Instagram for Restaurants

By Tricia Hoy

Instagram is heating up in the restaurant world. Food is visual, and restaurateurs naturally recognize the importance of presentation. With its rising popularity and ability to connect users through visuals, Instagram has untapped potential to spread word of mouth online.

Instagram has many applications for restaurants:

Show off menu changes, ingredients, and dining space. Create curiosity and engagement amongst your guests. Welcome new staff members, publicize events, and give your guests a look inside the kitchen (with photos of the chef creating).

Instagram boasts more than 1 billion monthly active users, with 500 million people using instagram stories daily, and 200 million users visiting at least one business profile daily. Instagram's potential advertising reach is 849 million users. Instagram is where a lot of the action is in terms of social sharing.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so how can you use Instagram to promote your restaurants? Here are a few ideas to get started:

1. Make sure your profile is complete.

Nothing looks worse than an incomplete profile with minimal or monotonous photos. It can be easy to overlook a few details when building your profile, but to ensure that your guests and potential new customers can find you easily in search results, completing it is important.

2. Pick a hashtag to represent yourself, and use it often.

Instagram allows you tag your photos with hashtags (i.e., #SpeedyPizza) so that each photo is easy to find in a search of the database. Choose one or two tags to make your own (such as your restaurant name) and use them repeatedly for brand recognition.

3. Be relevant. And frequent.

Upload specials, events, or any other photo or video that would make someone stop scrolling through their photo feed or instagram stories to click through to your content. And do it often. Keep your brand recognizable daily.

4. Connect with other Social Media channels.

Instagram allows you to upload a single photograph to multiple platforms at the same time. Upload a photo to Instagram, and then share it on Facebook and Twitter.

5. Reward followers.

Host menu previews or other special events for your loyal followers, or treat them to a free app or dessert by running a contest promoted via Facebook and Twitter. Encourage guests to share images from their meal and include a #hashtag for tracking.

6. Engage with Instagram's tools.

Get your restaurant and brand noticed by interacting with your own content in fun ways:

  • Use geo tags to tie your images to specific places and provide potential followers with another point of engagement. Utilizing this feature alerts other users in your area to your presence, and can be used as a starting point for connecting with new local followers.
  • Turn your Instagram activity into a game. You can do much more than just upload a few images and wait for people to follow. Run contests that encourage followers to submit their own pictures under your company's hashtags or caption contests to encourage sharing.

How to measure your ROI.

How can you prove that Instagram is worth your time and effort? Applications such as Iconosquare, a powerful analytics program, can assist you in analyzing your Instragram campaign, with the ability to:

  • View account statistics - track your Instagram ‘likes,’ and monitor follower loss and growth.
  • Break down which photos your followers tend to enjoy more.
  • Monitor #hashtags & search out company and brand mentions.
  • Add a "follow us on Instagram" button to your website, blog, or other social media channels.
Consider how you could add Instagram into your restaurant online marketing strategy. Develop a strategy for content, and encourage your staff to help maintain a frequent, engaged presence.


Posted on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 14:06 PM.
Updated on May 28, 2020 @ 7:26 PM PST.

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Tags: Restaurant Marketing, social media

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