No matter how hungry you are, when the waiter places the tantalising dish in front of you, chances are that you are going to Instagram it before eating it. With the advent of business profiles, insights and advance metrics, Instagram has become a massive platform for social media marketing. Keeping these things in mind, Instagram is tailor-made for restaurant marketing. Research has shown that the Instagram presence of a restaurant is extremely important to its customers and in fact, would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak. The best part about social media marketing is that much of it is free. If you know how to use Instagram for restaurant marketing well then it can be a gold mine for your restaurant. But how to use Instagram to its fullest? We have curated a list of the top 10 Instagram marketing tips for restaurants.
1. Stick to your brand:
Sticking to your brand applies to both your voice and your aesthetic. It is important to stick to a particular tone throughout your Instagram feed. This helps you create a page that reflects your brand’s look. Your Instagram should reflect the essence of your restaurant. For example, if you own a casual fast food joint, you should have bright, colour-popping images with witty and funny captions. On the other hand, if you own a pretty bistro, your Instagram feed should have aesthetic flat lays of the food along with the dishes name and a few scintillating details about its preparations. Always remember that consistency is the key as customers will appreciate that your brand continues to offer what they are accustomed to.
2. Create a restaurant hashtag:
A restaurant hashtag is important to have because it tells your customers what hashtag to use when Instagramming photos of your restaurant. Having a hashtag helps you keep track of user-generated content. User-generated content is photos of your restaurant taken by your customers. Sharing customer-generated content is an important marketing strategy on Instagram. This is because it helps build a community and increases engagement. It also helps in saving time that you would have spent on creating content and now you can focus on the other aspects of restaurant marketing.
3. Do proper hashtag research:
Not only is it important to have a restaurant hashtag but it is also vital you extensively research your hashtags. By using the right hashtags you can increase your reach and the organic impressions that you make. In fact, hashtags are the biggest contributors to your impressions and reach. You can research hashtags by searching for different hashtags in Instagram and looking at how many posts the hashtag has. Your aim is to look for hashtags that will produce enough results to get the visibility of your posts. It is always a good idea to experiment with a few hashtags in the beginning. Make sure that you have hashtags that are specific to your restaurant like its location so that you target the right demographic. A good rule of thumb is to post hashtags in the first comment rather than your posts as it will make your posts look much cleaner.
4. Create Story Highlights:
Creating story highlights is a must for restaurant marketing on Instagram. You want to make sure that visitors of your profile have a lot of content to look at and information to learn before they go somewhere else and story highlights are crucial to this. Story highlights are like a navigation tab for your Instagram profile which makes it easier for visitors to glean different aspects of your restaurant. You can add different things to your highlights like the weekly specials, any offers like Happy Hours that you may have, meet the team or favourite user generate content. A pro tip is to design a story highlight cover as it makes your profile look professional as well as aesthetically pleasing. This can easily be done on the Stories itself or through third-party graphic designing websites and apps like Canva.
5. Take advantage of social media monitoring:
Another vital Instagram marketing tip is to use social media monitoring. Social media monitoring tools gather in real-time all the online mention of pre-defined keywords like the name of your restaurant or the restaurant hashtag. The simple but effective tool handles a few aspects of your online presence. These aspects include reputation monitoring, influencer marketing, finding customers and customer service. While social media monitoring is more complex, there are free tools on the internet that can help you navigate social media monitoring.
6. Stick to a definitive colour palette for your feed:
Consistency is the key. Therefore adhering to a definitive colour palette for your Instagram feed instantly makes your feed look prettier. You can choose anything from the colour of your walls or your tables or even your dishes to be the main focus of your colour palette. An inconsistent colour palette will make your feed look messy and unprofessional. Since restaurant marketing on Instagram is all about aesthetic appeal, you could lose a potential follower or even a customer. A good tip is to look at the bigger picture i.e. keep you entire feed in mind while posting instead of focusing on an individual post. Another good tip is to use Instagram grid planners as they help you visualise your feed.
7. Interact with followers:
There are multiple ways for you to interact with your followers. The obvious benefit of interacting with your followers is that it increases your engagement. You can interact with your followers by asking them for opinions and feedbacks. For example, if you are offering a new dish, you can hold a contest where customers can help you name the dish. You can even hold photo contests that encourage your customers to share photos of your food with creative captions. Make sure that you have a catchy incentive at the end of each contest which makes customers want to participate in the contest.
8. Partner with Influencers and Food Bloggers:
Food is one of the most popular industries on Instagram. This popularity arises from the hundreds of thousands of food bloggers, critiques and chefs that use Instagram as a platform for showcasing their skills. In fact, even an average person has blogged their food at one point or the other. The benefit this has to restaurants is that these influencers and bloggers have an engaged audience. Therefore partnering with these influencers and bloggers is a gold mine of potential new customers. Partnering with influencers doesn’t necessarily have to be pricey. Depending on your budget you can collaborate with influencers in various ways. Bloggers with a large following may charge you per post or story that they do for you. However, some micro-influencers are happy to give you a shout out for a free meal at your restaurant.
9. Combine Instagram marketing with other advertising:
Instagram has a very helpful feature which allows you to link your profile to other social media like Facebook. Hence it is important to overlap your Instagram account with other social media accounts. As someone may not follow you on Instagram but may follow your other social media accounts and you have to make sure they don’t miss out on your content. It is also crucial to publicise your Instagram account. You can do this by printing your Instagram and other social media handles in your menus. You can also add it on your website or if you are featured on restaurant aggregator apps like Zomato.
10. Photography Tips:
Marketing foods or restaurants on Instagram is all about being visually appealing. Instagram is an extremely visual platform and therefore being visually appealing is important. If you are planning on clicking pictures on your own for content then here are some basic photography tips that you need to keep in mind.
- Lighting: When clicking pictures of your dishes do not use flash or harsh overhead lights. Make sure that you use a softer light source so that the appearance is more natural-looking. For Instagram, the best lighting is natural lighting.
- Become an expert of the flat lay shot: The trend across Instagram is the flat lay shot. The flat lay shot is a shot taken from a bird’s view angle. This creates a satisfying effect. A good tip when clicking the flat lay shot is to have statement furniture or ornaments. These will make your pictures photogenic and stand out in a crowd. But make sure you don’t detract attention from the food itself. The dish has to be at the forefront of every photo.
- Diversify your feed: As important as it is to show off your food, it is also important to show off your restaurant and its ambience. You can even add photos of patrons enjoying their food or a fun picture of your staff.
This concludes the end of the list- Top 10 Instagram marketing tips for restaurants. A few important things to remember are that make sure your Instagram feed is consistent throughout and that your food is the focal point of your feed. With these handy tips in your tool belt, you are now ready to start marketing your restaurant and clicking with people (pun fully intended)!
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Join hundreds of small business owners
who trust us with their Digital Marketing
Our Digital Marketing Strategists only have a limited number of slots available for free sessions each month and they’re filling up fast. Don’t lose out on this, get in now before we start charging for our consultations again