The importance of Instagram
Why is Instagram important for any restaurant? There are two key statistics to consider to answer this question. The first is that, according to consumer intelligence firm Maru/Matchbox, 69% of millennials take a photo or video of their food before eating. This shows just how many people are actively participating in food sharing images – and want to see them. The second statistic is that 30% of 18-35 year olds actively avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence – according to research by Italian chain Zizzi. So, if you’re not doing well at social media, your takings could suffer too. And, on the flip side, there are restaurants out there that have Instagram to thank for their popularity – one reported getting up to 70% of its business from the platform. Instagram gives you a way to engage a key generation – millennials – and an opportunity to generate new business. So, how do you get it right?
Tip 1) showcase all aspects
You don’t have to produce a grid that solely features images of food. Instagram users today are looking for something more from a restaurant before they hit the “follow” button. Yes, beautifully photographed food images are important but you can also feature events, interiors, staff and test dishes. Instagram Stories, in particular, are ideal for short videos and images that provide insights behind the scenes.
Tip 2) Sharing, searching and following
It’s crucial that your Instagram is easy for people to find so choose a simple name, preferably the name of your business. Use relevant keywords in your profile and, when you post photos, be liberal with the hashtags, from location hashtags to the type of food or the dish itself. This will make it easier for those with an interest in what you’re serving to find you. Remember to include a concise and pithy caption with each photo – it can be useful to stick to the old Twitter limit of 140 characters to make sure you don’t get too wordy. Ask questions to encourage followers to engage, answer when someone @ mentions you and engage with the profiles of others (liking and commenting) if you want them to engage with yours. A quick word on following: follow those accounts that genuinely interest you and don’t fall into the trap of following back every user who follows you.
Tip 3) Use video
Embrace the live video feature on Instagram or create short videos to post to your grid or add to your Stories. Video drives engagement and live video sees some of the highest response rates. 80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2019 and this is a great way to generate a higher profile for your account, as well as providing a very effective way for customers to engage.
Tip 4) Introducing new and signature dishes
An element of exclusivity always makes users feel more compelled to follow an Instagram account. If this is the platform where you’re introducing new and signature dishes that customers can be the first to know about then you’ll create interest and a reason to engage. You can also use this as an opportunity to get customers to join in, from naming new dishes to suggestions for new signature menu choices. All of this will contribute to a bigger follower base and growth of interest in your food.
If you’re keen to utilise Instagram to promote your restaurant then these are some key stages in setting up a successful account. Get the balance right with this social platform and the results could be game changing.