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Is Instagram STILL the BEST social media platform to market your cafe or restaurant?


Instagram has been a popular platform for businesses, especially in the food and hospitality industry, to market their products and services. As the platform has grown and evolved over the last decade, it has gone hand in hand and has been one of the main workhorses in the hospitality marketing arsenal. With over 1 billion active users, it is a great platform to reach out to potential customers and showcase your offerings.

But with the ever-evolving social media landscape, one may wonder whether Instagram is still the right platform to market your cafe or restaurant. In this blog, we'll delve into the pros and cons of using Instagram for your food business and help you decide whether it is still the right platform to use for you.

So let's start with the Pros:

Visual Appeal: Instagram is a visual platform and its users love scrolling through beautiful images of food, drinks and restaurants. For cafes and restaurants, this is a great opportunity to showcase their menu items, decor, ambience, and more. This can help create a strong brand image and attract potential customers to your business.

  1. Instagram now is just more than a still platform for stunning visuals. More than just a glossy snowboard of images , Instagram is now a video contender with Stories and Reels able to showcase so much more now. Behind the scenes, interaction with food and drink and ability to capture the essence and vibe of a venue.

  2. Reach: With over 1 billion active users, Instagram provides a large audience to reach out to. This can help businesses to increase their visibility, attract new customers, and retain their existing ones.

  3. Engagement: Instagram has a high level of engagement compared to other social media platforms. With features such as hashtags, Instagram Stories, and IGTV, businesses can easily connect with their target audience and encourage them to engage with their posts.

Now the Cons:

Algorithm Changes: Instagram is constantly changing its algorithms, which can impact the reach and visibility of your posts. This can make it challenging for businesses to reach their target audience but in the hands of the right social media marketers and a good paid ad strategy, cafes and restaurants can actually still reach a remarkable amount of potential customers. Professional social media marketers can stay in front of the changes to the algorithm and work out strategies to utilise them to their advantage rather than be hindered by them

  1. Competition: The food and hospitality industry is one of the most competitive industries on Instagram, with many businesses vying for attention from the same target audience. This can make it challenging for businesses to stand out and be seen by their target audience. That being said those hospitality businesses that don't have a social media marketing strategy are way behind their competitors that do! The right social media marketers will know how to take your food and drink offerings and showcase them in the best light for customers!

  2. Time and Resources: Managing an Instagram account for a business can be time-consuming and require significant resources, including hiring a professional photographer, graphic designer, and social media manager. This can be a significant investment and there are much more cost-effective ways such as outsourcing to a hospitality marketing specialist to market your cafe or restaurant that deliver everything that is needed for a fee that is a fraction of the cost of each of the professional services needed.

So what about the other social media choices for hospitality owners?

In recent times Facebook and Instagram have had rising competition with other social media choices. There are other popular social media platforms choices such as TikTok, We Chat and Little Red Book that are rising in popularity and are also alternative choices. So how do they compare with Instagram at the moment as tools for hospitality marketing? Tiktok in particular for Australia has been ever-increasing in popularity over the last 2 years with it’s addictive video format but it is more a tool that suits entertainment, humour and personality rather than just food and drink. That being said it has been used very effectively by cafe and restaurant owners who are happy to get in front of the camera, entertain and build up a great audience and attention. This takes a ton of time, constant posting of quality content and an owner willing to get in front of the camera. As a general tool though of posting food and drink content, its video rival Instagram Reels and Instagram stories are more suited. Also rather than spending all the time building up two different platforms, if you are time-poor, it’s easier to amalgamate all your content on the one main platform which covers, stills and videos.

Also, Facebook and Instagram advertising right now is the longest-running and most sophisticated of the platforms with its advertising and its paid strategy is still one of the best ways to get eyeballs on your audience. Working an effective ad strategy through ads manager is not easy for a novice but it’s well worth learning or leaving it to an expert to use this highly effective tool.

The other platforms like TikTok and Little Red Book also have advertising options but compared to Facebook and Instagram advertising, less pinpoint with targeting and are not as effective at this stage for reaching potential food customers.

In conclusion, Instagram is still the king when it comes to marketing your cafe, restaurant, bar or eatery on Social media. Whether it be through organic content marketing or through paid ad strategy. The best way is to have a good strategy for both.

By all means, if you have the time and resources, the other platforms are also great social media tools for marketing but just make sure you have the main one covered first!

If you have a visually appealing product, the right strategy and the resources to manage an Instagram account, it’s definitely the best platform to market your cafe or restaurant currently!

Here CPM we have used Facebook and Instagram as essential and necessary tools over the last decade to successfully build many great hospitality businesses and put them on the map! We have used these platforms combined with several other online strategies to effectively build up a loyal following and brand for many of Sydney's best food names.

If you want to learn more then click below!

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