Friday, March 4, 2016

6 Surprising Ways Instagram Can Help You Market Your Restaurant


In today’s increasingly connected world, many people use social media to discover new restaurants, thus making it more important than ever before for eateries to have a strong social media presence to bring in new customers. One of the best, but most overlooked, social-media platforms for generating excitement about a restaurant is Instagram, which, because it is focused around sharing images, serves as a great way for restaurants to call attention to both their décor and their food while also driving interactions with customers.

The following are some of the most important and creative ways of using Instagram in a restaurant marketing strategy:

Show off the whole restaurant.

Too often, restaurants fall into the trap of only posting photos of their food. While it is important to show pictures of various dishes, these photos alone do not tell the restaurant’s entire story. A restaurant’s Instagram account should not just be an online menu with photos of each item served. Instead, it should highlight the most interesting and most beautiful dishes while keeping viewers’ attention with photos of something other than food. One good idea is to ask regulars if it’s OK to take photos of them tasting the food or enjoying a cocktail. A smiling face is a surefire way to attract new customers.

Make use of hashtags and geotags.

One of the best ways to make the restaurant searchable is to use hashtags and geotags. A geotag embeds information into a photo about where it was taken. People can disable this functionality on smartphones and other advanced cameras, but keeping it on allows people in the area to search for nearby photos. If these individuals are looking for a restaurant and come across the establishment’s account, they may just stop by for a visit since it is close. Geotagging also allows restaurateurs to take advantage of people posting photos of the restaurant and its food on their own accounts. Hashtags are another great way to facilitate searching. While restaurant developers want to include the restaurant name and probably the city as a hashtag, they may also want to consider adding on special-event tags if applicable or highlighting a promotional food item, such as #crispycalamari or #jalapenomartini.

Share regularly and often rather than making photo dumps.

A basic tenet of search-engine optimization is that Google favors websites with regular updates and social-media shares. Restaurant developers should make regular, even daily, posts to keep the account active and encourage sharing among followers. When restaurateurs first open a new establishment, their impulse is often to post dozens of photos to pull people in. However, it is actually wiser to limit oneself to posting only a few each day for several weeks. Then, over time, the business will build an impressive online photo gallery while continuing to appear in follower’s feeds on a regular basis. If a restaurant developer takes the “photo dump” approach, the account will not rank as highly on a Google search, which will result in less organic sharing of content.

Offer Instagram deals to customers.

A great way to drive organic content directly from diners is to offer special promotions in return for customers taking and posting photos. These games and contests are fun and create a reason for people to come to the restaurant and promote it on social media. When restaurant developers begin to get creative, the marketing possibilities are endless.

Use high-quality photographs.

While it is not necessary for restaurateurs to hire professional photographers to take pictures for their establishment’s Instagram account, they should avoid posting low-quality and blurry pictures. To avoid this issue, they should read about the basics of photography to get a sense of how to use light and other elements to take a great photo. Then, they should use a good camera to capture all the images of their restaurant. Modern smartphones have excellent cameras capable of taking great pictures. In addition, they have built-in editing tools to make the photograph as clean as possible. While it may seem convenient to use the Instagram app to take photos, restaurateurs should avoid this because doing so ultimately puts a limit on the photo’s quality.

Connect Instagram with other social media.

 Any social-media marketing strategy should involve a wide range of websites, not just Instagram. The advantage of this multipronged approach is that individuals can easily link accounts. For example, people can set up the Instagram account to automatically post photos to Facebook. All blogs and websites associated with the restaurant should link to the Instagram. By cross-linking all accounts, restaurant owners ultimately make their marketing job easier by posting a couple of photos on each account weekly and then sharing across all accounts to maximize each post’s promotional value.