Believe it or not – one of the best marketing tool for your restaurant is Instagram!
But only if you use it properly. Unfortunately, many restaurants don’t know how to use this channel properly and only focus on short-term growth tactics that don’t actually make a difference.
In this article, I’ll be revealing the four Instagram strategies that you can use to market your food or beverage business.
These tactics (if done correctly and efficiently!) will guarantee you gain some more loyal fans that will keep coming back for more.
So let’s dive right in!
1. Flaunt Your Awards and Accolades
The first way you can utilize Instagram as a platform to bring customers through your door, is by featuring your awards and accolades.
How does this even work?
Well, if you or your business has won any recognitions or been featured in any notable publications, this is something you should share! If you only have them displayed in your restaurant, how will any potential customers know?
Instagram is the best platform to feature these accolades, because it’s where everyone goes to check out new restaurants.
A lot of my clients make the mistake of not bragging about their recognitions! Whether it’s a local publication, the James Beard Foundation or even a Michelin star: you need to be able to tell the world about the awards that you’ve won and the accolades that you’ve earned.
Why is this the case? People love to associate with the best. Everyone wants that status. Everyone wants to impress their friends or wine and dine their spouse.
Your awards give you credibility, and give them the confidence they need to see what all of the hype is about.
Proving to potential diners that your offering is quality will turn them into actual paying customers!
2. Celebrity Endorsement
The second Instagram tactic I’m sharing with you is the Celebrity Endorsement.
If you’re lucky enough to have celebrities visit your restaurant, take advantage: Take pictures with them and feature them prominently to make sure everyone knows they support your business.
Don’t just display them in your restaurant, put them online, specifically on your Instagram! Maybe even drop their name in your bio so it’s always there for people to see.
Why do we want to do this?
Being endorsed by a celebrity is another stamp of approval showing how great your restaurant is.
I know and understand that a lot of businesses don’t have very high profile people coming through their doors. You can actually still utilize this tactic as a principle with smaller celebrities like local influencers or food bloggers!
When anyone with a reputation or a following visits and supports your business, that’s when you should feature them. Include quotes in your caption and tag their account to give more credibility.
Just tell the world how great this person is, and that they love to eat at your restaurant.
This increases consumer trust.
Once people trust that your business is making quality products, they’re sure to want a taste.
3. Friends Endorsement
Now this tactic is a bit different from celebrity endorsement, because you’re utilizing the local community.
When customers dine at your restaurant, you want them to post on their Instagram and share with their friends.
Lots of restaurants will just ask people to do post, or put up a sign, but this doesn’t work! You actually need to incentivize them. Easy ways to encourage diners could be entering participants into a drawing, give them a discounted drink, or even a free side dish.
This tactic works because we always trust the recommendations of our friends and family members the most!
Seeing lots of people’s posts keeps your business at the front of everyone’s mind so they think of you when deciding where to eat. You can quote people in your captions or even share their posts to your business’s story, so that your followers see them too.
That’s the reason why having friend and family endorsements on your Instagram is key to bringing in more customers.
Disclaimer: If your food is not good, this tactic could backfire!
Your customers are going to give their friends honest feedback when they ask, so make sure your offering holds up.
We don’t want them to say “Oh no this place kind of sucks, but I got a free appetizer to post something, so I did!”
That’s why, as a prerequisite, you have to make sure your food is good, your customer service is good, and everything is in alignment before you implement any of these tactics.
4. Testimonials and Reviews
The fourth way to utilize Instagram to promote your restaurant is by featuring everyday customers’ testimonials and reviews.
Once again, don’t think that Instagram marketing will solve your problems… it’s just like any other kind of marketing!
If your service or food is poor, it will just amplify the quality and experience of your restaurant so your marketing and results will also be bad. But if your food, this strategy is extremely effective.
If I tell you how great my restaurant is, it doesn’t carry much weight because I’m biased. Whereas, if my friend Jason shares with you how great it is, it’s much more believable.
Even better is if we tell someone that we don’t know about our positive experience. That itself is honest and true and you know for a fact that you can put a lot of weight in what they have to say!
This is the reason why public, honest testimonials and reviews are extremely credible and bring so much value to your restaurant.
So when you can incentivize people to give you honest reviews, definitely do so.
Once you have these reviews, don’t just hide them away. Put it on your Instagram, yell it out, tell the world how great other people say your business is.
Other people will come to eat at your restaurant because you have gained that trust with the opinions of others. And ultimately, trust is the only thing stopping regular customers from becoming loyal fans.
When people scroll on their home feeds, or your profile, they’ll see the things you share and the enjoyable experience your customers are having. They look at the amazing, delicious appealing food and will subconsciously want to dine there as well.
These are just some of the tactics I’m sharing with you on how you can utilize Instagram to pull in more customers.
Take action in these four different marketing strategies and you will not be disappointed!
Once again, make sure you perfect your food offerings and basic business principles before you start marketing or it will only backfire on you! If you’re still working on the fundamentals of your business, I have lots of other great resources to make sure you’re set up for success. This article gives you the step-by-step instructions to start a restaurant, check it out here.