“Wait! Don’t take a bite yet, I need to Instagram that!”
Many of us have said it, been at a table where “that friend” did it or at least heard/seen it happen at restaurants all over the world.
Hashtags like #food, #foodporn and #InstaFood have over 181 million, 82 million and 52 million photos associated with them respectively. It’s safe to say that “gramming your food” is an activity that’s here to stay. Luckily, it can be an AWESOME trend to capitalize on for your promoting your restaurant and connecting further with your guests.
Here’s a quick list of 14 best practices for using Instagram for your restaurant:
- Go beyond the food! Share photos of dishes, behind the scenes, beverages, the staff, etc. Get creative. We all know there’s more that goes on in a restaurant than just preparing and serving food.
- Go beyond the restaurant! Think of historic chefs related to your cuisine, or historic photos of cities, i.e. Paris if you serve French food. Try to keep content fresh and mixed up so that your account doesn’t get boring but is still an accurate representation of your company.
- Add texture to your photos with beautiful garnishes or kitchen props.
- Don’t forget about video. I.e. behind the scenes preparing a dish, pouring a glass of wine, maybe even a customer raving about their meal.
- Use general best practices when creating posts. I.e. time content is posted, using @ mentions and hashtags when appropriate.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with Instagram apps like Layout and Boomerang to make fun photo collages and videos.
- Come up with a list of hashtags to pull from that are relevant to your restaurant, your cuisine, your neighborhood, etc. There’s a bunch out there, so do some research to see which hashtags actually get traffic.
- Make yourself searchable. Use your exact restaurant name if possible so it’s easy to find you. Again, use hashtags, post photos and tag the physical location.
- Reply to comments/questions on the photos you post.
- “Like” anyone’s post who tags the restaurant or mentions the restaurant. If possible, add a comment.
- Follow back your regulars, comment and like their posts when appropriate.
- Reshare photos customers share of their meals, experience, beverages, whatever. Ask permission first.
- Encourage competition. Run a competitions during a special event and encourage users to take photos and post them with a specific hashtag. Offer the winners a free meal, gift certificate, bottle of wine, etc.
- Comment on photos from vendors, sister restaurants, local watering holes etc. to create a sense of community.
This is a great starting guide for you and your restaurant. Use Instagram for your restaurant as another creative way to expand your reach.
What are some of the best restaurant Instagram photos you’ve seen? Post links in the comments below.