This June Instagram hit the milestone of 500 million active monthly users with 300 million using the application daily. 80% of users are outside the United States. Instagram is pushing now to the 1 billion active monthly users mark. How long this will take is hard to tell, but it did grow it’s last 100 million users in just 9 months.
What does Instagram mean for Restaurants?
We are seeing an increasing number of Restaurants being very successful with Instagram. Even though it is owned by Facebook, it is still possible to drive significant interaction without running paid ads. How long it stays this way remains to be seen, but for now, Instagram is a powerful medium for reaching new customers.
Instagram is only going to get bigger, and if you aren’t at least experimenting with Instagram, you are ignoring a growing part of your audience, or a new audience who could be the next crop of regular diners.
It is working hard to increase the number of videos that are shared on the platform, which creates an opportunity for anyone with a smart phone to share more video content.
What have successful Restaurants done with Instagram?
Foodcraft Espresso in Erskinville, Sydney has had phenomenal success with their Tella Ball milkshakes. It is a perfect example of great menu engineering creating a product that succeed wither wholly or partially because of it’s appearance on Instagram and Facebook. For restaurants without a signature Instagram ready dish, there is a huge opportunity to experiment on Instagram to find what your customers are looking for. It may be a new menu item, or it could just be a new presentation of an existing dish.
Tips for creating a successful Restaurant Instagram program
As with any social media platform, the trick is to maximise the return from the time that is spent on it. Our tips are based on Restaurants who have been using Instagram very successfully to not only build large Instagram followings, but also to be able to drive customers, revenue and most importantly profit.
- Create innovative content. Most modern phones can take great pictures, so there is little excuse to not take a photo of a great dish as it sits on the pass. Great lighting can make a big difference.
- Spend a little time often. A quick photo, a quick filter, a quick description. That is 60 second social media marketing.
- Use Instagram to inspire your menu. The daily specials are the perfect place to try out new dishes and how they look on Instagram can be a significant driver of new and repeat business.
- Analyse your success. Make sure you are clear on what you want to do and if you are successful. We’ve seen businesses with tens of thousands of followers who can’t point to 1 single customer that has come in because of Instagram. Stay focused on what you want to get out of Instagram.
- Two for 1. Facebook owns Instagram and as a part of that, sharing from Instagram onto Facebook is very simple. They are different markets, with different audiences, but it is an effective way to increase the number of people seeing your content.
- Use #hashtags. Work out through trial and error what works for your account and drives the customers in. Think about local places, people, events and attractions. All can make great fodder for some strategic hashtags.
- Don’t forget video. Instagram was born with photos, but is evolving to now embrace video. This creates a lot of opportunity for you to unleash your creativity, including time lapse, slow mo, prep, customers, and team videos. Maybe even instructional / recipe videos could work.