Restaurant Instagram Marketing: Creating a Strategy for Your Restaurant (2022)

In a social media-heavy world, the visual appeal of a restaurant has become more important than ever. Instagram is now reshaping the way diners consume their food, and in return restaurants have changed to accommodate the need for “Instagrammable” experiences. Creating an Instagram marketing strategy for your restaurant is just a part of getting your business up and running.

Table of Contents

  • The Preparation Phase
  • Social Media Management
  • Analyze Performance
  • Wrap up: What people want to see when they follow a restaurant
  • Restaurant Instagram Marketing: Creating a Strategy for Your Restaurant (1)

    Instagram is influencing menu offerings, restaurant design, and marketing strategies. Manhattan restaurant Black Tap, for example, rose to viral fame online for their colorful milkshakes. Now, the restaurant has lines extending around the block with patrons waiting to taste—and take photos of—their food. That, combined with their strong online presence has contributed greatly to their success. “With social media, we're able to reach people around the globe—it's so important. It's also important that what you put on social media is the same product you get [in person]. I think we've done a good job with that,” says Black Tap owner Barish in an article on CNN.

    Restaurant Instagram Marketing: Creating a Strategy for Your Restaurant (2)

    No wonder Instagram has the impact it does. With more than 1 billion monthly active users and 80% of all accounts following a business profile, Instagram offers restaurants increased reach and engagement, with the potential for increased foot traffic.

    Translating Instagram followers and likes to actual visits to your restaurant isn’t as simple as posting multiple food photos and hoping they’ll stick, though. Everything needs to be done with the purpose of getting customers to want to try your food, otherwise all you’ll get are fluff metrics. That’s where a well-rounded Instagram strategy comes in. There are three main steps to creating a winning restaurant Instagram marketing strategy.

    The Preparation Phase

    There are essential preparatory steps to accomplish before starting regular content creation for your Instagram account. These help you define the goals you want to achieve for benchmarking success, assist with SEO discoverability, and establish the overall visual and copywriting guidelines to follow.

    Recommended Reading: Trends On Instagram For Food Bloggers

    (Video) 4 Quick Restaurant Instagram Tactics To Get MORE Customers | Restaurant Marketing 2022

    1) Set Goals and Benchmarks

    Set SMART goals that will guide your activities: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Be clear about your strategy’s purpose to eliminate time wasted on unnecessary activities and identify a time frame for you to achieve them for motivation and benchmarking. Are you more interested in growing your follower base, or do likes and comments matter more? An example of a SMART goal is “Increase Engagement Rate from 1% to 2% within three months.” Do industry research to see how other restaurants perform on Instagram to set your initial benchmarks—the average Engagement Rate for Food & Beverage businesses is 4.13%.

    2) Optimize Your Instagram Profile

    You want your Instagram profile to be discoverable even outside the main app, and tie into your other marketing initiatives. Plus, you want your restaurant’s brand to be closely associated with the account. That’s why optimizing your profile for SEO is essential, and core to this is crafting a good bio. Here’s what to do:

    • When choosing an Instagram username, use your restaurant’s name or a close variation of it as your account name
    • Write your full brand name for your display name
    • Link your official website in the space provided
    • If your Instagram account is connected to a Facebook page, apply your business category to your profile (Food & Beverage Company)
    • Write out your 150-character bio using keywords you want associated with your brand
    Restaurant Instagram Marketing: Creating a Strategy for Your Restaurant (3)

    3) Establish Aesthetic and Tone

    Reinforcing your restaurant’s image and creating a visually-appealing Instagram feed go hand in hand. Look at your visual branding and identify which elements you want to bring to your social media profile. Downloading a simple photo filter app like Instasize simplifies photo editing—just add filters from the same set to each post that fits the look you want.

    The bulk of your efforts on Instagram will be concentrated into social media management for your restaurant. This includes content planning, content creation (taking photos, editing them, uploading them, writing captions), daily monitoring, and the application of other strategies that can assist in getting more eyes onto your account.

    1) Set Your Schedule

    As a restaurateur, you want to post photos right when prospective customers are thinking about food—so aim to schedule all content in time slots surrounding mealtimes. According to data from Hootsuite, top Instagram accounts in the Food and Beverage industry have the most success when posting right on the dot for lunchtime at 12:00 noon. On average, Fridays are the most engaging day of the week as people are winding down from the work week, but scheduling posts to go out on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday also give restaurants good returns.

    2) Create a Content Calendar

    Scheduling your Instagram posts in advance improves time management, especially for a busy restaurant marketer who needs to be on top of taking photos, writing out captions, and figuring out future strategies. Some types of content are also better recorded live (such as Instagram stories), so organizing posts in advance gives you more time to create. Make a calendar that contains the day, date, time of posting, the image you want to upload, and a pre-made caption so you can schedule it all in one go. Remember to mark holidays and seasonal changes so you can post timely greetings and promos!

    3) Decide What to Post

    Food photos are a no-brainer when it comes to promoting a restaurant, but the most powerful images you can share can come from your customers. Testimonials work. User-generated content is as good as online reviews, and it’s easy to source and share. According to a report by TripAdvisor, 94% of US respondents say online reviews influence their dining decisions, and 60% take food photos into consideration when deciding where to eat.

    (Video) 6 Essential Restaurant Marketing Instagram Designs You MUST Make

    Restaurant Instagram Marketing: Creating a Strategy for Your Restaurant (4)

    Tip: Create a branded hashtag and encourage customers to use it by displaying it somewhere on your menu. This makes it easy to track user-generated content you can repost.

    One of the biggest rules of social media is that communication needs to be two-way. It can be tempting to disregard comments on your posts, but simply liking and responding to comments reflects the customer service your patrons can receive when they expect to dine in. If users perceive good treatment online, they’ll already have a good impression of your brand once they walk in.

    Tip: Never delete negative comments. Speak with them, apologize, and offer to address their concerns swiftly.

    Want to get more eyes on your dishes? Instagram has advertising options integrated with Facebook which allows you to place ads on either the feed, Instagram Stories, or the Explore page. Getting views organically can be difficult with algorithm changes, so investing some of your marketing budget into Instagram ads can give your profile the slight boost it needs.

    Restaurant Instagram Marketing: Creating a Strategy for Your Restaurant (5)

    Analyze Performance

    Last but not the least, peeking into Instagram Insights gives you the tools you need to accurately conclude whether your social media strategies have been effective in improving your restaurant’s marketing. Create regular analysis reports (weekly or monthly) to identify which content you should share more of, what to stop, and whether it might be time to try something new.

    The most important metrics you should be measuring are:

    • Interactions – The total number of likes, comments, and clicks each photo receives.
    • Reach – The number of unique individuals that see your content. This is a good indication of how wide your potential audience is.
    • Impressions – The number of views your profile or photo gets. This counts repeat visits, so if this number is high in relation to your reach, that means you have repeat visitors that keep coming back to check on your photos.
    • Engagement Rate – This is a measure of the proportion of who sees your content and engages with it. Lower engagement rates usually mean that while many people may view your posts, not many are interested in engaging with them—aim to get this as high as possible.

    Recommended Reading: 7 Creative Digital Marketing Ideas for Restaurants

    (Video) How to market your restaurant on Instagram

    Wrap up: What people want to see when they follow a restaurant

    Managing the social media accounts of any hospitality business can seem time-consuming, but with proper planning and strategic execution, you can make a big impact through Instagram (and you may also find that you have more time to dedicate to social media management if you use other tools, like restaurant scheduling software, that help you step away from day-to-day task management).

    It’s ultimately rewarding to see how something as simple as a collection of photos online can translate into foot traffic for your restaurant. There are many success stories out there of restaurants becoming infamous once they get their big break on Instagram—and yours can be one of them.

    7shifts is the all-in-one labor platform built for restaurants to simplify employee scheduling and labor management. Easily manage your teams’ schedules, timesheets, communication, tasks, tips and more– all in one place with 7shifts.

    (Video) How To Market Your Restaurant on Social Media | Food Business/Restaurant Marketing Strategies

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    Denise Langenegger

    (Video) Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Strategies That WORK | Start A Restaurant Food Business

    Denise Langenegger works at Instasize, a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile.

    FAQs

    How do you target restaurant owners on Instagram? ›

    Here are a few tips to optimize your posts to target small business owners:
    1. Treat the hashtags as keywords. Use secondary keywords as captions for your posts.
    2. While selecting keywords, think from your target audience's perspective. Use hashtags that they are more likely to use. This gives your posts better visibility.
    Mar 5, 2021

    Why restaurants should use Instagram? ›

    IG is the best platform for restaurants because it is visual. People are more inclined to scroll through pictures than articles, menus, and words. People don't want to see just a thing – they want to see the thing in use.

    What is a marketing strategy example? ›

    Its strategy is to stimulate interest in specific products or brands without directly promoting any brand. It also increases brand awareness and provides valuable information to customers. Example: A dog shampoo company writes a regular blog offering customers dog grooming tips. Related: What Is Content Marketing?

    How often should a restaurant post on Instagram? ›

    Post often.

    The more you post, the more likely people are to see your content, and therefore, your restaurant. As a rule of thumb, I aim for one post a day. You can always post more or less often than that, but avoid posting photos too close together (space out photos by at least 4 hours).

    How do restaurants create content? ›

    10 social media content ideas for your restaurant
    1. Tell the story of your restaurant. ...
    2. Give a behind-the-scenes look at your restaurant. ...
    3. Highlight the people on your team. ...
    4. Bring attention to your vendors. ...
    5. Interact with your followers with questions. ...
    6. Respond to online comments. ...
    7. Take advantage of user-generated content.
    Aug 2, 2021

    How do you sell food on Instagram? ›

    How to use Instagram to sell your food in 2020
    1. Let's start with an amuse-bouche: talk to your followers. ...
    2. Moving on to a glass of the house red: use your hashtags wisely. ...
    3. For a starter, we have: maintain good photo quality. ...
    4. The main course: work to get accounts with a large following like food bloggers involved.

    How do you reach out to customers on Instagram? ›

    How do I get real followers on Instagram in 2020?
    1. Fill out your Instagram bio.
    2. Find your audience through hashtags.
    3. Connect with potential customers.
    4. Post relevant and engaging content.
    5. Publish consistently.
    6. Start a conversation with your followers.
    7. Use Instagram Live.
    Nov 5, 2020

    How do you make a successful Instagram ad? ›

    8 Tips for Creating High-Performing Instagram Ads
    1. Use motion.
    2. Optimize your video intro.
    3. Start with your current branding and audience.
    4. Create a carousel that starts with a CTA.
    5. Focus on quality in every step of video ad creation.
    6. Try lookalike audience targeting.
    7. Partner with a micro-influencer in your industry.
    Feb 19, 2021

    Why do restaurants need to do social media marketing? ›

    One of the most important reasons a restaurant should have social media accounts is communicating with customers. Social media allows you to keep in touch and build a personal connection with your customers.

    Why do restaurants use social media marketing? ›

    Social media makes your restaurant more visible – brand awareness through social media increases the likelihood that someone will walk into your bar because they have already heard about the place. Your social media presence provides insight into customer's experiences and identifies areas of improvement.

    What are the 4 main marketing strategies? ›

    4 Types Of Marketing Plans And Strategies
    • Market Penetration Strategy.
    • Market Development Strategy.
    • Product Development Strategy.
    • Diversification Strategy.
    May 6, 2020

    What are 3 common marketing strategies? ›

    There are three ways to compete--product, service, and price. That's it!
    ...
    Let's explore how they work.
    • Product strategy. This lever is about what is being delivered to the marketplace and consumed by the customer. ...
    • Service strategy. ...
    • Pricing strategy.
    Mar 16, 2015

    What are the 7 marketing strategies? ›

    The 7 Ps of Marketing

    These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. As products, markets, customers and needs change rapidly, you must continually revisit these seven Ps to make sure you're on track and achieving the maximum results possible for you in today's marketplace.

    How do restaurants do digital marketing? ›

    You can run contests and campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, such as tagging of pictures, or a check-in campaign. This will make your restaurant visible to the friends of your customers a huge proportion of which will be your target audience, thus getting you in touch with your potential customers.

    How do restaurants generate leads? ›

    How to Generate Leads for Your Restaurant
    1. #1) Collect contact information through your point-of-sale system. ...
    2. #2) Create a customer loyalty program. ...
    3. #3) Drive in-store customers to participate in contests. ...
    4. #4) Trade free WiFi for contact information. ...
    5. #5) Offer a coupon when customers land on your website.
    Feb 6, 2020

    What is the target market for a restaurant? ›

    The target customer of your restaurant is a specific segment of the larger dining market. Target markets are determined by a combined analysis of: Demographics: segments of the population as divided by shared characteristics, including age, sex, income, education, religion, race, and geographical location.

    What should be your social media marketing strategy? ›

    • What is social media marketing? ...
    • Set goals that make sense for your business. ...
    • Take time to research your target audience. ...
    • Establish your most important metrics and KPIs. ...
    • Create (and curate) engaging social content. ...
    • Make your social presence as timely as possible. ...
    • Assess what's working, what isn't and how to keep improving.
    Oct 7, 2021

    How do restaurants get viral? ›

    6 Best Instagram Marketing Tips for Restaurants
    1. Master The Art of Food Photography.
    2. Create Buzz By Partnering With Food Influencers.
    3. Crowdsource Content for Your Restaurant's Instagram Feed.
    4. Use All The Features on Instagram to Maximise Your Reach.
    5. Ace your bio.
    6. Take Advantage of Instagram Reels.

    Is posting everyday on Instagram good? ›

    It's generally recommended to post at least once per day, and no more than 3 times per day, on Instagram.

    What is the best time to post on Instagram? ›

    Best Times to Post on Instagram
    • Best times to post on Instagram: Mondays at 11 a.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
    • Best days to post on Instagram: Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
    • Worst days to post on Instagram: Sundays.
    Apr 13, 2022

    How can I promote my business on Instagram for free? ›

    11 Best Ways to Promote Your Instagram (for Free)
    1. Create Useful Posts. ...
    2. Engage through Stories Stickers. ...
    3. Create Save-able Content for Your Feed. ...
    4. Use Hashtags. ...
    5. Use Instagram Stories. ...
    6. Use IGTV. ...
    7. Go Live on Instagram Live. ...
    8. Engage with Instagram Influencers.
    May 29, 2022

    How do you sell food on Instagram? ›

    How to use Instagram to sell your food in 2020
    1. Let's start with an amuse-bouche: talk to your followers. ...
    2. Moving on to a glass of the house red: use your hashtags wisely. ...
    3. For a starter, we have: maintain good photo quality. ...
    4. The main course: work to get accounts with a large following like food bloggers involved.

    How do you display food on Instagram? ›

    Here are a few simple tips that will immediately improve your Instagram food photos.
    1. Focus on the Food. nytcooking. ...
    2. Compose the Photo. melinahammer. ...
    3. Fill the Frame. Instagram. ...
    4. Shoot in Natural Light. nytcooking. ...
    5. Use Your Friends' Phones, Too. ...
    6. Try a Different Angle. ...
    7. Don't Be Afraid to Move the Plate Around. ...
    8. Shoot With a Camera.
    Oct 18, 2016

    How do I get customers for my food business? ›

    Useful Tips To Attract More Customers To Your Restaurant
    1. Promote Yourself on Social Media.
    2. Offer Free WiFi.
    3. Provide Live Music.
    4. Use Email Marketing.
    5. Sign up With Online Ordering and Food Delivery Apps.
    6. Give Away Gift Cards.
    7. Use Social Media Influencers.

    Are you allowed to sell food on Instagram? ›

    Instagram states that you can sell using their app, so long as you meet the following requirements: Comply with their policies. Represent your business and your domain. Be located in a supported market.

    Do you need a license to sell on Instagram? ›

    No. You don't need a business license to sell on Instagram, but according to Instagram's Commerce Eligibility Requirements you should: Follow Instagram's policies. Represent your business and domain.

    What is a marketing strategy example? ›

    Its strategy is to stimulate interest in specific products or brands without directly promoting any brand. It also increases brand awareness and provides valuable information to customers. Example: A dog shampoo company writes a regular blog offering customers dog grooming tips. Related: What Is Content Marketing?

    What should be your social media marketing strategy? ›

    • What is social media marketing? ...
    • Set goals that make sense for your business. ...
    • Take time to research your target audience. ...
    • Establish your most important metrics and KPIs. ...
    • Create (and curate) engaging social content. ...
    • Make your social presence as timely as possible. ...
    • Assess what's working, what isn't and how to keep improving.
    Oct 7, 2021

    How do restaurants do digital marketing? ›

    You can run contests and campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, such as tagging of pictures, or a check-in campaign. This will make your restaurant visible to the friends of your customers a huge proportion of which will be your target audience, thus getting you in touch with your potential customers.

    How do you stage Photos for food? ›

    How To Stage Food For Photography: Tips & Tricks
    1. Plan and prep. When you're working with food, it's so important that it looks as fresh and tasty as possible. ...
    2. Tell a story. ...
    3. Style carefully. ...
    4. Let the food speak for itself. ...
    5. Use natural daylight. ...
    6. Play with composition and angles. ...
    7. Learn about scale, focus and white balance.

    How do people take professional food photos on Instagram? ›

    22 Professional Food Photography Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Shot
    1. Take Multiple Shots During Shoots. ...
    2. Use iPhone Settings Correctly. ...
    3. Use Camera Settings Correctly. ...
    4. Pick the Right Angle. ...
    5. Master Tripod Settings. ...
    6. Create a Food Story. ...
    7. Consider Lighting for Food Photography. ...
    8. Use Shadow Areas Correctly.
    Aug 3, 2021

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