We all know the stereotype about people posting pictures of their food on Instagram. But how do you make sure people are sharing photos of your food? Word of mouth is worth a lot, and you’ll need a plan if you’re going to make people care about your restaurant.
I’m tired of seeing restaurants flounder around on Instagram, so I’m stepping in to tell you how you can succeed on this visual platform. Let’s talk about what you should be doing!
Do Some #Research
Before you even think about posting anything, figure out what hashtags perform well in your industry/area. How do you do it? There are a few different places you can go to research hashtags, but a couple of my team’s favorites are Hashtagify and RiteTag. Use these to see what kinds of hashtags are popular in your industry! If you’re not sure what to look up, try spying on your competitors and seeing what they’re hashtagging.
For local businesses, location-based hashtags are going to be incredibly important. You can only sell to people near you, so make sure they’re seeing your posts! Don’t think just one tag is going to do it, either. You’ll want to include your city (with every possible variation in spelling), your county, and probably any surrounding neighborhoods.
Put Hashtags in the Right Place
Please, for me, stop loading your post with 10,000 hashtags. It’s unreadable. At the same time, don’t post something on Instagram with one hashtag and expect to get any sort of attention. In your post itself, limit yourself to 2-3 hashtags, and if you can, work them naturally into the copy.
So how do you add in all the extra hashtags? Load up 20-25(ish) hashtags that are based on your industry, location, branded hashtags, etc. Post that comment immediately after you’ve posted the photo, and your photo will be listed under those hashtags. This way you’re not assaulting your audience with too many hashtags in the post, but you’re also making sure that people will actually see your photo.
There’s a popular misconception that because people like to focus on themselves on social media, brands can do the same. You can’t.
You need to be liking other people’s posts, commenting, and generally doing anything to get your name out there. This is where location-based hashtags become important. Look up users in your area and talk to them! Engaging with them can get them thinking about your brand, and it’s a great way to get people interested in your restaurant.
When someone comments on your posts, acknowledge them! Like their comment at the very least, and respond with a thoughtful comment if at all possible. A thumbs up does NOT qualify as a thoughtful response!
Highlight the Behind-the-Scenes Moments
You can only post filtered photos of entrees for so long. Don’t be afraid to show your customers a side of the restaurant they don’t normally get to see! Spotlight your employees (with written consent), show how clean your kitchen is, just do something to keep things fresh and show a human side to your restaurant.
No matter how great your food is, I can promise you that there are other places people can go to get their dinner. That personal aspect is what matters on Instagram, and that’s what you need to highlight. Talk about the quality of your food, of course, but don’t forget that you need to be charming and likable or nobody’s going to care about your delicious meals at low, low prices.
The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have a backlog of great pictures that your customers can look through. It can take time to build up a social media presence, so don’t wait around and strategize for too long. Use this advice to skip some of the most common Instagram pitfalls for restaurants, and I know you’ll be fine!
Could you use some more personalized Instagram advice for your restaurant? We’ll discuss it in your free consultation with The Go! Agency!