visit as a one-time business partner. She’ll reach out to the manager, explain what she wants to do, and, most importantly, demonstrate how it’s good for the eatery—with the data to back it up.
“Bigger food bloggers might have 100,000 followers,” said Heath. “But that doesn’t matter if the people aren’t in Boston. About 90 percent of my followers are local to the Boston area, and most are my age. So I can deliver a really targeted and high-value group to a restaurant that I put on my feed.”