Ever since that fateful August day in 2014, 26-year-old food influencer Tessa Gluck, the founder of Foooodieee, has been working her way up to more than 500,000 Instagram followers and ultimate food stardom. It’s hard to believe that just five years ago, her followers were mostly her friends—and it all began with a photo of a mouthwatering ice cream donut on her phone.
“I literally wanted to eat my phone, I was so hungry at the moment,” recalled Gluck, who has always been a foodie.
It was then that the idea ignited in her mind: She wanted everyone to have their own drool-worthy moments, too.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” Gluck said. “Back then, it was just for fun.”
She set up an account to share her foodie moments and named it Foooodieee. At first, she mostly reposted pictures from other food bloggers, and sometimes shared her own photographs with creative captions. Gradually, her followers grew. She started receiving packages of cookies, cakes and all sorts of yummy treats that companies sent her to taste, take pictures of and post on Instagram.
But, how does someone gain—and maintain—so many followers?
“The strategy is to figure out what my followers wanted to see,” she explained. “For example, I do polls on Instagram and ask whether they would like to see more dessert or pizza.”
Gluck also interacts with her followers, reading their comments and commenting back.
“It is important for your followers to feel that they’re being listened to,” said Gluck, who does much more than just post pictures of delicious food.
Apart from her full-time job as an advertising operations manager at U.S. News & World Report and running Foooodieee, Gluck likes going to the gym, doing charity work and running the New York City Marathon. She advocates a fun, loving and healthy lifestyle.
“It’s important to portray yourself as a person and let fans get a glimpse into your real life, not just being a name on a screen,” noted the foodie.
Gluck’s natural ability to connect with people shines through on social media, as well as in real life. She has always been a big-hearted, all-around type of person. At Great Neck South High School, she received the All-Around Senior award for being capable of making friends with others, no matter who they are.
When she hit around 100,000 followers, a company reached out to her by email, asking if she was interested in working with them. Gluck was so taken aback that she almost fainted. She and her soon-to-be sponsor spoke to discuss the details. They worked out a detailed plan on what she could do to help them promote their new product for a fee. That started a new chapter for Foooodieee. During the past few years, more sponsors showed up, including both established companies and startups.
One of Gluck’s recent collaborations was with a candy company called Nosh NY, a millennium mother-daughter startup that sells candy with emotional and cute logos. Foooodieee and Nosh NY collaborated on No Diet Today pizza gummies that looked absolutely delectable. Potential customers can click on her post link to order them.
Foooodieee has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Elle, Foodbeast and Slice, and Gluck has traveled to many new places to take mouth-watering pictures and share them on social media. What started as fun is now a business, and she’s still enjoying every minute of it.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication, Journalism and New Media, Gluck definitely knows how to market herself on social media. Instagram has been her main focus, but she also uses Facebook and Twitter to market Foooodieee.
“Instagram is truly a platform that you can connect with millennials,” explained Gluck. “With Instagram, you can share it real time. It’s more of a connection.”
The Class of 2010 South High grad revealed that her next goal is to reach 1-million followers and take Foooodieee to new heights. Her dream is to have her own brand of ice cream one day. The Foooodieee founder’s 10-year plan is to leave an impact on the world using social media.
“More and more companies realize that Instagram is an effective way to promote their new products and connect with their end users,” noted Gluck. “I know that I can help them.”
Follow Gluck and her food adventures at www.instagram.com/foooodieee.