Did you know that, on average, 25% of your guests post photos of your restaurant on social media, for example, to let friends know how good the experience was? Therefore, restaurant marketing on Instagram is the means for catering businesses to generate visibility, attract new guests, and stay top of mind with existing relationships.
Instagram marketing for restaurants more important than reviews:
Instagram is currently a more valuable marketing platform for restaurants than ever because, in 2021, restaurants’ own social media channels will lead to the choice of the guest in 75% of restaurant visits. This means that at least 3/4 of the restaurant visitors determine in the orientation phase on Instagram and Facebook whether or not they enter a restaurant. That’s some serious mass!
Review platforms are also still important, but their marketing power is diminishing. Guests increasingly realize that the reviews can’t always be trusted – often even written by the restaurant owner – and therefore rarely read them. And with Instagram as the fastest growing social platform of 2019 and 2021, we now prefer to look at the Instagram account of the catering company. That makes restaurant marketing on Instagram extra important this year.
Be hospitable online too!
Let’s dispel a myth right away: The main goal of restaurant marketing on Instagram is not to accumulate thousands of followers. As nice as that is: the most important function of your Instagram is to translate hospitality in the business to online. In other words, you want your restaurant’s online experience on Instagram to be the same as the physical experience when guests walk in your door. As long as you focus on that, the followers will come naturally.
But how exactly does restaurant marketing on Instagram work? We have listed nine tips for you!
Go for User Generated Content (UGC) with a sub-niche hashtag
Okay, we’ll start with a tricky one right away, but stay with us! A niche is nothing but your little piece on the internet and – specifically here – on Instagram. Choosing a niche is important in restaurant marketing on Instagram, and choosing a sub-niche is even more important! A niche, and certainly a sub-niche, distinguishes you from other restaurants. The goal: by choosing a clear niche in your restaurant marketing on Instagram, you quickly leave the competition behind.
What is a niche, and what is a sub-niche?
A niche is a theme in which you will post on Instagram. For example, you can choose the theme ‘restaurant’ or ‘café.’ The purpose of a niche is to stand out from a target group that is specifically looking for this theme on Instagram. In a niche such as ‘restaurant,’ the competition with other restaurants is still very high. Therefore, the trick is to choose a niche within a niche: a sub-niche. A sub-niche is a theme within the main theme that you have chosen.
Choose a niche hashtag for restaurant marketing on Instagram.
The next step is to choose one or two hashtags that match your niche. Think, for example, of #veganrestaurant or, as in the case of The Vegan Junkfood Bar, #veganjunkfood. You can save this hashtag in your bio text on Instagram. This way, guests who have eaten at your restaurant know which hashtag to use when sharing a photo of your restaurant.
Use parentheses: holidays, seasons and national holidays:
A great restaurant marketing strategy on Instagram is to schedule posts around parentheses such as seasonal changes, patio
openings, your business’s birthday, and national holidays or holidays. #InternationalWomensDay, #Veganuary, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Easter or Christmas. Creating content for these moments increases your reach (because the hashtags are trending) and is super practical because you can think, create and plan it way in advance. This is how you do it:
Step 1. Think of a cool promotion for this day:
For example, mothers get free coffee on Mother’s Day, a complete vegan 3-course dinner for a reduced price on World Vegan Day, or hide Easter eggs in the store at Easter.
Step 2. Think of creative posts around it for Instagram
Create a simple campaign to promote your restaurant marketing campaign on Instagram. Think of an announcement, a post that encourages your followers to tag someone in the comments and quick
A tight feed
The eye also wants something. On Instagram, the very first thing you see is the feed and whether it’s a cohesive whole. Making a strong visual impression is therefore extremely important. A messy impression is a bad first impression. Make sure to keep a consistent colour palette with images from alternating angles. It could be the colour of your walls, the surface of the tables, or some other consistent factor.
Try to alternate consistency and busy images with calmer photos, images or quotes. The second goes for a clear theme that creates a much more satisfying effect for profile visitors.
Stories, stories and another story!
When someone lands on your profile, you want to give them as much as possible to look at your restaurant and learn more about it before they go elsewhere. Story highlights act like a menu on your Instagram profile, which users can click and view, much like a website.
Whether it’s your menu, weekly specials, staff, events, guests or a special playlist – think about what you want to convey about your hospitality business at the top of your profile so that visitors will want to follow you!
Show your most sensitive side on your restaurant’s Instagram
Instagram is a useful social network to gain recognition for your business by highlighting the restaurant’s online presence through photos or videos. Sharing experiences and showing the dishes on the day’s menu offers a space for your customers to announce your company trends.
But you can not stop there. We know you have a sensitive page, and you should point it out to Instagram as well.
Social tasks such as delivering unsold food to those in need, hosting social food events or some actions to support your community can also be posted on Instagram.
This does not mean that you understand the situation. It is to show that you are part of solving the problems of your community and to show that behind a brand, there are people who are responsible for the environment.
Show what the chef and the rest of your staff are doing.
Once the profile is created, you can see everything that happens in the restaurant. This will make your account and project transparency refreshing.
You can show the process of buying ingredients from your chef at the local market, preparing a dish or how to prepare them for a service.
We love gossip, so reveal your secrets, show the camaraderie that connects your team, and enhance your brand.
It is also common to post photos or videos of your customers or place them with people who enjoy a special menu. This brings authenticity and naturalness to your Instagram restaurant profile.
Collaborate with influencers and food bloggers
Food is such a popular industry on Instagram (I mean, we all need to eat good food, right?). There are thousands of influencers and bloggers in the area sharing recommendations, recipes and great content for restaurants. These users typically have a very engaged audience in the areas in which they are based, so partnering with them is a great way to use restaurant marketing tactics to reach new potential customers.
There are so many ways to collaborate with influencers, depending on your budget and your goal.
Hold Contests & Giveaways
A valuable restaurant marketing tactic for Instagram is to compete with your audience. This increases engagement – with your followers liking and responding to join – and your reach – by making ‘tag a friend’ a requirement to join. Your followers, therefore, help brand awareness by tagging people (who probably also live in your area) in the contest post!
Competitions require organization because you have to decide on:
The way of entry
How to choose the winner
How they redeem the prize
Promotion Terms and Conditions
Fotografietip: de flat lay shot!
A trend in restaurant marketing on Instagram is a flat-lay shot. Restaurants and food bloggers alike photograph their tables from a bird’s eye view to create the satisfying effect we’re so used to seeing on Instagram. Yes, it can be a little embarrassing to stand on a chair to take a picture, but it’s what you need to do if you want your Instagram profile to stand out!
This lends itself to having eye-catching furniture or ornaments to make your tables pop on Instagram! Think photos first: whether its flowers, napkins with eye-catching patterns or pretty embellishments.
A quality DSLR or a good phone takes your restaurant marketing to the next level.
Good lighting is important for restaurant marketing for both you and your food photography and the photos your customers will take and share on Instagram! Natural lighting lends itself well to Instagram, especially for those accounts looking for a pale theme or colour palette. But even if your restaurant (and therefore Instagram feed) is dark, you should always try to photograph your food in well-lit environments.
If you’re promoting new dishes or seasonal specialties on Instagram, take the photos on a table with the best natural lighting or outside.
Do not shoot food in full direct sunlight as it can overexpose the shot and create harsh shadows.
The composition of the shot itself supports this. Especially for flat lays, it’s great to have a variety of table supports that enhance the photo, but you have to be careful not to distract from the food and drink you’re trying to highlight.
Utilizing All the Features Instagram Has to Offer:
- Stories are photographs or recordings that stay on your profile for 24 hours. These are great to use for maybe new item drop prods and so on. When the 24 hours have slipped by, you can include stories to feature your profile. You can make different features for independent subjects to make it more straightforward for clients to explore.
- Reels (like TikTok) permit you to feature short pieces of your business in the background.
- IGTV is where you can post longer recordings, like cook along with recordings or Q&a’s.
Ideal content for restaurant Instagram
But, no matter what it looks like, not everything said is easy.
People look to Instagram for good news; they do not wish to receive daily information obtained through other means or historical accounts.
Focus on presenting content with the following features so you can see how your following grows:
It’s just a matter of wanting to learn something about cooking. Some of us are more skilled than others, but we all like to know the details.
Educate your customers through your Instagram account.
It shows how to make good wine, which is better combined with any type of dish, how to cook a sauce or base, and some of its ingredients attract the attention of many people.
You can also do this by paying attention to the type of food you serve. For example, if your restaurant has a sushi restaurant, it will show its history, ingredients, preparation methods, types of sushi, etc.
The idea is that your prospect thinks that they will benefit just by following your wallet. In this case, the bonus is knowledge.
This is also an important topic. Social networks are considered entertainment channels, although they still face serious problems these days.
Most people want to have fun on that news channel, so they show some entertainment programs. This isn’t because you’re dressed like a clown, but you’re smart and playing with photos of how you look amazing. You can also use all the resources you have, such as videos and cartoons. Living in a world of static photography can be reversible.
The trust was built in years and disappeared in a second.
You are a reputable business, and your customers need to try to build the trust of your audience.
Don’t be afraid of the light. Respond to everything, even negative comments. Use the risks to your advantage. The complaint feed is a great source of data as you grow. Listen to him and fix necessary things.
Market your products intelligently
What happens when you walk into a store and have an attendant behind you who keeps saying, “How can I help you?”
Many think this is a good service, but it is a sales technique that most people are uncomfortable with.
Do not do the same on your social networks. You have to sell your products, no doubt, but do it with intelligence.
Depending on your Instagram theme, you can create particularly colorful compositions or contrast only using items of a similar color that complement each other without drawing attention to it, which are ideal. Compose your composition and think about angles and leading lines that draw attention to your dishes. That makes it look beautiful!
Finally, the overarching goal in food photography is to make viewers’ mouths water.