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Categories: Instagram Marketing

Here’s How You Become The Chief of Restaurant Instagram Marketing


So, you run a restaurant and want everybody in town to try your mouth-watering food and maybe get some local followers on Instagram along the way? Excellent! No matter if you own a cozy little food truck or a chain restaurant, you can use Instagram best practices for restaurants to boost your business. 

But you may ask, “How do I market my restaurant business on Instagram?” If that’s what’s running through your mind, this article is yours. In this article, I’m going to show you why and how you can use Instagram best practices for your restaurant(s) along with some really cool practical tips to make your restaurant number one on Instagram. But first things first, why Instagram?

Why use Instagram to attract more customers to your restaurant?

In case you have the slightest doubt about the power of restaurant Instagram marketing, allow me to enlighten you. Instagram is the perfect digital marketing tool for your business because:

Reason #1: Instagram is loaded up with foodies

Just like the real world, food is pretty much popular in the virtual world too. It’s good to know that food is the third most popular topic on Instagram after travel and music. Instagrammers (especially millennials) spend five whole days per year only to search and watch those food images on Instagram!

Reason #2: Foodies LOVE to share food photos

Not only Instagrammers like to see food, but also they tend to share it. People put photos before the stomach; they literally LOVE to take pictures of their food and show it off on Instagram. There is even some scientific proof for this: Researches showed that 69% of people take photos of their food before eating it

Reason #3: Foodies spend more time on Instagram

Want another great reason for boosting your restaurant on Instagram? Apparently, foodies consume more Instagram content (almost fourfold) compared to regular users! Those who love to eat check their account to see food images nearly 18 times a day.

Another interesting fact about gourmets is that if they don’t see food on Instagram, the chances of eating out is lower among them in that week. 

How to promote your restaurant on Instagram?

The good thing about running a restaurant — well, apart from the fact that you can eat delicious food every day — is that almost everyone loves to eat out! But the bad news is, there are many competitors out there; maybe even right cross the street. So, how do you attract more customers to your restaurant when you have this volume of competitors?

The key to success in Instagram restaurant marketing is making your account stand out by creativity. Based on the type of your business and policies, you may want to have a different social media proposal for a restaurant. 

In the following, I’ll try to highlight the most important things that work best for any restaurant. So, read them carefully and try to employ them in a unique way that works for you. 

1- Use food Influencers

As the first item, I strongly suggest that you work with Instagram Influencers. The world of Instagram runs based on the digital word of mouth. A single mention of your restaurant by an influencer (even if he/she uses a geotag), can make a mark difference in the number of your followers. Imagine that they actually invite their followers to see your restaurant or upload a video of themselves eating one of your yummy items on the menu. 

People often think they have to pay huge amounts of money to influencers. If you can afford mega-influencers, go ahead; you’ll probably get better results. But I used “probably” because, contrary to the common belief, micro-influencers have better engagement rates and ROI compared to macro-influencers. That’s why many large companies have mapped out micro-influencer strategies. An excellent example of these companies in the food and beverage industry is @cocacola:

Moreover, micro-influencers are willing to work with you at more reasonable prices. This is great for those who have a limited budget. So, how can you guess which influencer is the perfect one to partner up with? For finding a match, the best option is looking at the number of their followers. A good rule of thumb for micro-influencers is 30k-50k. Anything above 50K gets a little bit expensive.

If you are wondering where to find these influencers, I recommend checking Ainfluencer out. Ainfluencer is a place where brands and influencers get matched. You can discover many food influencers, ranging variously in terms of followers and sub-niches of food.       

2- Contests and giveaways as a way of restaurant Instagram marketing

People love to compete, even for food. Actually, some folks say the food is even more delicious when it’s free! So, how do you get followers to eat on Instagram? You have many cool options when it comes to planning and running Instagram food contests and giveaways, from discount coupons and a like-photo contest to competitive eating at the restaurant. But it’s also essential to know exactly how to host an Instagram giveaway.

Planing, designing posts, setting out rules, and publishing posts on Instagram are demanding jobs. But if it’s done correctly, in the end, you’ll get numerous real followers organically. So, as you can see, you are the real winner here!

To ensure that you get the best result in Instagram contests and giveaways, you can use AiGrow.

AiGrow is an Instagram management tool that helps you to effectively manage and run your contests and giveaways by providing an editable template, scheduler, and a repost mention tool. Here’s a video tutorial that shows you how to use this feature of AiGrow:

3- Use behind the scene videos

As mentioned above, people love to see food images; but they also love to see how it got prepared and, as a matter of fact, anything else about food. So, sharing extra stuff besides the food is a good idea when running a page on Instagram.

Every once in a while, publish behind the scene videos and photos as stories and feed posts. Also, using your staff in the content is a fantastic idea that shows your followers how you care about them and to transfer your restaurant’s cool atmosphere through social media. 

Also, people love to see what’s going on in the kitchen; so, don’t forget to share kitchen lives! 

Another excellent idea for feed posts is content about ingredients. If you use fresh and organic ingredients to make your food, show them off on your Instagram page. 

And don’t forget to pay attention to any detail!

4- Take the best photo

If you pay attention to the best restaurant Instagram accounts, you can see that many of their photos are taken in the flat lay shot. You know, when you hold your camera right above the food and take a picture like this:

You don’t have to stick with this style of photography, but it’s a common and standard style among restaurant pages. 

Another factor that you should really consider when it comes to taking a photo of food is lighting. Good light is your best friend. Let the followers see all the exquisite details of your tasty masterpiece!

5- Tell stories: Caption matters for restaurant Instagram marketing

You may think a good photo tells it all, but you are wrong. Yes, gorgeous photos gain more likes, but if you want to engage your followers to the content that you’re sharing, writing an engaging caption is a must.

When writing about food, try to be persuasive and describe it in the most mouth-watering way so that the visitor feels an irresistible urge to try it ASAP! Take a look at these restaurants’ Instagram captions:

6- Use delicious hashtags for restaurant Instagram marketing

Although some hashtags are quite hackneyed, and there are ways to get likes on Instagram without hashtags, they are still a fundamental feature of Instagram. Hashtags can significantly help your restaurant Instagram marketing. 

As a restauranteur, you need to focus on the local followers, because in the end, you’re going to sell your food to them, not some foodie in another town. That’s why using local hashtags, and especially geotags, becomes more vital for restaurants.

Many Instagrammers use hashtags and geotag to find restaurants in their neighborhood and see the menu before actually going to the restaurant or ordering food from it. 

7- Share video/lives

Did you know that video is a massive asset for restaurant Instagram marketing? That’s what professional marketers say about videos. Look at this chart:

Photo by Mention

As you can see, videos generate almost three times more comments compared to single images or carousels. 

The nature of your niche allows you to be creative. You can upload videos about delivering food to your customers or even upload “how to make” IGTV videos about different dishes; your followers will love it!

8- Post Stories regularly

Many marketers believe that the introduction of Instagram Story was like a revolution of engagement, and they are absolutely right! Instagram Story enables you to have more flexibility and fun on your page. You can ask your followers’ opinions about your menu and organize your topics on highlights. 

Quiz, poll, question, challenge, emoji slider, and AR effects are some of the examples of interactive tools available on Instagram. 

By sharing a Story, you tighten your bond with your followers by constantly being on their screen. And the best part? You have countless things to show them every day!

Did you know you can schedule your stories? Read the next part to see how you can plan your feed and Story posts in the best way!

9- Post a lot, at the best times

So, how often should a restaurant post on Instagram? The answer is a lot! Like, really a lot. Because as I mentioned above, people love to watch food content on Instagram. So, if you run an Instagram account, you must have a five-point plan for your content. 

Preparing this number of posts for a restaurant requires a considerable amount of time, energy, ideas, and creativity. The best method to handle this critical task is to schedule posts. This way, you can dedicate your weekends to creating posts and schedule the whole week’s content in advance. 

Unfortunately, Instagram does not have a scheduler, but don’t worry; you can use AiGrow to schedule your feed and Story posts in the most convenient way. Want to know the best part? It’s free!

What makes AiGrow extraordinary compared to other similar apps in the market is that using this Instagram manager tool allows you to add external links to your Instagram posts, both feed, and Story, even if you have less than 10K followers.

Also, if you want your feed to look super professional, you can get help from AiGrow. This fantastic app offers post designing services, which make your page eye-catching and more appealing. For more information, click here

10- Get the most of your Bio

Your Instagram bio works for your restaurant page exactly how a window shop works for a boutique. It displays the best of what you’ve got concisely. So, you have to put a lot of thinking when writing your 150-word limited Instagram bio. 

Moreover, Instagram allows you to put only one clickable link on your bio. You can either put your website address or one of your other social media links. Well, you should give up linking all of your external sources. But there’s another way to expand the capacity of Instagram bio and the number of external links using AiGrow.

AiGrow makes you a beautiful page like this: 

As you can see, not only can you link all of the other social media to the bio, you can also add buttons such as “Contact me” and “Request Coupon” to make it easier to communicate with your followers. 

Actually, by using this tool, you can get email addresses from your Instagram followers and start an email campaign.

To build the best Instagram bio for your restaurant, give AiGrow a try!

11- Use Instagram management apps for restaurant Instagram marketing

You may ask, how can I make my restaurant famous? Getting famous on IG and being among the most followed food Instagram accounts requires you to have lots of engaged followers. To have a steady growth of followers, it’s wise to use an Instagram management app. I already introduce you to AiGrow and how it can help you to organize your page. Now, I’m going to tell you about another feature of this app that makes promoting your page a cakewalk. 

AiGrow offers several promotional packages that are designed for every taste and budget.

These packages offer posts designs, gaining a guaranteed number of monthly followers, and free use of other AiGrow features. 

For example, here is one of the most popular AiGrow packages called “12 Month Pro Pack.”

As you can see in the picture, this unique package offers at least 300 new followers per month, a dedicated account manager, content creation, and unlimited use of features, to name a few. And you can get this yearly package for only $72 per month. Sign up for AiGrow for free to enjoy this excellent package and many other Instagram promotion packages. 

12- Celebrate food and beverage days on the calendar

There are many social events on different calendars, celebrating food and beverages in different ways. For example, we have a coffee day, pizza day, and even cupcake’s day! These are all opportunities for new feed posts and Story. 

A good way to keep track of these delicious days is to keep checking AiGrow’s Social Calendar to see each day’s special event in advance, and also its related hashtags. You can click on each day to see the posts that other users have published and then repost them.

13- Use UGCs for restaurant Instagram marketing

People tend to put a considerable amount of trust when it comes to online reviews about the food. Actually, 88% of people take into account the comments and posts that people share about restaurants.

You can efficiently run an Instagram user-generated content campaign to curate your feed with UGCs that are genuine and attractive. As these people are not influencers, people can be sure that their comments are 100% true. 

14- Run ads

If you want a quick result, you can run Instagram ads. This works best if you modify the targeted audiences carefully. Using Instagram insights, you can say which demographic groups are visiting your page the most. 

Also, don’t forget to use geotags to gain potential customers in your area. It works like magic when it comes to Instagram ads for restaurants.

How do restaurants use Instagram for marketing?

Learning from the best is always a great strategy. In this part, I’m going to show you some real cases of successful restaurants that are killing it on Instagram. Here are some of the best restaurants with great social media:

1- Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant

Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant Instagram page is filled with images of delicious food, behind the scene photos, delivery services, staff, and their basketball team, which makes the page vibrant.


2- Piada Italian Street Food

Piada Instagram account shares great branded videos, pictures, and creative Stories.

They regularly introduce their seasonal products through attractive Instagram contests.

Also, they put a lot of thought into writing their captions and creating posts.

3- Taco Bell

Taco Bell Instagram account is known for its high engagement rate among restaurants. One of the main reasons for such engagement might be the fact that Taco Bell uses UGC a lot. 

Taco Bell is a pro in posting funny and yet eye-catching content.

The perfect restaurant design for a great Instagram marketing

In this part, I’m going to tell you how you can enhance your restaurant’s design for effective restaurant Instagram marketing. These are just a few tips that can make your Instagram-friendly. Here’re my tips:

1- Beautiful plates

Some pretty sets of plates and cutlery make a huge difference when it comes to shooting photos for Instagram. Apart from how the food actually looks, foodies also pay attention to essential details such as plates.

So, make sure you add special plates to your kitchen if you don’t already have them.  

2- Neon Sign

What’s better than a cool neon sign for visitors to take a photo with it and then share it on Instagram? 

3- An eye-catching wall, floor, and ceiling

If your interior decorations are attractive enough, surely your customers love to take a picture with that view. 

If your restaurant does not have a fancy floor or walls, you can use an eye-catching to make your restaurant more lively. 

4- Good lighting

Again, lighting is one of the fundamental factors when it comes to taking photos! Provide enough lights for your visitors and don’t make them use their phone’s flash.

5- Pay more attention to the most grammed foods

In case you’re wondering if there are foods that foodies tend to gram more than others, I must say yes! Of course, in the eyes of foodies, all foods are equal, but some foods are more equal than others. 

As you may have guessed, pizza is the first item on the list! It seems our love for pizza is beyond this planet. Anyway, here are the top 10 most grammed food:

Final words on restaurant Instagram marketing

To become the chef of restaurant Instagram marketing, you need to have a tremendous amount of creativity. But if done correctly, it can effectively boost your business and make your restaurants one of the best in the neighborhood and even in the city! So, employ all the methods and tips mentioned in this article to make your restaurant spectacular. And don’t forget to make this difficult task easy for yourself by using apps such as AiGrow