Did you know that social media is the second most popular way that consumers find restaurants?
That's why restaurants need a comprehensive social media marketing strategy that includes Instagram marketing.
If you're posting high-quality photos, publishing consistently and interacting with followers, you're already on the right track, but you shouldn't stop there! It's time to give your strategy a boost.
I talked to our hospitality marketing strategists, and they gave me a few unexpected tips to take your Instagram marketing strategy to the next level.
Why should restaurants have an Instagram marketing strategy?
- Instagram is the 2nd most popular social network, with 700 million users
- Engagement with brands is 10 times higher on Instagram than Facebook
- Your customers can serve as social media influencers
Ready to supercharge your strategy? Read on to learn our Instagram marketing tips!
Instagram Marketing Tips for Your Restaurant
Andrea Sanchez, a digital marketing strategist in our hospitality pod, tells her restaurant clients to use Instagram Stories and relevant hashtags to maximize their Instagram reach. Here are Andrea's six tips:
- Try Instagram Stories! Consumers love feeling like an insider. Giving them a peek behind the scenes can keep them up-to-date about what’s going on at your restaurant.
- Don’t neglect relevant hashtags. Posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6 percent more engagement.
- Take part in national food holidays, and use relevant trending hashtags, like #nationaldonutday, #pancakeday, etc.
- Use local hashtags, too! For instance, in Columbus, we have #eat614 and #cbuseats, which restaurants and diners use to give their Instagram posts more exposure.
- Retargeting ads on Instagram are a must for restaurants. Use enticing photos of menu items to retarget consumers who have visited your website, and they’ll remember your business the next time they’re hungry.
- Post at the right time. Some of the best times to post on Instagram are before meals, when consumers are hungry and searching online for a business.
Read more about this in Andrea's previous post, Digital Marketing Tips for Restaurants.
Our next tip comes from Todd Ufferman, our hospitality pod's team manager. Todd tells his clients to interact with Instagram users who have tagged their photos with your restaurant's location. Here are Todd's Instagram tips for your restaurant:
One tip that I share with my clients is to search out and engage other Instagram users. Use Instagram to search for photos that are tagged to your location.
You can then interact with those users by following them, liking their photo, reposting the photo, or commenting with a compliment on the photo. This will help build your fan base on Instagram and engage customers.
There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of photos on Instagram tagged with your restaurant’s location. If you don’t interact with any of the photos, you’re missing out on an opportunity to interact (and build relationships) with happy customers.
I also talked to our Digital Content Manager, Megan Hudson, who had a couple more unexpected tips for your restaurant’s Instagram strategy.
- Put a strategy behind your interactions with followers. Since you probably don't have time to interact with every follower's post about your restaurant, be sure to interact with the individuals who have the bigger following. This will ensure that your business gets in front of the most Instagrammers possible even if you can't reply to everyone.
- Don’t underestimate the power of influencer marketing. Send your city’s influencers promotions to get them to come into your restaurant. You’ll trade a free meal for a huge boost in visibility. Bonus: influencers know what they’re doing when it comes to taking killer food pics, so not only will you reach more people, but your food will look great too!
- Instagram is a part of any good social media marketing strategy
- Use Instagram Stories
- Add relevant local and trending hashtags
- Try retargeting ads
- Post right before meals, when people are likely to be hungry
- Interact with customers who have tagged your business in their photos—especially if they have lots of followers
- Find local influencers and offer promotions to get them to your restaurant – you know they’ll share a photo of their meal with followers, giving you more exposure