Instagram might not be as valuable as Twitter in the eyes of some businesses. But, in the case of restaurants, there’s little better than a platform that uses imagery and has a large character allowance for captions. Instagram is such a platform, and your restaurant can use it in 2017 to create a truly effective marketing campaign.
However, things are always progressing in social media and you have to stay fairly fluid in order to get the most out of your campaigns. With this in mind, here are a few tips for exploiting the latest trends in Instagram to create a marketing plan that dazzles.
7 Tips for a Successful Instagram Marketing Campaign
1. Consistency in Content Creation
One of the goals of your Instagram campaign should be the establishment of a recognisable theme across your account. You want your followers to log on and be able to spot one of your posts before they even see that it was posted by your restaurant.
In order to achieve this, you need to decide on the type of content you want to create. You need to be able to create this content consistently, and keep it at a high standard, so think carefully about the type of content you want to represent your restaurant.
It is common in this industry to post product content. This is essentially images of your meals. You could do this by taking the pictures yourself (or with the help of a professional photographer), or you could decide to aim your campaign at user-generated content.
With the latter, you simply need to give your customers an incentive to photograph their food and post it to Instagram, either tagging your restaurant or using a hashtag you have created for the campaign.
It is a good idea to do a little of both. By posting professionally captured images, you show off your meals in the best possible light. However, these images can seem distant. Conversely, while customer-taken images might lack that professional edge, they show the public how your food is enjoyed by their peers – an opinion which carries a lot of weight in marketing.
But, while showing images of your food is an obvious way to go when it comes to your Instagram account, you might prefer to show how your food fits into people’s lifestyles.
If you run a coffee shop, for example, you could feature commuters whose days have been made better with a coffee and a sticky bun. Or, if you cater to the health-conscious, you could feature active people out in nature or at the gym.
Whichever you choose, in order to be able to market your restaurant on Social Media effectively be sure to create a clear message with your content.
2. Publish Professional-Grade Images
As mentioned in the previous point, professionally-taken images tend to be more eye-catching and give your Instagram account a more authentic feel. However, you might not have the budget, or the desire, to have a professional photographer dedicated to the creation of your Instagram posts.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go this far. Modern smartphones are growing ever-better in terms of their features. Now you can take beautifully exposed, focussed, stabilised images without having to splash out on photographers or equipment.
That being said, the photos you take on your smartphone are not always Instagram-ready. It is a good idea to do some editing before posting in order to give your photos a more professional feel.
Snapseed is a great resource for this. This app allows you to edit your photos before filtering them on Instagram. And, with a great filter itself, you might not even want to use Instagram’s filters when you post your images.
3. Use Multiple Image Posts
One of Instagram’s new features is multiple image posts. Like the name suggests, this feature lets you publish multiple images as one post, which displays as a carousel.
This is a fantastic feature for restaurants – especially ones which choose to display product-centred content on their accounts. This is down to the fact that a carousel is the perfect opportunity to display multiple-course meals, or ranges of desserts, starters, cocktails, etc.
4. Take Advantage of Instagram Story Ads and Live Videos
Story Ads is another new feature on Instagram that plays perfectly into the hands of restaurants. This feature allows brands to create full-screen adverts to be incorporated into Instagram Stories.
Airbnb ran a recent story ad which saw their ad recall stats experience a double-digit point increase. Restaurants can capitalise on this by creating ads featuring the meal creation process or the fantastic atmospheres they create.
Live videos are also great for this purpose. They can be used to introduce your customers to a completely new side of your restaurant with behind-the-scenes clips as well as be used to draw attention to exciting launches and competitions. Here are 3 ways restaurants can use live Instagram video, which explains this in more detail.
5. Use Hashtags, But Don’t Neglect Great Captions
Yes, Instagram is about engagement, but don’t forget that you want to do everything within your power to create engagement. By pushing a post out accompanied only by hashtags, you miss the chance to spark a conversation with your followers.
And, with Instagram now ordering its posts according to the level of interest it thinks audiences will show, you have to use every opportunity to get your post seen.
Here are some good tips for writing a great caption which you might find helpful.
6. Actively Drive Sales through Instagram
Speaking of captions, you can use them to actively increase sales through your account. Many brands have started to see social media as a means to increase brand awareness, and that’s it. However, it is possible to use it to directly increase sales through the copy in your captions.
You can use this area to insert links to food delivery services or, if you offer the service, your website’s delivery page. Instagram-dedicated app have2have.it is also very helpful in this regard as it lets customers place orders without leaving Instagram.
And, importantly, be interesting. Create captions that will prompt users to comment on your posts. This engagement is highly important when it comes to increasing your restaurant’s digital reach.
7. Post Regularly, or at Least Consistently
If you are battling to post daily, don’t let your restaurant become inconsistent with its Instagram posts. For example, if you are only able to create enough content for a dozen posts, don’t push these out daily over the first half of the month and leave the rest of the month blank. Space them out so you are posting consistently over the whole period. On that note, it also helps to have some drafts in hand for a rainy day.
Instagram Is Your Restaurant’s Best Friend
Instagram is an excellent tool for inspiring trust in your restaurant’s food through its visual representation. But, it goes much further than that.
By taking advantage of some of the newer features of this social platform, you can create an Instagram strategy that will actively increase your sales and boost your ROI. Or, even better, you could hire a dedicated restaurant marketing service like Digital Restaurant to take the reins and exploit Instagram’s potential to the maximum degree.
Most importantly, you need to stay on the crest of 2017’s trends in order to keep your restaurant ahead of the curve and in the public eye.