Why Instagram Matters for the Restaurant Industry

Natalie Andrews  •   February 22, 2018

Instagram for the Restaurant Industry

If you ask the average Instagram user who they follow, they’ll probably mention their friends and family, a couple of public figures, and a handful of local restaurants, bars, breweries and coffee shops. While many people think of Yelp as the best platform for drawing locals to a business, Instagram has given Yelp a run for its money, particularly in the food and beverage industry. Unlike Yelp, Instagram enables restaurants to retain brand awareness even when users are not actively looking for recommendations. Read on to discover how and why to use Instagram to promote your business to local restaurant-goers and trendsetters, all while staying within your budget.

Why Instagram is Different

Instagram has been revolutionary for even the smallest hole-in-the-wall joint. The main reason for this is that it’s easy to take a quick pic with a smartphone and upload and post it in a snap. And what’s even better for business owners is that Instagram is one of the few social platforms where a monthly budget isn’t always necessary. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, which both require payment for page promotion if you want to target nearby users, Instagram can be used to catch the attention of local foodies on your own. If you invest in high-quality photos and use Instagram strategically, you’ll have local food bloggers and Instagram users promoting your business for you!

So how do you get foot traffic to your restaurant through Instagram? That may be difficult to answer since brand retention is not easily measurable. But it is attainable. Take a look below at our tips for using Instagram to take your business to the next level.

Execute the Perfect Shot

Lighting. Is. Everything. If you’re struggling to generate attention with your Instagram profile, dark pictures may be the main problem. Bright, high-quality photos generate 24% more likes than unfiltered images with low brightness. Not a techie? Even the most basic smartphone has simple brightness and contrast photo editing features that can help you address the darkness issue if you have one. Try increasing the brightness and slightly adjusting the contrast to make your dishes stand out in photos. For more advanced options, increase the clarity and saturation filters slightly to enhance your pictures. Don’t rely too heavily on pre-set filters, as you want the food or beverage to be the main focus!

Get Your Instagram Profile Noticed by Locals

Every restaurant wants to be a local favorite, and Instagram can help you get there if you do it right. Posting only high-quality photos is a good start, but if you’re not posting consistently, or if you disregard the rules of hashtags and tagging, you’re still missing a huge opportunity to capture a local following. If you want to strengthen your restaurant’s Instagram presence, take a look at these best practices for getting your profile noticed by locals:

  • Connect Your Profile to Your Facebook Business Page: This will allow you to include your business’s phone number, email, and street address directly on your Instagram profile.
  • Avoid Using Text in Your Photos: Photos overlaid with text deter users from engaging with your content.
  • Keep Your Captions Short and to the Point: The posts that work best are the ones where the photo does the talking.
  • Tag Foodies and Local Food Blogs: They might share your photo with their followers, giving you a free shoutout.
  • Use Hashtags: Now that Instagram allows users to follow hashtags, you can use up to 30 hashtags to make your restaurant easy to find.
  • Post Consistently: Posting at least three times a week helps keep your profile relevant. But remember that posting too often may discourage users from engaging. Find the sweet spot for your business and stick with it.
  • Add Your Business’s Neighborhood as the Location: Although it’s good practice to add your business’s location to your posts, you should also consider adding your neighborhood location. Locals love accessibility. If you’re close, they’ll want to check out what you have to offer.
  • Enlist Professional Help: You can read up on all the Instagram tips and tricks you want, but the truth is, gaining momentum on Instagram also takes time. If you’re short on time, hire a professional photographer to take your photos or a digital marketing company to keep your profile consistent. That way, you can focus on the work you do best.

Contact Reader Digital Agency today!

At Reader Digital, we’ve spent decades helping local businesses get noticed, and we can help you, too. Whether you need photos, social media account management, website content, or any of our other stellar digital marketing services, we’re here to help you take your business to the next level. Give us a call at 619-483-4600 and let’s get started today.