Instagram has the most marketing potential of any social media platform right now. It has over 700 million users.
Why is Instagram growing so quickly? The same reason it’s the perfect social platform for restaurants: it’s visual.
Food is one of the most Instagramable products on the planet. If you own a restaurant, you should take advantage of this.
It’s easy to reach new restaurant customers on Instagram. Here’s how:
1. Post Photos of Food!
You’d think this would go without saying, but if you’re running your restaurant’s Instagram account, post photos of your food! Every day I see restaurants posting little to no food photos and it blows my mind.
Did I mention food looks really good on Instagram? Food looks really good on Instagram!
Remember to take your photos in natural daylight rather than artificial light. Artificial light often produces a weird orange/yellow tint, while natural light helps photos stay crisp and true. Shoot your photos indoors next to a window to avoid excessive shadows.
Also remember to keep the viewer’s attention on the subject. Use a natural background that doesn’t distract and draw eyes away from the food.
Ava Gene’s, an Italian restaurant in Portland, utilizes natural light and backgrounds beautifully for their photos:
2. Write Short Captions
Don’t get carried away with captions. Your Instagram follower’s attention only lasts so long. Captions don’t sell, photos do.
However, captions are useful. They can hook new customers and increase engagement.
To do this, keep them short, smart, and humorous.
Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken does this well:
Using emojis is a fun way to grab your followers’ attention quickly. However, you don’t want to overdo it. A caption overloaded with emojis doesn’t look genuine, however a carefully placed emoji or two can add personality.
Milk and Cream Bar in NYC use emojis well in their posts:
Another good caption strategy is asking questions. Questions can get your followers to engage with your posts and tag their friends in comments.
However, you need to ask simple, easy to answer questions. Remember, you’re not quizzing your followers, you’re trying to get them to engage with your post!
Here’s a great example of simple, engaging question from Screamer’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn:
3. Tag Location of Photos and Stories
Tagging the location of your posts and stories is one of the best ways to increase engagement.
Posts tagged with a location receive 79% more engagement. It’s an easy way to make your restaurant more visible in your local market. Location tags are searchable and also increase your chances of appearing on the Explore page in your area.
The best location tag to use is your actual restaurant location. If your restaurant location doesn’t exist on Instagram yet, you can easily create one.
4. Use Hashtags (But Don’t Overdo It)
Hashtags are yet another way to make your posts more visible. However, they can make or break your posts.
Copy and pasting the same batch of hashtags on every post can be seen as “spammy” and can even get you shadowbanned.
Instead, you should focus on using hashtags that are relevant to each individual post.
Also, don’t forget to use local hastags such as your city name to reach your most important potential customers – locals.
You can even hashtag your post in a comment to avoid unnecessary caption clutter.
Champs Diner in Brooklyn uses excellent hashtags in each post’s first comment and keeps the hashtags relevant to avoid getting shadowbanned:
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