A restaurant business is probably the most successful on Instagram due to the trend of people sharing their food pictures on Instagram. If we look way back to when Instagram just launched, people always shared the best moments of their life documented in photos, and it even became a trend to post a picture of your meal at a restaurant before you even tried it. What could make it easier for restaurants to engage with their potential customers or to stay connected with them after their visit? It is hard to persuade a customer to share their credentials along with an email with a business, but Instagram made it possible for business to directly find their clients and customers after an interaction. So what strategies can restaurants adapt to become successful on Instagram and grow their followers base faster than competitors? We are sharing 3 smart strategies which have proven to be successful for big brands and could be easily be implemented by any restaurant who is present on Instagram. If you are still in doubt that Instagram is an effective channel which can help attract, retain and encourage your customers to return, just take a look at our “Case Studies”.
1. Like, comment, follow and repost – Be Active
Apart from running a stunning Instagram account with photos of food from your restaurant menu by looking at which anyone will want to try your tasty dishes, your restaurant needs to be active by engaging with your audience who has already tried your meals. Geolocation and hashtags with your brand name will help you find most of the pictures which were made by visitors of your restaurant, so make sure you like or comment on them. Most of the marketers call this strategy mass liking or mass commenting, which will attract an average of about 15% of people to follow your business back. So, for example, by commenting and liking 1000 pictures of your restaurant visitors, you will gain 150 followers completely for FREE. Make sure your comments are not plain “Thanks”. Make them lengthy and show your customers how genuinely thankful you are. Another great way to interact with your audience is to repost customer photos, and you will be amazed, but some food bloggers will capture your food with their iPhones much better than professional photographers. What is also important is that by reposting pictures you show the food in its “real” state and not in its specially prepared state for a photoshoot. Also, such reposts are up to date with what you actually serve (restaurants can’t afford to professionally photograph their food every week). Repost is like a BIG thank you on Instagram which is actively used by all big brands, not only in the restaurant industry.
Followers love unprofessional photos even more because this means that any customer can be featured on your restaurants Instagram account, which turns them into Brand Advocates. Also, by encouraging your visitors to tag your page or use a special hashtag you will receive an endless content for your page completely free of charge!
2. “Behind the Scenes”
By posting only pictures of what your restaurant serves, you are limiting your prospects and in marketing world this form of sharing is considered to be ineffective. You have to remember that some of your followers might be frequent visitors of your place, and they have seen your food million times, so make sure you share something unique which will show your business in a good light. “Behind the Scenes” stories are very effective and help your customer find out more about the history of your company, how hard your chefs are working in order to produce such #Yummy food etc. Here is a great example of this strategy in use by a SIBU restaurant in Batley:
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This strategy makes your business more transparent, brings it closer to your followers and it could be said that by trusting your customer and open your “behind the scenes” curtain, customers will pay you back with their loyalty and trust!
3. Post just before lunch or dinner time
It may sound very simple, but your photos will usually get the most likes and comments when people are actually hungry. This is a fact which was proven by several researches, showing that posts at 10 AM will catch attention of office workers just before lunch hours and 5 PM to get attention from the dinner crowd. To determine the exact optimal times for your audience, use Instagram Insight feature which will show at what time most of your followers are active on Instagram. Instagram Insight hourly overviews of activity look like this:
In addition to hourly analytics, it is very important to make promotions on the most active days which usually land on Wednesday or Thursday, but for some restaurants which are based in shopping centre it would be Saturday or Sunday. If you work with videos, make sure that you don’t post them during school/work hours as people tend not to watch them especially if the video is with sound which makes it awkward to view in the office or at university, for example.
Overall, all smart Instagram strategies for restaurants are developed by analysing the behaviour of your target audience and staying up to date with all Instagram updates. For example, some restaurants started to accept reservations via Direct Messages, or they actively make Instagram Stories during peak hours to drag even more attention.