Did you know that 24% of people report checking a restaurant’s Instagram before deciding to eat there? If an interested customer checks Instagram for your restaurant, would they find you? And if so, what would they see? While 24% might not be the majority, it’s a lot of customers to miss out on by not having or tending to your Instagram account.
And if you’ve noticed many of your patrons snapping a picture of their food before eating, that’s another sure sign you need to be promoting your restaurant on Instagram. In a recent poll, 69% of participants admitted to photographing their food before eating. If your customers are posting about your food online, the best way to get in on that word of mouth is to be on the ‘gram.
Once you get going, running your Instagram account becomes pretty easy. But if you’re new to Instagram and feeling a little nervous, here are a few tips on how to get started.
Decide what to post
The first challenge of Instagram is figuring out what to post. Creating a content calendar helps (more on that in a minute), but let’s first talk about the basics. People want to see pictures of your (mouthwatering) food, your (fun and inviting) restaurant interior, your (friendly) staff and your (I-can’t-believe-I-missed-that) events. Note the descriptors here. A picture of a sloppily plated burger and soggy fries isn’t going to bring anyone in. But while you don’t have to hire a professional photographer, you do need to put in a little effort.
Create a content calendar
When it comes to posting, consistency is key, so create a cadence people can count on. Nothing gets an unfollow faster than posting five photos in a day, followed by radio silence for two weeks, and then 13 photos on another day. To make posting easier, take an hour or two a month to create a content calendar. Decide what you want to post and when, and maybe even write out all of your posts on your phone, so all you have to do is copy and paste when it’s time to post. Plus, by putting thought into your content in advance, you can be more conscious of variety and keeping things interesting.
Lean on food and drink holidays
Creating a content calendar helps you stay on top of food and drink holidays, which make for great content. For instance, did you know that December 20 is National Sangria Day? Or that January 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day? Use sites like National Today to browse for ideas.
Create a restaurant hashtag
You may be tired of hearing the term “hashtag,” but hashtags are an invaluable tool for increasing your reach on Instagram. A hashtag for your venue encourages engagement and helps you track what people are saying about your venue online. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but many studies suggest 11 is the perfect amount. Use a combination of branded and nonbranded, short and long hashtags. But no need to overthink it, just consider what people might be searching for to find your post. For instance, when Mia’s Pizzeria posts a slice of ‘za, some appropriate hashtags would be #pizza, #MiasPizzeria, #MiasPizza, #brickovenpizza.
Don’t forget to interact and respond
Remember that at the end of the day, social media should be social. When someone tags you in a post, sends you a direct message or comments on your post, be sure to respond. It will make your customers feel appreciated and rewarded for interacting with your brand.
Looking for more tips? Reach out to the experts at Accel by leaving a comment below!