The manager runs up to a patron in his café, with a concerned frown on his face, “Sir, I just wanted to check all is okay with your food as I couldn’t help but notice…that you haven’t Instagrammed it yet?” This restauranteur understands all too well the power of a snap and a share on Instagram, and he wants it badly! He gets that this one meal has the power to transcend this particular sitting. And so he has joined the myriad of restauranteurs who are embracing Instagram in restaurant marketing, in order to promote new menu items and gain new followers. So as a forward-thinking entrepreneur, consider these six ways to effectively use Instagram in restaurant marketing.

Why promoting your restaurant on Instagram is so important

In case you have been living under a rock, Instagram is a monster of a social platform. Together with its original unique proposition (highly visual, immediate and widescale brand exposure), it now includes business profiles, analytics, advanced metrics and bulk schedulers making it the ideal tool for restaurant marketing. 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 some powerful stats.

How to use Instagram to consistently grow your followers and increase sales.

1. Create an Instagram business profile

Instagram Glyph

Embedding the Instagram icon on your website will also enable your visitors to easily share your feeds and images.

The clever folks at Instagram have recently introduced profiles tailored to businesses. By creating this type of account, you gain immediate access to analytics, upping the chance of your followers seeing you in news feeds. It also allows customers to contact you directly through Instagram. So as a business owner, who is serious about this channel, the first port of call is opening an account and switching to a business profile.

2. Cross-pollinate your feeds

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. Like sharing your Facebook feeds to Instagram. This will also allow potential customers to click on the link found on other platforms and immediately move over to your Instagram profile. We like using Buffer to post on multiple profiles at once, and the service is free for up to three profiles.

3. Keep it catchy

Instagrammers have an incredibly short attention span. If your posts are long-winded or over complicated you will be relegated out of their feed with one mighty swipe of the thumb. So short and concise is the name of the game.

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 who they would love to share this dish 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 boost your customer base.

5. Customers love free stuff

This leads onto the next point: Feed a food blogger and a contest winner, and you’ve basically grown your Instagram following for free. This is a great way to use Instagram in restaurant marketing. An effective strategy is to work with foodie Influencers. They 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 [your restaurant handle here].” Ask the influencer if they’ll share four or five pictures over the course of the next week and a half, and watch the followers roll in. Just one proviso: Rotate influencers and only do a few contests at a time per Influencer. That way customers don’t get ‘contest fatigue’.

6. Do Hashtag Research

Example of hashtags

Research hashtags that will help locals find you.

Instagrammers follow profiles as well as hashtags. Plus, posts with hashtags generate 12,6% more engagement than posts without. You want to get on that train. So make yourself searchable by tagging posts with hashtags that will increase search results. Begin by typing into your search bar and find hashtags that will get you serious organic views. Similarly, not so many that will have you buried beneath millions of competitive posts. Also, consider hashtagging location to generate followers in your area. For example: #breakfastinsydney #sydneyfood #sydneyeats #sydneycafes #sydneyfoodie #foodobsessedbloggersydney #instafoodie #cafelife #restaurantaustralia #sydney #ilovesydney

Bonus: Promoted content

If you have the budget, reach out to companies that promote restaurants and food!

National Examples:

Local Examples:

Just search for your city followed by ‘food’ for more options.

Did you know that one of the top five reasons Beyond Merchant Capital is contacted for working capital is to fund marketing projects? Speak to our Lending Specialists today about funding your next campaign. #beyondmerchantcapital



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