It’s simple in theory: you start a strategic handful of social media profiles for your small business, optimize the pages and improve your standing on the web overall by doing so, and end up landing more customers and increasing your profits.
In practice though, social media platforms aren’t always easy or intuitive to use, and it can be hard to get the full benefits from your restaurant’s social media pages. Instagram can be one of the hardest social media sites to use effectively, but also one of the most useful for your restaurant when used correctly.
That being said, there are some simple principles that any one can incorporate into their use of Instagram to get the most out of the social media site. Here are five things to keep in mind in order to optimize your restaurant’s Instagram account, and Instagram your menu!
- The Setup is Standard, with a Twist
Most of what you need to know to setup an Instagram account are things that are applicable to all social networks. Make sure to fill out all of the information you can on your profile page, and choose a profile picture that highlights your restaurant’s strengths. Whatever you do, don’t leave your bio section blank, and be sure to use every opportunity you can to tell your story and share what makes your business unique on your profile’s home page.
However, Instagram is very different in one way. The sight is primarily a mobile platform, and you will have to download the Instagram application in order to start your set-up.
- Instagram is Primarily Mobile, and That’s a Good Thing!
The fact that Instagram exists primarily on phones can be intimidating, but ultimately it is a good thing. True, you will need to get used to using your iPhone or other mobile device for social media promotion, but the learning curve isn’t too steep and anyone that is familiar with smart phones will get a hang of things pretty quickly.
And there are some big “pros” of Instagram being a primarily mobile platform. First, your customers will be accessing the site from their phones all the time, meaning it is likely they will be browsing the page while eating at your restaurant. Additionally, the fact that your page will be displaying primarily on the small screens of mobile devices means that you wont have to worry too much about professional grade photographs for your site. With the many “filters” that Instagram offers, it is easy for amateurs to take utilize the photo sharing aspect of the site to the fullest.
- Instagram is All About Pictures!
Ever heard the expression “a picture says a thousand words?” Sometimes feel like it can take way too much effort to think of exactly what kinds of things you should be posting on your social media sites? Well then Instagram is perfect for you!
Instagram is built on sharing pictures, so you won’t have to worry too much about the things you post. The content pretty much generates itself: take pictures of your food and restaurant, and you have everything you need in order to share quality material on Instagram! Posting pictures is easy and intuitive, and will let you show off your business’s best!
- Instagram is Like Twitter (Kind Of)
While Instagram is it’s own social media site with a lot of unique attributes, the fundamentals are closer to twitter than facebook or any other major site. Users on Instagram are identified by “@” tags, much like user accounts are identified on twitter. “Hashtags” represented by “#” are used to mark pictures, which then are associated to other pics with the same tag. Popular “hashtags” are “trending,” meaning lots of people can see your posts if you are smart.
Notably, feeds move slower on Instagram, so you shouldn’t post as often as you would on twitter. Just like any site though, experiment a bit to determine what the best posting frequencies and times are for your community and network.
- Pictures+Food=Winning Formula!
While a lot of social networks can feel a little bit awkward or weird for restaurant owners, Instagram is a very easy and natural fit for restaurateurs for one simple reason: you will be very successful just by showing off your food! In order to get the most out of posting pictures of your dishes, first select a handful of entree and other things that you will prepare and photograph.
Then, take several pictures of each dish under good lighting using your smartphone’s camera. Don’t worry toooooo much about capturing professional grade shots: Instagram offers lots of “filters” that can help you quickly adjust photographs. Finally, post the pictures to your feed strategically, and see the benefits your business receives! Strategic posting of good pictures is one of the strongest tools that a restaurant owner has in the social media world.
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