A picture is worth a 1,000 words, right? At least that's the main theory behind the wildly popular social media platform, Instagram. With over 800 million active monthly users on the photo sharing app, it's obvious that this business model is working for them. The real challenge though is figuring out how to make it work for you.
These days, posting pictures, sharing stories, and optimizing your Instagram feed, aren't just creative ways to use Instagram, but rather your ticket to a much broader audience than you've ever been able to reach in the past.
With all the options to choose from, you might be having trouble wrapping your head on using the service to drive customers to your restaurant. Unfortunately there isn't a miracle formula to follow that will help. What there is though, is a number of proven marketing approaches that will not only help keep the posts flowing, but also increase engagement on your social media pages.
In this article we discuss 15 creative Instagram post ideas to help take your Instagram game to the next level.
1. Experiment with videos
We all know a picture speaks a thousand words, that must mean a video speaks millions. Break away from tradition and post interesting videos to your Instagram page instead of the conventional photos. Sometimes a video does a much better job than a picture ever could.
Does your restaurant serve a delicious dessert that is prepared table-side? Great, take a video of the process. You are more likely to get engagement with a video than with a picture.
2. Partner with other brands
Try to partner up with a brand that your restaurant shares a common market with. This is a simple method to expand your social media outreach to followers you previously didn't have. Pick a brand that resonates with your restaurant's image or your fans will have trouble relating to the posts.
3. Competitions using hashtags
People love having the chance to win free stuff. Running Instagram competitions using hashtags is a great way to not only get your name out there but to also increase engagement from your followers.
Come up with a custom hashtag for the competition and ask that your followers post pictures using that hashtag. With the right promotion and execution, you’ll have a decent number of your followers posting using your hashtag and increase the likelihood users will visit your page to learn more about your restaurant.
4. High quality images
If you are posting low quality photos on your restaurant Instagram page, it is time to start rethinking your strategy. Social media is all about posting the highest quality photos to pique your follower’s interest.
If you are looking to improve your photos you can invest in a better camera, invite social media influencers, or even hire a freelance photographer to help out.
5. Instagram Story Polls
Instagram recently rolled out a new feature for stories allowing you to add polls to your posts. People love to feel involved, and adding polls asking about their favorite cuisine or preferences is a great way to achieve this.
When a vote is cast it shows live results, giving the user an idea of what other people think.
6. Show your staff love
Whether it be posting a picture of your employee of the month, or a coworker’s birthday celebration, your followers love to have a reason to be happy for your brand. It shows your followers that there are real, like-minded people behind the social media account, and makes you a more approachable brand.
7. Let your followers know where they can make reservations
Does your restaurant accept online reservations? Let your followers know. Posting a reminder every couple of weeks is a great way to keep your follower's in the loop. When the time comes for them to pay your restaurant a visit, they won't need to figure out the best way to book a table.
This is especially important when you have a booking widget link in your restaurant's Instagram bio. Meaning that your followers, when interested, can instantly book a table at your restaurant in seconds directly from Instagram.
8. Influencer content
The quickest way to get word out to the public about your restaurant is by inviting influencers. Social media influencers, often including bloggers, are people who have garnered thousands and thousands of online followers. One picture or tweet across their social media accounts can result in hundreds of people wanting to visit.
By inviting a large number of local influencers, you are helping thousands of unaware online users discover your restaurant.
9. Behind the scenes
Social media for your restaurant is about personality. Your followers and potential customers want to see that there is more to your restaurant than just the food. Posting behind the scenes shots from your restaurant on social media is a direct way to add a human element to your page that is otherwise lacking among the myriad of food photos.
10. Instagram Giveaways
Instead of running a hashtag competition, or any competition for that matter, try running a simple giveaway. The rules should be straightforward enough to get as many followers as possible to participate.
An idea is to ask your followers to tag their friends in the comments and make sure both of them are following your restaurant page. This gives your social media profile a larger audience while also increasing your followers.
11. Take your food outside the restaurant
Even though you are representing a restaurant, your followers still want to see how you can incorporate yourself into their daily lives. Post pictures of your food outside the restaurant.
If one of your most popular dishes is spaghetti, take it out to the park and set up a picnic scene to show that your food is also great for take-out. There is no way for your followers to know what you offer if you don't show them.
12. Incorporate animals
The internet is in love with animals. No questions asked. Even if you don’t have animals at the restaurant, posting pictures of pets with your food is a great way to give your business some much loved personality.
It will definitely help attract a younger audience to your restaurant that will appreciate your authenticity.
13. Current Events
Instead of trying to read your followers minds, post about what you’re sure they are already thinking about. Posting pics related to current events is usually better received because the topic is already on everyone’s mind.
This includes posting about holidays, conventions, popular shows and movies, and even social media holidays such as National Taco Day.
14. Repost pictures
If you find yourself struggling to churn out enough content to update your profile regularly, you can easily tap into user generated content. Thanks to the Instagram hype, your guests will probably spend the first 20 minutes of their meal taking pictures.
Use this to your advantage by reposting their content. This will not only build a better relationship with your followers, but also keep your page fresh and up to date.
15. Funny Content
As a restaurant operator, you might think that your content has to be entirely food related, but that is not the case. Good social media is about entertaining your users. By occasionally posting a funny picture or video, your followers are more likely to engage.