5 Tips to Improve Your Restaurant’s Instagram
When you run a business, learning how to manage its social media is part of targeting a modern audience. Most consumers spend free time online but it’s also taking over the customer-business relationship, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and people adapt to ordering food from an app for their own and others’ safety. Customer relationships largely take place online.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks today, with some of the highest engagement rates for business accounts compared to similar platforms. That’s why your restaurant should be on Instagram if it isn’t already: It’s the perfect place to engage with new customers, especially because you can link them straight to your online ordering landing page. With just a few clicks, someone Googling “burger delivery cheap” can find your website and become your new most loyal guest.
It’s where you connect with regulars who’ve been enjoying your services for a long time or meet new followers looking for somewhere new to spend their Saturday brunch. Just because the pandemic prevents meeting face-to-face doesn’t mean you can’t speak directly to customers online. Fostering these relationships encourages user-generated content, or UGC, which is when they post about your restaurant and essentially freely advertise your brand to their entire friends list.
Use Instagram to promote deals, specials and your business in general to new customers and form deeper connections with old regulars at the same time.
Get the Most Out of Instagram
Social media is only as effective as you make it. Fill your bio with your open hours and a link to your online ordering platform so customers only have to tap a few times to place an order. Optimize your menu for mobile viewing and then let your Instagram bring in new customers for you.
When you’re learning to manage a new social media, finding your footing takes time. eatOS is here to help you understand how to use Instagram right with these five tips.
Keep a Schedule
Post actively and consistently, but don’t flood your followers’ feeds. Set a goal as manageable as once a day, as long as you have the content and ability to post that often. If you rarely have free time to create five elaborate captions then pare your message and frequency to something more manageable. Generating ideas is easier with a social media calendar; invent theme days like Taco Wednesday for a dinner special or Tequila Tuesday to promote happy hour margaritas and get customers in the rhythm of ordering their usual from you the same day each week.
The best times to post are 8AM, 1PM and 9PM. That’s when you’re likely to get the best engagement statistics from your audience. Start there and then make adjustments as needed to fit the particular interests and habits of your specific followers.
Make a plan for how to portray your brand. The aesthetics of your restaurant should fit the tone of your social media. Is it romantic and needs serious or clever captions to match? Are you a family brand who should prioritize photos of laughing kids and cozy parents? Are you a casual hangout spot that posts with Millennial and Gen Z slang? Your brand should have one cohesive personality, vibe, tone and ambience online and in-person that forms one smooth customer experience.
Who posts on your social media pages? Do you leave it to your managers to control what goes on the timeline? Have you hired a specific social media director or taken time to train every employee on what to do?
Consider limiting access to your social pages. The fewer people who run those accounts, the more cohesive your brand will appear from post to post and across platforms. Letting all of your employees have free reign online is also a cybersecurity risk and sensitive information could get leaked. eatOS Point of Sale lets you limit employee permissions easily from the terminal so trained, experienced social media experts can touch your restaurant’s social accounts.
It might be a good idea to hire someone specifically to manage social media, even if they only work part-time and schedule posts out days or weeks in advance. This works for managers who might want to oversee social media use, but marketing doesn’t rely on certain employees’ onsite presence.
Should your business offer free WiFi to customers? Encourage customers to post about their experience with you while they’re still dining in by giving them access to their social media right from their table. User-generated content is free advertising to their entire friends’ lists; reshare their content to your business pages to encourage that kind of creativity and show your appreciation for their patronage.
69% of Millennials take photos of their food before eating it, as do nearly half of diners age 35-49 years old; you can see the benefits of encouraging this behavior, even if you stipulate that guests have to buy something before they get the Wifi password to keep your tables turning.
It’s not just your customers who make business thrive; your staff does too, and one consumer trend that’s taken off is to patronize businesses that treat their employees well. Show off your cooks hard at work creating new specials and your front of house staff in their element to diversify your social media posts and give thanks to the people who make business run smoothly day in and day out. Videotape your head chef making a popular recipe so guests can bring a taste of your restaurant home to their families. Get creative and show off every side of your business to keep your Instagram feed fresh and interesting, feature the superstars whose work brings your productivity to the next level, and make being a communicative, familial team part of your brand.
Now you know how to vitalize your Instagram page to get the most of its capabilities as an online marketing tool. Use social media to pave the way for deeper customer relationships old and new, spread experiential marketing campaigns and generally strengthen the vitality of your brand’s internet presence.
Now it’s time to learn how to take a great photo. It’s simple if you keep these tips in mind:
- Choose dishes that look and taste delicious. You’ll want food that photographs well to encourage guests to try it and lives up to the hype so they’ll come back again.
- Use an attractive background that adds dimension to any photo.
- Experiment with plating. Style dishes differently to make them most appealing.
- Use natural lighting but also utilize your space and indoor aesthetic, particularly so online presence matches in-person ambience.
Your Instagram might be the last push a new customer needs to try your food for the first time, or choose you over your greatest competitor for dinner. It’s important that what you show is what gets to the customer’s door so take high quality photographs that reflect the real experience of your food.
Still, you’re not limited to pictures of your best-selling garlic chicken. Show off behind the scenes footage of your cooks at work or your customers enjoying their personal favorites. When you get creative with your page, you inspire customers to engage and create UGC of their own.
Businesses and consumers are all online. Style your restaurant’s Instagram page to draw new customers to your brand and keep them interested once they’re there. The future of food service starts with a better social media experience.
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