In these times when most of us spend so much of our day on our phones and social media, you need to be reaching your customers where they are going to see you first.
While Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, Instagram has hit the ground running over the last few years – from September 2017 to June 2018, Instagram active monthly users went from 800 million to a billion.
As half of those (500 million) use the platform every day, you are crazy not to be cashing in on this easy access to connecting with your customers and boosting your restaurant. Want to know how?
Here’s our top eight Instagram marketing secrets for restaurants:
Why Restaurants Need Instagram
Did you know 38% of Instagram users look at food images and 27% of users share food pictures? #food shows up in more than 250 million posts a month and foodies visit Insta around 18 times a day – as a restaurant, you need to use this to your advantage.
Instagram offers benefits you won’t get from other social media sites; food posts are some of the most engaged and when you learn to harness the power of these posts, you can improve brand recognition and increase your business.
Benefits of Instagram for your restaurant:
You’ve heard the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Instagram takes advantage of this better than any other social media platform, instead of describing your daily special – take a picture and post it.
Just the sight of delicious food will tempt customers to order from your restaurant, or prompt regulars to come back in and spend more money, time and time again.
Think about what captions add precious information to the image; use Instagram stories to make your restaurant more personable; respond to customer posts and market your restaurant in creative ways.
The more you think about Instagram marketing, the more reasons you’ll find to use it to boost your restaurant to your customers.
How To Keep Your Customers Engaged On Instagram
Obviously, you’re not the only restaurant using Instagram to market their business. There’s a lot of competition out there…and there isn’t a set of rules for you to follow.
Even questions like ‘how often should I post on Instagram?’ don’t have definitive answers – some restaurants post once or twice a day, others post more often on days, when they know their customers will be responsive.
Think happy hour on Friday night, posting an image of a cheeky cocktail is sure to garner attention and bring customers through the doors.
Check out some of the best restaurant Insta pages for 2020:
No matter who, or where you're. When you look at some of the best, you learn some things....
Show off your most popular (and delicious) menu items:
Use Instagram to post mouthwatering images of your best, most popular, or new menu items. For a bigger splash, add a caption including an emoji, a fun fact, or funny text.
Check out these examples for inspiration:
Use restaurant Instagram hashtags:
In case you’ve been under a rock, Instagram is all about hashtags. But beware, not all hashtags are created equal; some work better than others for marketing your restaurant.
Here’s a few that should help get you more engagement and returning customers:
Post Enticing Videos:
While a picture might be worth a thousand words, a video hits the million mark. Use #foodporn on Insta to post a video of a steaming plate or pasta, or a spoon digging into a mouthwatering lava cake and watch the engagement.
Your customers love to see behind-the-scenes action, think about posting clips of your Chef cooking a popular dish; or staff working in the kitchen.
Ask Your Customers Questions And Respond To Them:
Whenever a customer posts a picture of your restaurant or food, engage quickly and respond with a short note – thanks for sharing, looks awesome!
Here’s how Ally Chow does it:
Another great way to get more engagement from your posts, is to ask your customers questions – check out this post:
Show customers your priorities:
Does your restaurant focus on something special, like sourcing ingredients from your own kitchen garden, or supporting local farmers and producers?
Showing customers your priorities will help them understand your brand and want to support your business. For example, you could post dessert captions for Insta that contain a tag of the farm where you get your milk from.
Emerging food trends focus on local sourcing, fresh produce, healthy eating and authentic items. Here’s how….used this in their posts:
And finally, the most important marketing tip of all – the best time to post on Instagram for restaurants. This isn’t rocket science peeps, the best time to post is when people are hungry!
At 9am, between noon and 1pm and at 8pm, people are on their phones looking for food images and trying to decide what to eat. Post a picture of a dish that is going to grab both their appetite and attention and watch the results…