Instagram marketing methods for restaurants that will help you increase sales
Knowing the most effective Instagram marketing techniques for restaurants can help your business reach new customers and sell more food.
While Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, Instagram has snowballed in recent years. Between September 2017 and June 2018, Instagram grew from 800 million to 1 billion monthly active users. Half of them (500 million) use the platform every day. It would be a waste not to use Instagram as a restaurant owner to connect with your audience and boost your sales.
Without further ado, let's take a look at how you can take advantage of these numbers and get started with restaurant Instagram marketing.
Why restaurants need Instagram to succeed
First, because 38% of Instagram users view food content and 27% of users share food content. Food appears in more than 250 million posts per month, and foodies visit Instagram about 18 times a day. It's clear that food on Instagram is very popular, and restaurants can work this to their advantage.
A look at Instagram demographics shows why you need the platform to build your restaurant's success. According to the PEW Research Center, 72 percent of teens use Instagram.
Adolescents appear to like Instagram's emphasis on visual communication. They are more interested in sharing photos and videos than long text posts.
Videos may be the future of marketing. Recent video marketing statistics show that over 85% of U.S. Internet users now watch videos online. In addition, 3 out of 4 customers say that video convinced them to buy or download an application or software. So video has a lot of potential for your business.
At this point, teens probably don't play a big role in the success of your restaurant. They may convince their parents to take them to some restaurants for family dinners, but teens don't have a lot of money to spend.
Nevertheless, teenagers can help you build a restaurant with lasting success. In a few years, they'll graduate from college, have a job and more money to spend. If they already like your restaurant, then they'll want to spend that money on breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
So why is Instagram important for restaurants in particular? Instagram offers benefits that you won't find on other social media sites. Food posts on Instagram are some of the most followed types of posts. When you learn how to harness the power of these posts, you can improve your brand recognition and increase your sales.
The benefits of Instagram for restaurants
The smartphones that companies made a decade ago took decent pictures. However, today's phones have such advanced technology that many filmmakers have used smartphones to shoot movies.
The improvement of screens and cameras has changed the way people communicate. Phones are getting smarter, people are using them less to make calls. Instead, they are texting or emailing each other.
It's like the old saying: a picture is worth a thousand words.
Instagram leverages this principle more than any other social media platform.
Instead of describing your dish of the day, you can take a picture of it and post it on Instagram. The sight of well-prepared dishes will encourage more customers to order from your restaurant.
Other benefits of Instagram for restaurants include:
- Instagram captions for restaurants that add valuable information to photos.
- Instagram stories for restaurants that make your business more personal.
- The ability to reply to customer posts and share reviews on Instagram restaurants.
- Access to features that help you market your restaurant creatively.
Thinking about Instagram marketing for restaurants is even more important as you find reasons to use the platform for business purposes.
How to keep your customers engaged on Instagram: Instagram marketing tips for restaurants
Even if you have a lot of creative ideas, you'll face stiff competition from other restaurants that use Instagram well.
Following Instagram best practices for restaurants should help you keep your customers engaged. Unfortunately, there isn't one set of rules to follow.
You can ask a simple question like "how often should a restaurant post on Instagram?". Well, some restaurants post once or twice a day. Others post more often on days when their customers are feeling receptive.
Since you don't know specifically what and when to post, you should learn about restaurant marketing ideas and trends by following successful businesses.
Show off your most popular (and most delicious) dishes
Post enticing photos of your best, most popular or new menu items. For added impact, add a caption to the photo. It can include any of the following:
- Fun Facts
- Original Legends
- A funny text
Use the restaurants' Instagram hashtags
On Instagram, it's all about hashtags. However, not all hashtags are created equal. Some work better than others for restaurants. Here's a list of hashtags you can use on your posts to get more engagement:
If you lack inspiration, use a tool like Instavast to generate specific hashtags for the photo you want to upload. Upload the photo to the website first and it will provide you with relevant hashtags to use.
Show customers your priorities: focus on the quality of your ingredients
Does your restaurant focus on anything in particular, such as getting ingredients from your own farm or sourcing vegetables from local farmers?
Show customers your priorities to help them better to understand your brand. For example, you could post dessert captions on Instagram with a tag from the dairy farm where you source your milk. You could also highlight the importance of getting dairy products from a cruelty-free source. Emerging food trends focus on local sourcing, fresh produce, healthy eating, and a focus on authentic items.
Publish attractive videos
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is definitely worth a million. On Instagram, there's a phenomenon called #foodporn. Use it to post videos of a steaming plate of pasta or a spoon sinking into a mouthwatering lava cake.
Customers also like to see behind the scenes of the brands they love, so consider posting clips of your chef cooking a popular dish or your staff managing everything smoothly in the kitchen.
Answer your customers
When someone posts a photo of your restaurant or food, always react quickly and respond with a quick note.
A message like "Thanks for sharing [first name]! It looks great!" has a personal touch and will make your customers feel part of a community.
Advertise table reservations
If you offer the option to reserve a table at your restaurant, let your Instagram followers know. You can post a link to the table reservation widget in your bio, for example, as Instagram does not allow links in posts.
Instagram story ideas for restaurants
Instagram stories have slowly, but surely gained popularity. Now, a lot of people are scrolling through them, some even more than they would scroll through their content. What this means to you is that you need to have a presence in the stories as well. Here's how!
Include customers in your Instagram Stories
Restaurants share Instagram stories featuring customers. The customers always look excited and happy. These photos are some of the best and most authentic Instagram restaurant reviews you can get. Plus, they will make other people want to visit your establishment so they can have fun too!
Start by inviting your customers to follow you on Instagram and tag them in your photos. Also, be sure to add some restaurant Instagram hashtags. There's nothing that says "friends and family" more than that.
You shouldn't just use Instagram stories to showcase customers. You can also use them to encourage customer engagement by asking them to vote on things like their favorite dish in your restaurant or what they would like to see you add to your menu. With this way, you not only get engagement, but also direct feedback that you can use to see what dishes work and perfect your menu.
Offer a promotion that redirects customers to your page
Instagram pages that don't have more than 10,000 followers can't use the "Swipe up" feature that sends visitors to a desired destination. To still be able to advertise discounts and promotions on stories and give users something to click on, we have a tip for you: use the mention feature.
This is how we did it:
First, we created a beautiful image featuring our Instagram restaurant promotion and an arrow pointing to a still unoccupied space in the photo. You can create one yourself in Canva using the Instagram stories template and choosing from a library of elements. It's really easy!
Then we uploaded the image to our stories and added a mention of our page so that the arrow points to it.
We made it as visible and clickable as possible and posted the story giving users a chance to click on it to be redirected to our page where they can see the "Order Online" link.
Add the order sticker to your stories
Recently, Instagram released an order sticker that restaurants can use in their stories to redirect customers to their website, where they can place an order. Customers who see them can also share the story on their Instagram profile to spread the word.
To add the sticker, choose a representative photo and go to the top right corner of the screen where you can find all the stickers while editing an Instagram story. The sticker titled "Order" should be there.
Instagram promotion ideas for restaurants
Organize Instagram giveaways and contests for restaurants
This activity is especially profitable during major holidays or to announce a special event. You can run a contest or an exclusive giveaway on Instagram to get more traffic and followers to your page.
For example, as Christmas approaches, hold a drawing to win a generous gift card that can be used in your restaurant in December. To participate, people must follow your page.
Celebrating the Super Bowl? Hold a contest where people have to tag your restaurant in an Instagram post in which they share their favorite thing about the Super Bowl, using the hashtag #[restaurant name]superbowl. The user who gets the most likes on their post wins all-you-can-eat chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday.
Partnership with influencers
Restaurant influencer marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business on social media. While influencers can be found on any platform, Instagram is the place to be when it comes to food influencers. They can promote your food and expose it to their audience. To find influencers in your area, you can use Socialbaker's influencer finder.
Alternative to Instagram's action button
Selling food on Instagram can be difficult if you aren't listed on a food ordering portal like Uber Eats or GrubHub. However, if you want customers to be able to access your online ordering page directly from Instagram, there is a workaround for the Instagram action button, and that is to promote a post with a button linking back to your website.
Advertise restaurant promotions
Even if you can't promote all your items, you can still highlight your promotions on your profile and invite people to order from your website.
What is the best time to post on Instagram for restaurants?
It's not hard to guess: the best time to post on Instagram as a restaurant is when people are hungry. At 9 a.m., between noon and 1 p.m., and at 8 p.m., people are probably looking at photos on their phones trying to decide what to eat.
C’est l’occasion d’attirer les clients avec un repas à l’aspect délicieux qu’ils peuvent commander à la maison ou au bureau, ou de les inviter à s’arrêter pour le goûter.
Vous pouvez faire partie de ces restaurants qui utilisent les médias sociaux avec succès si vous mettez en œuvre ces idées de marketing Instagram de restaurant dans votre stratégie de médias sociaux. Elles vous aideront certainement pour construire une présence sociale fabuleuse, alors faites-en l’essai dès que possible.
If you are interested in marketing strategies for your business, do not hesitate to send us your needs via email: [email protected]. In the meantime, don't forget to get our 100% free video training "The Key Recipe" to develop your restaurant in 6 steps.