Instagram has revolutionized the way the food and beverage industry does marketing and advertising — putting an emphasis not just on creating photo-worthy dishes and food trends, but also on building a following that translates to a loyal customer base.
No one said 'gramming is easy, but the platform and the food trends it inspires are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Why not take advantage? An engaged social media following keeps you top of mind for your audience, but that's not all. Your restaurant becomes visible to second- and even third-degree connections whenever someone likes or comments on a post, helping you reach an exponential number of people with each new follower.
The best benefit of all? Unless you want to run Insta ads, using the platform is totally free. If you're not taking advantage of available networks, you're leaving money on the table.
So, how do you achieve success on Instagram in the age of never-ending food trends? A few expert tips (and a little team effort) can go a long way. Read on, then prepare your camera for some activity.
Sporadic posting won't harm your brand, but it won't do it any good, either. Research reported on by The Daily Dot indicated that most people are on Instagram during non-business hours, so it makes sense to schedule regular posts as people are getting out of work (and thinking about dinner).
While weekends can be touch-and-go for most businesses, this is a key time for restaurateurs to showcase their latest dishes — because it's when most people are ready to splurge on a night out. Of course, if breakfast is your specialty, you might want to schedule your sumptuous shots of croissants and shakshuka for around 6 a.m. Once you decide what makes sense for you, stick to a regular posting schedule.
Know who your customers are, and be yourself when you communicate with them on social media. You're more than a brand on Instagram — use the platform to ask your followers questions, promote events, run contests and plug new offerings. You can even start your own food trend, as long as there's a market for it and you're not just doing it as a gimmick.
Be sure to respond to any comments or complaints (either publicly or privately) that people may post on your page. Mistakes happen, and responding directly to the negative stuff is the best form of damage control.
Getting the best possible shots of your food is important. But while you're getting the lighting just right and trying out different angles, don't forget to ask yourself whether what you post on Instagram aligns with what someone would be served at your restaurant.
If you're using edible flowers and gold leaf for your social media shots, you should be prepared to garnish all dishes with luxe touches. You're setting an expectation when you post an image, so set the bar at a level that you're prepared to exceed every time.
If you're still feeling daunted by all the different photos and filter options, talk to a marketing professional who can help find a social strategy that works for you.