The manager quickly approaches a customer in his eatery, concerned, “Sir, I just wanted to check everything is okay with your meal, as I couldn’t help but notice that you haven’t instagrammed it yet?” This manager knows all too well the power of a snap and a share on Instagram. He really understands the power of this one meal  to transcend this particular sitting and bring in new customers. He is part of the new generation of restauranteurs who have embraced Instagram to promote their eateries, showcase new menu items and gain new customers. 

Why Instagram is great for restaurant marketing

Over the past few years Instagram has really grown into a major player in the social media metaverse. Together with its original unique proposition (highly visual, immediate and wide scale brand exposure), it now includes business profiles, analytics,  advanced metrics and bulk schedulers making it the ideal tool for restaurant marketing. So it stands to reason when you consider that 18-35 year olds spend approximately five days browsing food images on Instagram, with 30% admitting to avoiding a restaurant due to weak Instagram presence. These are very powerful statistics and so here are 6 ways you can also build your restaurant through Instagram.

1. Create an Instagram Business Profile

Instagram has made it very easy for businesses to create professional profiles to market their businesses. By creating a business account you gain immediate access to analytics, improving your chances of making smart decisions about what to post and when to post it. It allows customers to contact you directly through Instagram increasing visibility and accessibility. It also allows you to do research into the people who are following you so you can get to understand your customer better. 

2. Cross-pollinate your platforms

The beauty of social media is that it plays nicely with other platforms. This means that you should cross-pollinate all your social media activity by sharing your Facebook feeds on Instagram and repurposing content for LinkedIn or Tik Tok. This will allow customers to click on the link found on other platforms and immediately move over to your Instagram profile. Embedding the Instagram icon on your website will also enable your customers to easily share your feeds and images. 

3. Stay snappy and on point

Instagrammers have an incredibly short attention span. If your posts are long-winded or over complicated you will be sent out of the feed with one mighty swipe of the thumb. So keep your content short and snappy, with beautiful images in order to  retain your customer’s interest.

4. Invite interaction

Tag a post and invite followers to “caption this”. Try posting a new dish and invite followers to name that dish. Ask them to tag in someone who they would love to share this meal with and then choose a follower to receive that prize. It is with simple activities like these that will encourage interaction, grow your followers and customer base.

5. People love free stuff

By getting strategic about who you offer promotions to, you can grow your following quite quickly. For example, by feeding a food blogger in return for a tagged review on their page, your following will instantly soar.  An effective strategy is to work with local  foodie Influencers who can open you up to new bases. Once connected, you can initiate special offers through their profiles. For example a post might read: “Like this picture, tag the friend you’ll share your winnings with, and follow [insert your restaurant handle here].” Ask the influencer if they’ll share a few photos over the following weeks  and then watch the followers roll in. Just remember to rotate influencers and only do  a few contests at a time per Influencer. That way customers don’t get ‘contest fatigue’.

6. Research your hashtags

Instagrammers follow profiles as well as hashtags. In fact, posts with hashtags generate 12,6% more engagement than posts without them. So make yourself more searchable by tagging posts with hashtags that will increase search results. To find the best hashtags, begin by typing into your search bar and find hashtags that will get you a high amount of organic views. Similarly, not so many that will have you buried beneath millions of competitive posts. Also consider hashtagging your location to generate followers in your immediate area. 

The bottom line

Instagram is an essential tool for restauranteurs. People eat with their eyes first and so photos of your beautifully plated meals provide the perfect opportunity to leverage off this platform. By following these 6 simple steps you will be well on your way to turning your restaurant into an Instagram power player and you’ll  be hashtagging  #MostSuccessfulLocalRestaurant, before you know it!

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