Five Instagram Tips for Restaurants
If it’s true that we eat with our eyes, then Instagram is one of the greatest marketing tools available to restaurants.
At last count, the social media platform boasted 700 million monthly users, showing its influential prowess. But how can restaurants use this to their advantage?
Here we offer five tips that all restaurants, regardless of size, location or customer base, can employ:
1. Tell a story
If nothing else, Instagram creates a platform to share your brand story. There’s many ways to express this: where you source your produce, images of floral arrangements, seasonal dishes, new cocktails, inside tips from the head chef… the list goes on.
Key to its success is creating compelling content and having a consistent theme for followers to recognise.
A good example, is Balthazar restaurant in Covent Garden, which has a clean precise identity often using colour against a white backdrop.
Sharing behind-the-scenes content is another great way of engaging followers. By downloading the Instagram app you can share ‘Instagram stories’ and images on-the-go. This could be a snapshot of your bar on a bustling Saturday night, or your latest fresh delivery on a Monday morning – it’s all builds brand loyalty.
2. A side of hashtags…
Used strategically, hashtags are a great way of tapping in to a wider conversation and can even increase your following.
Some of the most popular hashtags for restaurants include; #foodporn, #instafood #yum #foodie #nomnoms.
Dirty Bones restaurant in London has gained a cult following (and over 25k Instagram followers) using images and hashtags cleverly, take a look at their popular #ThirstyThursday post to the right.
Need inspiration? Look at what foodie bloggers such as Thoroughly Modern Minnie are doing.
3. A shot of interaction
Since social media is about two-way communication, take some time to interact with customers. Respond to comments and ‘regram’ quality videos and images posted.
It doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. This simple photo of its cookery school reposted by Simpsons restaurant in Birmingham, tells an interesting story from an aspiring chef.
Another way to drive interaction is to invite followers to name a cocktail or dish - like this restaurant did on the Isle of Man.
4. Serve with a theme
Seasonal themes and local events can provide a good angle for content, as well as show off your brand personality.
The Ivy in Wimbledon used this to maximum effect during the recent tennis championships, with its tennis ball dessert.
Furthermore, seasonal events such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and St Patrick's’ Day, for instance, offer the prime opportunity to showcase your specials.
Don’t forget, timing is everything. Inspire potential diners before lunch (11am) and pre-dinner (5-6pm) for maximum impact. You can even use overlays to bring images to life like this.
5. Things that make you go mmm!
Food and drink might lend itself to social media better than other subjects, since it’s extremely visual – hence the ‘food porn’ movement.
Tap in to this trend by sharing slowly chopped dishes, sizzling meats, pulled melted-cheese, chocolate bomb desserts and avocado dishes, among other mouth-watering delights.
Don’t forget to share your signature dish either, like these hanging kebabs from one of the most popular restaurants in Manchester, The Oast House (see right)!
This list is by no means exhaustive, but gives a flavour (so to speak) of how to use Instagram to its potential. It can take time to build your profile and following, and even longer to keep a fresh stream of engaging content. But the investment is worth it.
Written by Neil Sheth, founder of Only Way Online, which specialises in helping hospitality businesses reach more customers using Instagram marketing. Neil will be holding an Instagram seminar at Restaurant Tech Live: http://www.restauranttechlive.co.uk/speakers/neil-sheth/
Only Way Online