Restaurant Marketing Ideas: Get Visual With Instagram

April 9, 2013 - 5 minutes read

A picture really is worth a thousand words when it comes to restaurant marketing. Instagram is a mobile app that was launched in 2010 and has since gone viral throughout the world. It’s a fast and fun way to share pictures of your food and events with the aid of beautiful filters. If you’re a restaurant owner, you’re probably at least a little familiar with this app. The “food porn” obsession is one of the biggest trends on Instagram. Restaurant visitors like to take pictures of their food, add a hashtag (example: #hotdog or #BurgerKing), and upload their picture.

Instagram currently has 100 million monthly active users and has approximately 40 million photos uploaded per day. Needless to say, it’s a great place for your restaurant to be in the digital world. Here’s our top reasons why your restaurant marketing strategy should include Instagram:

An opportunity to showcase your food.  

Show the world what your chefs can do. Instagram provides a channel for your customers and other users to see your delicious food before they even visit your restaurant. While you may already be posting these photos on Facebook and Twitter, there’s no such thing as too much exposure for your restaurant.

Quick, easy and free.

Not only is Instagram easy and fun, it’s also free marketing for your restaurant. It won’t take too much time away from your daily tasks either – which is important in the fast-paces restaurant world. You can snap a photo on your phone or tablet and instantly upload it – no need to event sit down at a computer.

Kill six birds with one stone.

When uploading a picture on Instagram, there is an option to post the photo and caption on Facebook and Twitter. It also has an option to upload it to Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare. This is another convenient way to quickly market your restaurant on all channels.

Instagram doesn’t have exclusively focus on pictures either. It can provide a great way to engage with your customers, attract attention to your restaurant and bring more customers in. When someone comments on your photo, respond back and ask open ended questions when possible. Engage with them like you would a friend and make them feel involved in your restaurant. If you have time, go to their page and engage with them on there too. Others will see your interactions and this will bring attention to your restaurant.

A few quick tips:

Utilize hashtags.

When a word is accompanied by a hashtag, it becomes a topic. If I took a picture of a hamburger and hashtagged it (#hamburger), my photo could come up in searches for people looking for pictures of hamburgers. Things to hashtag: your restaurant name, city, and the item in your photo.

Consider hosting a contest.

Everyone loves a little competition – especially when they can win something from their favorite restaurant. By hosting an Instagram contest, you can engage with your customers in a unique way. One idea is to have your customers take a picture of their favorite meal in your restaurant and use a particular hashtag like – #eateria . Judges can search that hashtag to pick out a winner.

Don’t just use Instagram for pictures of food.

You can also use it as a way to welcome new staff, advertise events and showcase the inside of your kitchen. By taking pictures of other things, you’re including your customers in your restaurant, not just your food.

Map yourself.

Instagram has a feature called “Photo Maps”. By tagging your photos on a map, anyone looking at your picture can quickly see where your restaurant is located. Having the location of your restaurant with a picture of your delicious steak is gold.

Instagram is just another, great way that your restaurant can create loyalty. By having a following on social networks, you are making your restaurant more than a place to eat – you are creating a community.

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