A Restaurant Owner’s New Best Friend Might Just Be A Influencer Marketplace With ATL Roots

Social media not only created new job opportunities for budding marketers, but also gave rise to an entirely new subset of celebrities. The social media influencer is ubiquitous on platforms like Tik Tok on Instagram today. And those influencers are bringing in some serious cash, as the influencer marketing industry is set to hit $21.1 Billion in 2023

And it is not just big luxury brands that are using influencers as part of their marketing strategies today. Local restaurant chains and smaller shops also see influencers as a way to reach new customers.

“We’re at this interesting point where restaurants and hospitality brands understand that they need to leverage influencers and they need some ongoing support to keep their brand top of mind, said Michael Diego. “But they’re still a little unclear where to start.” 

That’s where Wise Assistant, co-founded by Diego, comes in. The platform works as a marketplace connecting local social media influencers with restaurants, bars, and hospitality brands looking to create new marketing collaborations.

On the influencer side, Diego said the platform is ideal for foodies, travel bloggers, and those promoting local, curated experiences. On the brand side of the marketplace, Wise Assistant goes after restaurant groups that are typically in expansion mode. The platform is also beneficial for PR and marketing agencies who need to streamline the way they find influencer talent and track those ongoing collaborations.

Atlantans will be familiar with some of the brands – like Chai Pani Restaurant Group and Postino WineCafe – that are already using the marketplace. That team also brought on several coveted James Beard Award-winning restaurants in the last month. 

Alongside launching in Atlanta, Wise Assistant is helping influencers and brands in Houston, New York City, Miami, and Seattle.


Keeping Up With The Influencer World 

Any early-stage founder like Diego has to understand the ins and outs of their industry and prepare to adjust to changing market conditions, customer expectations, and emerging technologies. 

The same is true for the influencers trying to navigate the ever-changing world of social media marketing. 

“Influencers have to stay educated on how the platforms are changing. They are investing in not only brand partnerships, but they’re selling digital products and they’re essentially diversifying the ways that they can make money,” added Diego.

That focus could help drive more growth opportunities for Wise Assistant in the coming months and years. 

“The influencers that are going to rise to the top are going to be those that integrate technology into their media production, that create immersive experiences, events, and activities with their audience so they can develop deeper relationships.” 


Getting Smart about Influencer Marketing 

Diego, a graduate of the University of Georgia, cut his teeth in the digital marketing agency space before taking a job at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

While working at the IT giant, Diego got to spend a year traveling the world on assignment. During this time he grew as a travel blogger which helped inspire the early iterations of Wise Assistant. 

After working in San Francisco on the platform, Diego relocated back to Atlanta. While Wise Assistant still has a strong presence in San Francisco, Wise Assistant has been plugging in with the Atlanta startup scene as a way to grow. Diego recently joined the 1785 Venture Club, a business network for the UGA community created by the Atlanta-based startup Knightley.

He pointed to the club directly as a place where he has been able to connect with key heads of marketing agencies, something that is part of the team’s growth strategy in 2023.