CAFE & RESTAURANT MARKETING: How to use Instagram Effectively to Market your Café or Restaurant

Instagram is arguably the most valuable platform you can utilise to market your café or restaurant. With a daily active user base of over 500 million, you’d be mad to overlook the social image sharing platform when marketing your café or restaurant!

The visual platform, Instagram, goes hand in hand with food and it has single-handedly changed the way people choose their next meal.

As explained in our last blog post, Instagram is now the primary way that the millennial generation chooses where to eat. If you don’t have a highly enticing and visual Instagram page it’s quite likely you have lost quite a few millennials as customers.

However, as the hospitality industry is highly competitive, your content has got to rise above the rest if you want your social media marketing strategy to equate to real customers in your venue.

Simply posting with no clear idea of what you want to achieve or how the page will look is a waste of time. Café and restaurant owners have to stay up to date with the latest tips and tricks to leverage their brand online. Below are some of the tips that hospitality social media marketers use on Instagram to successfully market their clients cafes and restaurants.

  1. Photos that jump off the plate! They say a picture speaks a thousand words and this couldn’t be more true for hospitality businesses. This is first and foremost. Great quality content is a must. Organising a photoshoot for your café or restaurant in conjunction with food styling will give your offering a professional and enticing look. Having visually attractive photos and ones that have the customers salivating is vital. It allows your venue to be shown in its best light and will appeal to potential customers.  

  2. Recency and Frequency: Daily posting is essential. You have to remind your customers that you are there. Your followers want to see regular and engaging content from you if you want to remain on their radar. With Instagram growing and the number of images also growing online you need to post at least once a day to have a chance to be seen. It’s when several images have been seen that potential customers start to want to check you out and start talking with their friends about visiting.

  3. Timing: When you post is also important. Looking at your insights to see when your users are active will allow you to determine the best time to post. By selecting a window of time where a high percentage are online, your post is more likely to be seen.

  4. Follower Engagement: Asking your followers questions about what they would like to see in your feed and menu items that they favour will help you to determine exactly what your target market wants. By engaging in two-way communication with your audiences and listening to them, they will feel valued and connected with you. Engaging with food fans is also an effective way to win customers as they are likely to be interested in your content and offering.

  5. Appropriate Hashtags: Hashtags allow your posts to be seen by the wider community and by potential followers. By using hashtags that resonate with your target audience, they will be able to easily find messages from you. Hospitality and food-related hashtags are obviously the most important for cafés and restaurants.

  6. Instagram Ads: This is a great way to appear in feeds of potential followers. Organic reach on Instagram is especially hard to achieve nowadays therefore paid advertising can reach and entice customers.

  7. Quality Content: The content that you post should reflect your business offering, and what sets you apart from your competitors. Recent studies have found that a high percentage of Instagram users make dining choices based on Instagram posts, which reinforces the importance of having high-quality content. If your content looks dull and unappealing, potential customers are unlikely to be attracted to your venue. Sharing your most enticing dishes, as well as specials, upcoming events and pictures of your interior are important but you have to ensure they look great.

  8. Videos: As both Instagram and Facebook are heading over to video-based formats It is essential to have a mix of both photo and video content to keep your feed interesting. Videos are a great way to engage your customers, with recent studies finding that “the average engagements for video posts have increased by 53%, showing that engagement growth for video is outpacing photos” (Boland, 2017). Videos can communicate a lot more about your café or restaurant than a single photo can. Have a few mixed in with your still feed as well as posting to Instagram stories on a regular basis.

  9. Influencers: Using influencers to market your venue is a powerful way to boost your page’s popularity. Influencers have a large fan base and great engagement, therefore are key to the success of your social media marketing strategy. Deemed the new celebrity endorsement, influencers have a huge effect on your brand. The new research “shows that 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement” (Weinswig, 2016). Influencer marketing builds brand credibility, therefore, connecting with them and gaining their endorsement is vital to success. Having the right mix of food and lifestyle influencers visit your café or restaurant is important as each has a different type of audience. You can also handpick the niche of the blogger that would suit your business. The importance of food bloggers has risen hand in hand with the prominence of Instagram.

With these key points in mind, it’s time to put a considered Instagram marketing strategy into place. Social media marketing for restaurants and cafés has been revolutionised with the rise of Instagram and will continue to evolve.

Hopefully, you find these tips useful when preparing your own social media content and marketing strategy. If you want to discuss these points or want to consider a specialist hospitality marketer to review your own marketing, please feel free to contact CPM Online Marketing owner and founder, Claire McPherson at info@cpmonlinemarketing.com

Sources:

  1. Boland, G. (June 26, 2017) Instagram video vs. photo: 7 surprising statistics on strategy, [blog post] Retrieved from: https://www.newswhip.com/2017/06/photo-vs-video-on-instagram/

  2. Weinswig, D. (October 5, 2016) Influencers are the New Brands, [blog post] Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahweinswig/2016/10/05/influencers-are-the-new-brands/#6ddba2927919