It’s a tradition to feature foodie influencers on our site, so naturally, we couldn’t go on without interviewing Juan Duran of @juanbiteatatime. As a local, Juan has been to his fair share of restaurants and decided this past July that he was going to turn it into something special. It’s been a long road for him but with a little hard work, he was able to turn his passion into something more. Read all about his journey and the lessons he’s learned below!
Where are you originally from and how long have you called Miami your home?
I’m originally from Cali, Colombia, but I’ve been living in Miami since 1999, my 20 year anniversary is actually coming up on July 5th!
What is your favorite place in Miami to take friends that are visiting?
I love taking friends and family to Wynwood, it never ceases to amaze me. No matter what you’re craving or what you’re wanting to do, Wynwood has it all. Not to mention it has such an electrifying ambiance. The vibrant murals appeal to the artistic crowd and is always a good spot to do an impromptu photo shoot!
What are some of your favorite local brands/businesses that you worked with?
I’m still making my way through all the incredible businesses in South Florida. As of this moment, the ones that I’ve really enjoyed so far are Mr. & Mrs. Bun in Miami, Crazy Uncle Mike’s in Boca Raton, and YoNutz in Sunrise.
Mr. & Mrs. Bun provided me with such an unbelievable experience. From the moment we sat down to the moment we left, the service was outstanding. I heard good things from other bloggers, but when I tried the food I was immediately hooked. They specialize in sandwiches, but the way they prep everything was great and the flavors compliment each other so nicely! Just recently I was able to attend the Amparo Experience, which was by far one of the most memorable things I’ve done as a blogger.
How can local businesses gain more exposure on social media?
Social media really shapes the perceptions of the people restaurants are desperately trying to attract. By utilizing local influencers, and other professionals in the field of attention-marketing, the quality of the business’s success drastically improves.
Keeping a thriving social media account and working with people who do it best in their community to generate word of mouth and direct interaction are some of the best ways. Also doing regular website maintenance is key to really catching the eye of hungry people.
This is an area where a lot of local restaurants could use some help. Quality pictures and an experienced influencer can turn an ordinary dish, or even a unique dish, into a “wow, I really want to try that” moment. First impressions are everything. Beautiful and creative pictures through social media are the pinnacle of specialized marketing.
Tell us your biggest challenge
Having to juggle a full-time job and being a content creator gets tricky at times, especially when there is very limited daylight. I try to shoot my pictures with natural lighting as using the external light doesn’t give it the same effect.
How can creators better engage their audience?
I think it’s extremely important to not get so worked up over the analytics behind your posts. At times as content creators, we tend to let the constant algorithm change get us down. At the end of the day, we need to remember that most of us are doing this for fun.
We get to have some incredible experiences and meet some really great people along the way. So, it’s important to remember that. In terms of engaging an audience, I believe it’s important to try and create a community and interact with everyone. I just started something called “Juan Question At A Time” on my story and it allows me to learn a little more about what my followers like. As a result, it helps me tailor my posts to what they’d like to see in the future. I also think that an audience values original content a lot more than just reposting, it helps showcase what you’re able to do and it helps generate awareness of local spots.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
There are several people I look up to in the blogging world, but aside from those, I also admire the story behind some of the owners of the restaurants. In visiting local shops, I tend to have the opportunity to speak with the owners and learn more about them and the amount of hard work that they put into making sure their businesses prosper. It’s really inspiring and makes working with them that much better! It truly goes to show that hard work and determination really does pay off if you stick to something and fully believe in it.
Now tell us your strongest skill
I am very particular when it comes to what I post in the sense that I have a really high standard, I only like to showcase photos that meet my standards. I also really like to hone in on the colors of the dishes and make them pop!
What book are you currently reading?
I just recently started Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.
What equipment do you use?
When I first started @juanbiteatatime I was using my cell phone camera, but just recently I started using my Canon with a 50mm lens and it honestly has made such a huge difference in terms of quality. I also have an external light, but I prefer to shoot in the day time in order to get natural light in my shots. However, I like to mix it up between my iPhone and canon as with specific shots my phone does a really good job of capturing what it is I want.
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Anything else you are currently working on that you would like to share?
I have a few things in the works right now, so I can’t say much about it at the moment, but If it goes through my followers will be the first to know!