13 Restaurant Instagram Marketing Strategies 

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Instagram on a laptop and phone

As a restaurant owner, your number one priority will always be attracting new customers, whether through a killer business plan, efficient quick commerce, or some interesting restaurant Instagram marketing strategies. Marketing your business through different means is the right step towards achieving that goal. Having social media accounts is a sure-fire way to make your brand famous as a restaurateur. Social media presence has become essential for almost any business to grow in today’s world. Let’s talk about it.

Why Instagram?

A cost-effective way to market your restaurant through social media is becoming ‘Instafamous.’ Instagram is one of the top social networking platforms. It has more than a billion users, and more than 80% of those users follow businesses and restaurants. Being ‘Instafamous’ ensures an increase in loyal customers as some percentage of your followers will end up trying your restaurant.

Instagram is becoming one of the most valuable ways to market restaurants as more and more consumers decide on new places to eat based on restaurants’ Instagram feeds.

COVID-19 has helped make restaurant Instagram marketing essential for a restaurant’s success. People have been using their phones and logging into their social media accounts more and more ever since the pandemic hit. So it only makes sense for restaurants to target customers where they’ll be sure to find them, i.e., on their social media platforms.

Instagram marketing isn’t a popularity play; people are becoming more and more trusting of what they see on their social media feeds. Diners have been known to visit new restaurants due to the different pictures on their feeds. This means Instagram is a real marketing strategy that will help bring new customers to your restaurant.

As restaurant Instagram marketing becomes famous worldwide, we decided to do the heavy lifting for you and explained 13 Instagram marketing strategies in this article to help elevate your marketing game.

1. Convert customers into followers

Customer riding a cart into a laptop

Make sure your Instagram account is easy to find to make it easy for your customers to find you on the gram. Your Instagram handle should be visible in your restaurant so the dine-in customers can easily follow you. You can have your account name on the menu or your receipts or if you are a cafe that posts its menu on a chalkboard, then make sure your account name is on that board.

You’ll get customers who regularly post on the gram, which will encourage them to get snapping and posting your pictures on their profiles, leading to an increase in your following.

2. Two-way engagement with followers

Speech bubbles on a blackboard
communication bubbles drawn in chalk on the blackboard

A restaurant’s Instagram is not just about increasing its followers but also about creating a sense of community and retaining loyal customers. An excellent way to do this is by rewarding your followers. You should be engaging with them online, replying to their comments, and commenting on their posts in which your restaurant is tagged.

A good way to reward your followers is by starting a contest with categories like the most creative picture, most appetizers ordered, or the most colorful picture. You could reward them with a free meal, coffee, or a discounted meal.

Restaurant owners have come to understand that engaging on Instagram derives more customers and ensures return customers rather than interacting on Facebook or Twitter. Instagram users are generally three times more likely to interact with restaurants than other social media platforms.

So a couple of ways to show love to your customers and improve restaurant Instagram marketing is by

  1. commenting on the photos your restaurant is tagged in.
  2. Create contests for your followers and customers to participate in and reward them in return.
  3. Reshare your customers’ posts from your page.

3. Post Attractive Food Photography

Cooked Salmon

One of the essential strategies for restaurant Instagram marketing is posting attractive food photos. As more than 60% of Instagram users check out food photos before dining at a restaurant, you need to ensure your feed is full of beautiful food photos.

You don’t have to hire a professional photographer or even get an expensive camera to master the art of taking good Insta worthy photos. But you do need to put a little effort into the pictures you do take, even if it’s don’t from your phone’s camera.

Here are a few easy ways to make your food photography attractive and make your followers salivate:

  1. Your food should be the focal point of your pictures; there should be no extra clutter around it, throwing off the beauty of the food itself.
  2. Use beautiful platters to make your food look appetizing.
  3. Use warm lighting instead of bright white lights; lightning can help take your dishes to another level.
  4. Take pictures directly above; flat lay images have become wildly popular and are more visually appealing.

4. Create a themed feed

Curated Instagram Feed

Restaurant Instagram marketing is all about visualization. A well-put cohesive feed can ensure your follow button gets clicked on repeatedly. Inconsistency in your content can make your page look messy and unappealing. A consistency in aesthetics can lead to an overall appealing look.

One important thing to remember is to post with your entire Instagram feed in mind rather than focusing on individual pictures. Random pictures can lead to an aesthetically unappealing page, resulting in a decrease in followers.

For a cohesive feed, you could make sure to have the same dishes for your food or constantly have your walls in the background; whatever you choose, make sure you stick to it for consistency in your color palette.

Of course, sticking to one color palette means you need to plan before posting any content on your wall. Having a cohesive feed requires discipline, reducing the chances of posting whatever you like whenever you like. A good way to do this is by having an Instagram Grid Planner.

A grid planner allows you to plan and schedule your posts, along with helping you create a theme for your Instagram feed.

5. Use Trending Hashtags

hashtag in the sand

One good way to market your restaurant on Instagram is by hashtagging all your Instagram posts. Hashtagging helps get your restaurant in front of more Instagrammers and foodies, potentially bringing in more customers.

You can use food-related hashtags for your posts, such as #foodie or #foodphotography, or #photooftheday. However, an excellent way to bring in potential customers is by doing some research and using hashtags relevant to your area.

A good way to make your posts popular is by using niche hashtags instead of overly popular hashtags to keep your content from getting lost in the sea of pictures posted every day. Also, make sure your hashtags are posted in the comments rather than the caption; this helps keep the spotlight on your pictures.

Your restaurant should also have its dedicated set of hashtags that you can post alongwith your bio. Hashtags helps customers identify you with your phrasing when they take pictures in your restaurant. Having a personal hashtag can help restaurants keep track of user-generated content. Which in itself helps restaurant Instagram marketing.

6. Partner with Industry Influencers

Influencer Marketing

Food photography is one of the most popular industries on Instagram nowadays. Thousands of influencers and bloggers share food pictures, restaurant recommendations, and recipes on the gram. Partnering with such influencers will help boost your brand and reach new potential customers.

By tapping into this source of Instagram marketing, you reach an audience more significant than you ever could on your own. These influencers usually have a considerable number of engaging audiences. If you choose your influencers concerning your restaurant’s location, this strategy can help increase your revenue in weeks.

You just have to be sure of your budget before you collaborate with any influencers and convey your objective to them. Influencers with substantial followers charge by the post, which can become expensive. However, micro-influencers might end up giving you free shoutouts or, in return for a free meal.

7. Create story highlights

King Bach Feed

Feed courtesy: King Bach

Story highlights is another promising strategy for restaurant marketing on Instagram. They are an instant source of getting your audience interested in your restaurant. When someone lands on your page, you want to ensure they instantly fall for your restaurant. Story highlights are like a guidebook for your restaurant. This is amongst the most popular restaurant instagram marketing strategies.

Unlike regular Instagram stories, story highlights save to your Instagram profile for as long as you desire. With these stories, you can keep your followers up to date on any kind of menu changes or anything interesting that the restaurant offers.

It is important to individualize your page. Branded stories are more visually appealing; just think about what you want your followers to know about your restaurant and place that at the top of your profile.

8. Use video and live sessions

person shooting a video

Instagrammers are known to engage more in video content. You don’t need a professional directing your videos to have an engaging audience. Unlike photos that you post on your feed, which have to be preplanned, videos can hit the mark by being spontaneous.

Instagram videos are shared through Stories, Instagram lives, or Reels. In the stories, you can post updates about your menu or any activities you might be planning to hold in the restaurant. With Instagram Live, you can interact with your audience feature your chef, your staff, and even the customers.

Live videos can be a good way to raise your followers’ curiosity by giving them behind the scene sneak peeks. Reels are the latest way to share videos on your gram; through these, you can post entertaining videos, for example, behind-the-scene bloopers from your kitchen.

9. Time your posts right

Hourglass

One unique Instagram marketing strategy that most restaurants are unaware of is timing your posts right. Time is a trick that restaurants can use to their advantage to increase popularity and customer flow.

A good trick to posting is doing it around mealtimes. Schedule your posts around breakfast, lunch, and dinner times to increase traffic. Posting around 9 a.m, 1 p.m, or 8 p.m makes it very likely for a person to end up in your restaurant. So all you have to do is make sure a mouthwatering picture goes live around one of these meal times.

10. Promote Direct Ordering

Shopping Directly

With technology on the rise, everything you could want is just a click away in this day and age. People are used to the ease technology has brought in our lives and expect this ease to be translated to food ordering. Sometimes the best restaurant Instagram marketing strategies, are the simplest ones.

An excellent way to market your restaurant on Instagram is by allowing your followers to order from your Insta-page. People following your Instagram page shouldn’t have to go and look for websites. Your page should have a link in your bio that allows people to place an order directly from the platform. This can make ordering hassle-free for your customers and commission-free for the restaurant.

11. Respond to your Instagram messages and comments

responding to Instagram

Customer service is vital in any business. This includes responding to any queries on time and in a helpful manner. Replying to direct messages in your inbox or answering questions in the comments section is a good way to ensure customer loyalty. Your food could be outstanding, and your Instagram might have impressive aesthetics, but if you don’t reply to your followers, then be prepared for a significant drop in your followers and customers.

Customers rely on good customer service and make recommendations on how a specific business or restaurant treats them. So make sure your Instagram inbox and comments section are being checked regularly for queries, and every message or comment is replied to.

12. Advertise as part of your restaurant instagram marketing strategy

Digital Marketing

People no longer look for recommendations in the newspapers or even on TV. Watching live TV is slowly becoming a thing of the past as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus take over the entertainment world.

Live TV is no longer a good or economical way to get discovered. Instagram itself has an ad feature that can help detect the majority of your target audience. It identifies a person’s interest by accessing their activity on Instagram and generates ads on feeds of people who are more likely to be interested in your restaurant. These paid ads are easily affordable and won’t make a dent in your bank account.

13. Bring in the human element

An old hand and young hand touching fingertips

To make your Instagram page more inviting, you can start featuring your employees. At different intervals, you can bring in a new employee to introduce. Become inventive with your staff and hold employee competitions that you can feature in your stories and highlights.

Wholesome ideas like these make your followers feel more connected to your employees and your restaurant. Showing them that you value your staff helps build loyalty in your customers.

Conclusion

Marketing is all about boosting your brand’s visibility, and Instagram marketing is a way to make your restaurant famous at little or no cost to you. The Instagram craze has hit every corner of the world, and for most millennials and every generation after that, Instagram has become the leading social media platform.

As a restaurant, if you join in on this Insta-frenzy, you can make yourself accessible to your target customers. The above-mentioned Instagram Restaurant Marketing strategies are a great way to delve into the marketing world of Instagram and bring in loyal customers to your restaurant.

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