Written by: J. Vigotsky
Engaging with customers through social media is becoming increasingly important for bars and restaurants. Not only is the practice free, but in many cases it’s just as effective as paid marketing. If your bar or restaurant isn’t already posting on Instagram, then it’s time to start. This post highlights 5 ways you can use your restaurant’s Instagram to win over customers.
Amazingly, research shows that people aged 18-35 spend an average of five days per year looking at pictures of food on Instagram. So what better way to represent your restaurant than by posting pictures of its most delicious meals? While it might be easy to just snap a picture and post it online, you’re better off putting tender love and care into each photo you share. First consider what meals are most photogenic. A rack of glazed ribs certainly looks more appetizing than a bowl of white rice. Next, make sure your lighting is perfect. Use a reflector if you have to. Better yet, opt for natural lighting. If you or someone in your restaurant is savvy with editing, play around with different settings to help your pictures look good as possible.
Outdoor Eating Areas
Especially during the warmer months, people love to eat outside. If your bar or restaurant have an outdoor eating area, there’s no shame in showing it off through Instagram. Pick a beautiful, sunny day and snap a photo of it. If there are already people dining there, make sure they’re okay with you taking a picture. To make your outdoor eating patio most appealing to customers, take your picture during the golden hour. This is the time before sunset or after sunrise when the sun’s light is softer and better for photography. Since your bar or restaurant likely isn’t open during sunrise, your best bet is to snap that photo a little before sunset.
Unveil New Menu Items and Special Deals
Before social media was around, making customers aware of new menu offerings could be very difficult. Word of mouth could get to them or you could advertise in the local paper. But now sites like Instagram make it easier than ever to make announcements. If you’re unveiling a new food offering or a drink special, simply make an Instagram post about it. You can even hint that something will be announced in the near future to keep your customers waiting anxiously. After all, a little showmanship isn’t the worst thing.
Consider giving customers a glimpse behind the curtain by posting pictures of your staff in action. Maybe your chefs want to demonstrate how they prepare a restaurant specialty. Or your bartender wants to show off the liquor offerings of his bar. It’s easy to think of a restaurant as just a place to get food. But pictures like these remind customers of the people who make your bar or restaurant what it is.
Re-Share Your Customers’ Content
Sometimes customers will have already taken pictures at your restaurant and shared them. To see what’s out there, simply look up your location on Instagram or search to see if your restaurant has been hashtagged. If you come across a picture that you’d like to repost, contact the original poster and make sure it’s okay if you re-share the picture from your account. The last thing you want is to repost the photo without permission and find out the customer didn’t appreciate it. If you want to reward customers for letting you use their photos, consider offering a free drink or dessert.
The ideas listed in this article only scratch the surface of what can be done with your restaurant’s Instagram account. Keep in mind that as we move further into the social media generation, marketing strategies will continue to evolve. For bars and restaurants that are looking to stay ahead of the curve, maintaining a strong online presence can help in a big way.