Utilising Instagram To Promote Your Business
WITH NINE MILLION ACTIVE AUSTRALIAN USERS daily, each uploading on average around 2 or 3 photos/videos a week, Instagram provides a free and effective way to showcase not only your menu but also your establishment’s décor, furnishings and happy, satisfied customers. In fact, it’s your customers who will generate much of the content, via their own photography.
So how can you use Instagram to its maximum potential as a foodservice marketing tool? Here are some useful guidelines to get you started:
1. CREATE AN INSTAGRAM BUSINESS ACCOUNT AND PROFILE
This is an important starting point as not only will your Instagram account provide an online home where your customers can interact with your business, it will also give you access to Instagram’s analytic insights which will allow you to track your online content and its reach.
2. UPLOAD YOUR ORIGINAL CONTENT AS A STARTING POINT
Having created your account, get the ball rolling by uploading photos of your most attractive menu items, from entrees and mains to desserts. But don’t stop there — also upload photos which showcase the décor and ambience. You can even include photos of the kitchen and back of house staff hard at work preparing the food. And of course photos showing customers having fun and enjoying their meals are a great idea.
3. SHARE YOUR CONTENT ACROSS OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA AND YOUR WEBSITE
Create some suitable hashtags with which to identify your content — such as your business name and that of your most popular menu items. These will make it easier for potential customers to find your content online. And rather than confining your photos to Instagram, share them across other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or even Linked In. Sharing content with these platforms with hashtag links helps capture the attention of consumers who may not regularly use Instagram but are active on other social media. Instagram’s embed feature allows you to also add photos and video content from your Instagram account to your own website.
4. ENCOURAGE CUSTOMER INTERACTIVITY
You want to encourage customers to upload photos of their positive experiences at your restaurant, café, pub or pizzeria and there are many ways of doing this. For example, you can offer incentives such as discounts or free meals for the best photo tagged with your business, or even create a competition themed around unusual or funny photos. Publicise these on other social media via hashtags and on your own website or online order platform.
5. UTILISE INSTAGRAM STORIES AND INSTAGRAM LIVE
These two relatively new Instagram features are both ideal for promoting up to the minute content to engage potential customers. Instagram Stories enables you to post photos or videos which will stay up for a 24 hour period. The ability to add links, cross-tag to other social media content and include location data makes this particularly suitable for promoting ‘one night only’ specials, menu offers, events and more. Instagram Live lets you stream video content in real time and interact with your audience as they watch — a great way to build an authentic relationship with your customer base.