More than ever before Instagram users are driving home the point that a picture is worth a thousand words. In a world where everybody seems to be a foodie, the link between food and social media is pretty much obvious with millions of users posting pictures of food and dining experiences of every kind. What is sometimes perhaps not so obvious that this represents an extremely viable form of advertising for your restaurant, and that too for free!
Nowhere, is this more prevalent than Instagram that has in excess of 400 million users uploading over 58 million photos daily. When you set up an Instagram account for your restaurant not only do you get a very good platform for sharing great photos of the food but also an interactive space for engaging with your customers both before and after they have experienced your offerings. The best part of the deal is that it doesn’t cost you a penny. Some tips to maximizing the number of eyeballs:
Make Your Business Searchable
The first thing you should ensure is to make your Instagram account name easily recognizable. You should include in your profile keywords that are relevant to your business as this will increase your search visibility.
To ensure that searchers are able to find you, you should tag your posts with relevant hashtags; do make sure that the hashtags include the name of your restaurant and the name of the dish or drink. Staying consistent in the use is the name of the game. Also make sure that you keep your photo captions in Instagram less than 140 characters as otherwise if anyone shares your images on Twitter, it will get truncated.
Integrate Your Instagram Account with Other Social Media Accounts
To ensure that you get the maximum exposure you should integrate your Instagram account with all the accounts you have on social media. This benefits you as even if someone is not a follower of your Instagram account they would still be able to follow you on Twitter or Facebook.
Sharing all the photos on all your social media platforms helps you get more eyeballs and get Instagram followers. The new embed feature of Instagram makes it far easier to add visual matter to your restaurant’s own website or blog. You need not be conversant with HTML codes; all you need to do is to simply copy the Instagram photo code and paste it appropriately to include it easily in your website or blog.
Printing the addresses of your social media accounts on the restaurant’s menu card is definitely a good idea as this enables patrons to easily tag you when they are posting on food. You can as easily communicate with passersby if you display your social media accounts on signage outside your restaurant. You however need to be careful about how you publicize your social media presence as while this is perfect for the younger crowd of casual food joints, it might not be quite appropriate for fine dining outlets with an older customer base.
Interact, Engage and Reward Customers
The way you can really maximize the impact of your social media presence is by interacting with customers rather than leaving them to their own devices to publicize your restaurant. Creating fill-in-the-blank posts is among the easiest way of enticing customers to engage with you. For example, “The best #restaurantname cold soup is _____” could get you feedback that could help you tailor your menu offerings.
Do not hesitate to request customer opinions on the new introductions in your menu. This process can be designed around simple contests like photo challenges that encourage customers to post and share photos with the addition of your restaurant’s hashtag. The possibilities are endless, and you can almost forever keep on inventing contests that will ensure that the name of your restaurant reverberates. Make sure though you remember to reward customers for their efforts; after all they are publicizing your restaurant to countless potential customers for free.
Author bio: Sam Tyson is reputed social media marketing consultant. He has also authored a series of articles on how to get Instagram followers for various retail businesses.