If you’re reading this blog, you’re sharp enough to know that in the restaurant business, it’s important to be on social media. You probably even know that the top social media platforms are Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter. But with Instagram being the newest of those four platforms, it can be difficult to build up a considerable following – especially if you don’t have a strategy or the time to keep up with how quickly things change. No need to worry though, we’re sharing four solid ways to build up your following from zero to Instagram hero!
Post High-Quality, Eye-Catching Content
Instagram is extremely photo-centric. You want to create and publish content that is eye-catching and makes users stop, pause and double-tap when they’re scrolling on their phones. This tip seems basic, but there are over 700 million active monthly users on Instagram, so it’s your job to create content that stands out from all the other foodie content. Check out these 29 hacks of established Instagram users from Huffpost for more inspiration on what to post to attract more followers.
Update Your Instagram Story Regularly
Instagram Stories received some controversy when it rolled out, but it’s here to stay – and that’s great news for your restaurant. Even if your followers don’t see the content you’re posting, they are at least somewhat more likely to see your business pop up in their Stories, which keeps your business top of mind. You can utilize Instagram stories to post your specials, share Boomerangs of cocktails being made or feature your customers’ photos and tag them in your story. You can even create a poll on your story for your customers to answer. Happy Hour at 5:30, YES or NO? Yes, obviously! If you’re unfamiliar with this feature, check out IG’s Blog on Instagram Stories.
Posting to your Instagram story and engaging with users who tag your business in their stories is the perfect way to reach out to your customers in a relatable way AND gain new followers in the process.
Engage With Users Through Hashtags
Hashtags are a central part of the formula of how to gain followers and visibility on Instagram. We recommend creating a branded hashtag for your restaurant like #BennysChicago or #VenturosSF, so people can easily search photos and tag pictures they take in your restaurant.
A branded hashtag is a good start, but with so many active users on the platform, it’s important to go above and beyond to engage with foodie and community hashtags from your restaurant’s profile as well. Luckily for us, interacting with hashtags just got way easier with Instagram’s new hashtags following feature. Save the relevant hashtags to your business profile and interact with them on a regular basis to help build up a loyal following to your page.
Connecting With Other Users
Whether your restaurant is established on Instagram or not, your location is still accessible for guests to check-in and posts pictures of their visits.
When your restaurant is active on Instagram, you can engage with your guests who are posting photos at your restaurant. When you drop a line as simple as “Thanks for stopping by!” or use their handle to feature a photo on your page, it puts your restaurant top of mind and gives the customer that jolt of excitement for being featured. Trust me, it works every time!
Similar to this, it’s important to be active on big brand or influencer profiles by commenting a few friendly words on their posts. By doing this, your profile is visible to their followers as well, which will, in turn, lead to some new fans on your page. Take the time, drop a line and watch your community and follower count grow.
These are just a few ways to gain followers on Instagram that will certainly ramp up those numbers. It’s important to stay hungry for inspiration by studying Instagram profiles that are hugely successful in similar industries. Check out trendy profiles to spark your inspiration, but remember to keep your page unique to your own voice and character. People value genuineness and are more likely to follow your account when they see authenticity. There are tons of foodie accounts to pull #inspo from, but don’t lose sight of what’s already great about your restaurant’s mission, ambiance, etc. The ultimate goal is to showcase your uniqueness and build a great community – the rest is the cherry on top!
Now that you have a few tips to strategize and grow your following, how will you create an Instagram account that will stand out?
Did you know?
We've been managing social media accounts for restaurants since 2012. For almost a decade, we've partnered with restauranteurs who are serious about using social media to generate business. Whether you're a good fit for our service or not, let's schedule a call and we'll give you free personalized advice on how to improve your social media presence. Either way, you'll walk away from the call more confident about your ability to promote yourself online - completely for free.