Nowadays, customers don't find out about restaurants by just walking on the streets or by word of mouth.
More and more people are using social media platforms to research the best places to eat - Instagram, Google Maps and Facebook are the go-to platforms for this.
Instagram has been one of the best platforms to start building a marketing strategy after the restaurant website is structured. To get the most from Instagram, restaurants need to set up a business account on the platform. The advantages of switching to a business account are:
- Getting access to Instagram analytics about your followers and posts
- Having the control to promote Instagram posts as ads
- The ability to partner easily with Influencers
- Button tools that allow the consumers to go straight from the restaurant Instagram account to the booking area on the restaurant-specific reservation platform (having some of the most famous ones - OpenTable, TheFork, BookTable, etc.).
After setting up the business account, it is vital to make sure the restaurant brand has a consistent look and feel on Instagram. The photos should have a style that every time a person sees it, they will automatically relate it to the restaurant without looking at the profile name.
Instagram is a photo platform, so the photos must look as best as they possibly can, and a food photographer is the way to do this! Not only will this professional knows how to take mouth-watering photos, they will also understand all the steps to get there, from making a briefing with the marketing team to understand the brand, thought taking the photo and doing the post-production.
Some photographers also do social media management, helping small restaurants that still don't have the structure to have someone in-house to take care of it. These photographers not only do the photography part but also take care of the photo posting process, thinking about style, grid and thoughtful captions.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but if you have this picture and also tell a story on the caption, I can guarantee your engagement will be better. Instead of just posting a photo of a dish with no caption, revealing the history of it will bring way more engagement, and keep them informed about how the establishment is always doing something new and keeping itself fresh. The storytelling on the photo can be about how the chefs prepared the dish, or even telling your followers about a new menu that is coming soon.
Another important tool that also helps to bring engagement using storytelling more informally on Instagram is Instagram Stories, and it has a significant potential to increase the growth of the restaurant brand. The customer that follows the restaurant will be interested to know what's happening at the restaurant. I would say a good rule of thumb is to post an Instagram Story once a day, so the restaurant keeps its customers and followers up to date and engaged with what is new.
Every restaurant is different and has a diverse audience, so my last advice would be to take a closer look at Instagram Analytics and understand your audience. With this data, it's possible to have an idea of which days and hours your following is more active and how many days a week is necessary to post, bringing more engagement to the restaurant. Also, knowing your target audience creates a tangible target to promote posts and reach the right audience.