Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Instagram or IG is undoubtedly one of the social networking sites that has gained so much popularity worldwide.
It is a free app that is perfect for restaurants since it is a visual platform. It has around 1 billion active users around the world.
However, there are some challenges when it comes to using Instagram for restaurants:
It takes time to create content - it's a content monster! It seems like there's never enough content. Every day, you need to produce new things to post since they get buried in the feed.
The organic reach continues to go down down down - it's killing organic reach. Like Facebook, it's turning into a "pay to play" platform.
Developing a strategy that works - it's a challenge generating an effective strategy that works. As the platforms shift, our approach needs to change as well.
To combat those issues, I have 10 practical tips on Instagram that you can implement and make some dough for your restaurant:
1. Batch content creation
Batching is my middle name. I love to batch everything. When you do the laundry, you're not going to wash one sock or shirt at a time. You're going to do a load of laundry.
The same thing is when you are creating content. You shouldn't be taking one photo and share it. Instead, schedule your calendar, dedicate at least two hours to have your kitchen (when you're not very busy) make a bunch of the foods that are on your menu. Have your people hold the dishes and take photos.
Be creative. Take a photo of one dish from different angles or locations.
For example, bread sticks, I have 10 different pictures of bread sticks saved on our Google Drive folder. I have this what I call a copy bank, photo bank, and video bank that we made batching content creation.
2. Use a scheduling software
Use software to make things easier for you. There are a lot of platforms or online sites you can use.
For example, Buffer, a scheduling social media platform. I think it's free up to 30 posts or if not it's 10 dollars a month. And I'm telling you, that amount is all worth it to have the freedom.
Spend one hour or two to schedule out your whole social media content, whether it's Facebook or Instagram, including your stories. I use Later.com to schedule our social media posts for 10 dollars monthly. So I do the work once, and it is done.
3. Use editing software to make your images stand out
There are numerous free editing software on the internet. Create beautiful photos by adding colorful text, images, or animated letters. I use Canva, a free online graphic design tool that uses a drag-and-drop format.
I also use Adobe Spark. It is a free online and mobile app where you can easily design dazzling social media graphics, short videos, and web pages.
4. Engage with those that engage with your page
If you want more people to see your posts and engage with you, you need to start interacting with people.
For example, you have 3 people who liked a photo you recently posted. Click on those people's names, go to their pages and like a few of their pages, comment a "thank you" note under one of their posts. You can also send them a DM ( Direct Message).
By doing these things, you can build individual relationships. Once this becomes a habit, and you do this every day, those people can easily your posts, and they are more likely to engage with you.
5. Engage with those that use the # (hashtag) of your town
This will make you gain a follower, and hopefully, they come and check your restaurant out.
The reason why people use hashtags is that they want to be seen, so give them what they want. And hopefully, you'll also get what you need.
6. Send a DM (Direct Message) to connect with people
When you search for folks who are using the hashtag of your city or town, go in, and you can see the top 6 or 9 posts. These are the posts that are mostly followed, have the most likes or comments.
Send these people a DM and say, for instance, "Hey, my name is Hengam from Mattenga's Pizzeria. We're giving out a free 10" Specialty Pizza. Just follow us and send us your email so we can send you your gift certificate."
Ask that person to share the experience on social media who may have hundreds or thousands of followers. It doesn't matter to me, I need customers. We need thousands of customers to our restaurant.
With the DM system, you can connect to people on a one-on-one basis.
Welcome bloggers and influencers to your restaurant. Offer freebies, and you'll be surprised by how people respond. People are delighted, and that is incredibly powerful.
7. Utilize the Instagram Bio to include your information about your restaurant
Use your real estate well. On Instagram, there's what we call Bio. A Bio is a section under your username where you can include information such as a brief self or brand description, contact information, emojis, hashtags, and more.
When somebody sees your post and then goes through your profile, perhaps their first question is, where is this place?
I observed that many restaurants don't put their addresses on their Bio. Make it easy for people to know where your exact location is.
Also, it is necessary to include your phone number or your website.
Another thing you can do to your Bio is to have a specific offer.
You can add, for example, "TEXT THE WORD INSTA to 12345 to receive a free order of bread sticks."
So from IG, you can capture their phone number when they text you, and you can market to them week after week. Send one text message weekly with an offer to keep your customers coming back to your restaurant.
8. Create captions that will compel people to comment - Ask questions!
If you want people to comment on your posts, then ask them a question. This will draw an interaction among the readers of that post.
If you ask questions, people are more likely to comment and provide you with their answers.
Ask questions that they can respond with short answers. This is the same strategy you can implement with your IG stories as well.
9. Always put the name and ingredients of the dish on your caption
You and I see our food every single day. But here's what you're not thinking about...
If somebody maybe comes to check you out on Instagram to view what you serve, they see the pictures of your delicious food with a short description of it in the caption. You failed to add the name of the dish.
If a person goes to your restaurant and tries to order food that he/she saw on IG, he/she won't be able to name it. So always put the name of the dish on your caption.
Also, add the ingredients in the caption. Again, we're making it easy for our customers.
10. Recruit your team to help you do the Instagram task
You shouldn't be doing all of these! Your people are already on social media. Recruit one of them to help you with this.
Cast your vision, set clear written expectations, and assign this task to someone. Set a budget. Maybe pay 25 dollars a week or 50 dollars a month for one staff to post on IG religiously.
Again, utilize your team to do social media postings for you, you don't have to do this.
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