Ryan Williams
Jeremy Julian

Social Media Marketing: Instagram

December 21, 2016

Today we are going to talk about Instagram and how your business can use it to grow revenue and build customer engagement. If you have been following along in our series then you are in luck. We are applying everything we have talked about with Facebook and Twitter to make you a more effective Instagram user.

 

If you have missed any of our previous articles, click on the links below:

 

Instagram is social media outlet that let’s users share photos and add captions, that includes mentions (other users) as well as hashtags. The user can put any amount of text in their caption, but it is very unwise to do so. Keep it short and simple. However, just like with Twitter, keyword research and usage are part of the key to a strong account. The other half, that is equally if not more important, is the photo. Quality, beautiful images are what will bring in followers.

 

Here are our tips for a stronger Instagram account:

  1. Take beautiful photos – Everything on Instagram starts with the photos and videos you take yourself. And this is especially important when you’re trying to promote your menu. Keep in mind the best practices for taking pictures of food, such as using natural light, adding garnishes to spice up your photo and using different angles to make the image more intriguing. The better your food looks in your pictures, the more likely customers are to come out and try it.
  2. Be searchable & sharable – Select an easily recognizable Instagram username and use relevant business keywords in your profile to help increase your search-results. Tag posts with hashtags, and be sure to make them relevant so users can find you. This relates to what we stated in our tips for Twitter: “When first starting out, use large-reaching hashtags, especially those that incorporate your city, state, food type (#tacotuesday) and beverage (#craftbeer, #wine, #martini, etc).” Also, make yourself shareable across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social media outlets. Any caption that are long may be cut off if someone shares one of your images on Twitter or another outlet.
  3. Integrate with other social media – We touched on this lightly in the tip above, but be sure to overlap your Instagram with the other social media outlets you use. Even if a user doesn’t follow you on Instagram, they still might follow you on Facebook or Twitter. Share photos on all of your networks to increase views and gain followers. Also, use Instagram’s embed feature. Now you can add photos and videos to your restaurant website or blog, even if you are not 100% familiar with HTML. This user-friendly web embed feature lets you simply copy and paste an Instagram photo’s code to easily place the image on your website or blog.
  4. Incentivize customer’s to post/tag your restaurant – At the end of the day, any time customers post about your restaurant, they are essentially providing you with free advertising to their followers. And regardless of whether those customers have 100,000 followers or only 100, these user-generated posts can be highly influential. So why not reward them? When you create an incentive for customers to tag your restaurant on Instagram, you make it much more likely that they’ll actually do it. Whether it’s a discount on the bill or a free scoop of ice cream, these small incentives can dramatically increase the number of people who tag your restaurant on Instagram, further spreading the word about your business. For some people, even having their photo shared by your account is enough motivation to post.
  5. Advertise special offers – Instagram can also be an effective method to advertise special offers or events. As you build an active following, be sure to post about any special deals or events that you’re hosting. This messaging is guaranteed to bring more customers through the door.
  6. Use Instagram’s video option – This allows you to take customer interaction one step further. Be among the first of restaurants to highlight your specials, staff, and customers with this highly popular feature. Here are couple ideas you could use:
    1. Uncork a wine bottle, pour into a glass, and raise it to salute the weekend.
    2. Introduce diners to your chef at work in the kitchen.
    3. Show a “before” shot of ingredients, the food prep process, and the final dish being served.
    4. Create a quick how-to to make popular specialty cocktail.

 

If you’re in the restaurant business, Instagram is clearly the way to go for effective social media marketing. Whether you’re taking your own beautiful photos to advertise special deals or finding ways to get your customers more directly engaged, effectively using Instagram is guaranteed to bring you new business.

 

Need to pass the time before our next article? Check out our friends over at Custom Business Solutions and their next- generation NorthStar Order Entry System.

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