With lockdown restrictions putting the spotlight once again on takeaway, your restaurant needs to use every trick in the book to grab customers – and one of the best is Instagram.
But if social media isn’t already a biggie for you, how do you succeed in making a splash on the ‘Gram?
Number 1 tip: don’t worry too much. Doing some social media is better than doing none; posting frequently is even better.
So what does Instagram quality look like?
1. Always post your best images. Try to take them in natural light and focus on one main subject so they don’t look fussy.
2. When you take pics of your dishes, think a bit about the presentation. Place them on a nice plain background – a stripped wood table, for instance. Take snaps from above and from 45 degrees. Make sure they look appetising before you post. See how some of the top food bloggers do it.
3. Get your people in the frame. Smiling chefs at work and pleasant serving staff will make customers feel welcome. Remember – you should show staff who are socially distancing and staying safe.
4. Make some short videos – they’re excellent content.
5. In these lockdown times, appeal to customers’ longing for pleasure and life as normal: sunshine coming in through the restaurant window, flowers on the windowsill, a great piece of cake with one forkful cut away, a burger absolutely oozing with cheese!
6. Get customers involved when they come to pick up their meal – ask them to wave at the camera for Instagram while holding up their takeaway. A great way to interact and help build up your Insta community.
These don’t have to be clever – just sincere and simple. Avoid spelling errors as they don’t do much for your reputation.
“We really LOVE our new burger – hope you’re feeling hungry!” expresses your enthusiasm and extends a personal invitation, all in a few words.
1. Talk directly to your customer. Instagram is a one-to-one communication, so say ‘you’ and ‘us’ as you would in conversation.
2. Think about who your customers are, and what they are interested in (apart from your food!) Try to post things you think they’re likely to be interested in. Obvious, yes – but so important.
3. Ask questions. It’s a great way to get two-way conversations going, which makes customers feel part of something. If they comment, reply as soon as you can.
4. Use hashtags – that’s #. You can use lots of these on Instagram – for example, #recipe, #takeout, #yummy, #specialoffer. Make a hashtag for your restaurant, too. It helps people to find your posts.
5. Try posting at different times to see what gets the best response, and take a shot at imagining what your target customers will be doing at that time.
6. Consider using Instagram ads, which boost some of your posts to a wider audience for a fairly moderate fee. There’s a useful blog with more info here.
7. Introduce competitions or campaigns with special offers. Not only will customers interact, but with a bit of luck they will share them with friends and widen your audience. If you have a restaurant epos system, you can tie in to your customer loyalty software to get the most out of every offer.
Finally, a word of caution. Social media is a fantastic way to market your restaurant, but it can bite back – your restaurant epos system can help you monitor and manage your online reputation.
Also, remember these golden rules:
- Never be nasty
- Never share malicious gossip
- Always be positive, friendly and responsible
- Always remember your reputation is at stake.
How long will all this take you? That’s genuinely up to you – anything from a couple of minutes a day. But do try to set aside some regular time to keep your feed up to date and keep communicating with your customers.
At times like this, they need your restaurant’s friendly face…