“A picture is worth a thousand words,” but with over 700 million active users posting on Instagram, and millions of food pictures, how can you break through the clutter and noise and stand out? Draw your patrons into your restaurant by promoting your Instagram-worthy dishes, beautifully photographed picture of your star menu items. Instagram has become a powerful marketing tool that lets you develop your brand through photographs, videos, and live feeds.
A strong social media strategy is key to optimizing your reach and engaging with customers directly. Here are some tips and tricks to building a brand, optimizing the content you post, achieving organic growth, and affecting change in the noisy world around you.
Develop Creative Content
Creativity is key to making your restaurant stand out on Instagram. Take advantage of the different media Instagram allows you to use – pictures, videos, Boomerangs, and live videos. Boomerangs and videos are great for action shots such as pouring maple syrup onto a stack of pancakes or pulling apart a grilled cheese. Make your food look real and delicious. Lighting, angles and editing all contribute to the final shot. Natural lighting can be optimal for delicious photos, but you can also get creative with artificial lighting and shadows. For angles, stick to your brand and personal style. You may prefer to use a variety of angles: depending your photo, you may want to use a bird’s eye view or a 90-degree angle from the side. A side angle is great for food that is stacked, such as pancakes or a sandwich. A birds-eye view is great when featuring multiple dishes on a table. If you focus on getting the right lighting, you will have a great shot that requires minimal editing. Avoid over-editing or over-filtering your photos. Check out this great layout posted by Union Square Hospitality:
A post shared by Union Square Hospitality Group (@ushgnyc) on
Optimize Your Posting Frequency
Post too often and you will create too much noise for your followers. Post too infrequently and your followers may lose interest and forget about you. Discover your sweet spot, the optimal number of times to post per week as well as your “best” time of day to post. Use a calendar to set posting goals and stick to them! Learn more about your audience’s demographics to better plan your posting schedule. Instagram for business can also provide advanced analytics on your followers, which can help you determine your sweet spot over time. Your posts will be more effective if you only post once a day or a few times per week.
Expand Your Reach by Using Tags
Draw attention to your post with hashtags and by tagging Instagram users directly on your photos. This gives you an opportunity to bring new followers directly to your page. Instagram only allows you to use 30 hashtags and 20 tags per post, so make sure you choose wisely and use hashtags that relate to your content and are popular, such as #instagood or #foodstagram.
Engage with Your Audience to Achieve Organic Growth
Engage with your followers and be an active participant in the Instagram community around you and you will see steady growth over time. Engage with your most loyal followers and customers by liking, following, and commenting on their page. Show that you appreciate and care about their support. Collaboration can be a helpful way to engage and grow as well. Collaborate with similar accounts and businesses to help grow your brand while promoting one another. Invite Instagram influencers into your restaurant so that they can share shots of your food with the world. Proper engagement will help drive traffic to the restaurant and can help build brand loyalty.
Building a Brand
Every interaction you have on social media (link to http://blog.averoinc.com/surviving-social-media-in-5-easy-steps), every post, comment or like you publish on Instagram contributes to your overall brand. Link your Instagram to your restaurant’s other social accounts – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Snapchat - to build a stronger following and establish a 360-degree view of your brand. Make sure that you include a link to your restaurant’s website in your Instagram bio and your restaurant’s email address, phone number, and directions in the contact section.
How AveroBuzz can help your Instagram
We'd recommend using a tool like Avero Buzz to help you manage your brand with a direct integration with Instagram. Avero Buzz provides you with analytics, an ‘interaction score’, and custom searches that let you drive engagement and foster loyalty with your followers. A one-stop shop by design, you can also link your other social media accounts in Avero Buzz to ensure that you are building a consistent brand presence across multiple platforms. If you haven’t already, download our Social Media Survival Guide for easy reference when handling social media and digital marketing.
Until next time - Gram away!