Experiencing Food Through Instagram

It is an average Wednesday. It is 5pm and about time to catch up with the world and its social activities! By opening Instagram, I am about to enter a world of self-marketing and social entertainment! After swiftly accepting new followers, I start scrolling over hundreds of pictures carefully curated from hospitality influencers, food stylists and restaurant owners. I like, answer and respond to this following of mine that I have carefully been building over the months.

My news feed is filled with amazing pictures of mouth-watering food, restaurant interior, party events and astute marketing campaigns such as photo contests. Initially time consuming, this overwhelming visual experience has proven to be a mine of useful information and new ideas for businesses.

Being part of the Instagram community is not just about sharing your everyday life and holiday pictures with friends (I’ll leave that to another post on Snapchat), but it is also a very powerful marketing and business tool used by 300 million monthly users – potential costumers looking for a new venues or food experiences. Visual is essential to attracting prospective customers especially since they are not be able to use any of their other senses to judge your restaurant until they walk into your restaurant.

Indeed, analytics show that 75% of leading brands are on Instagram and 58% of users were willing to buy a product spotted on Instagram. Instagram is  one of today’s marketing essentials, mostly targeting a young segment under 35 – always seeking new experiences and places to eat.

When I am on Instagram, I think about who these people are and why are they following me. What about my Instagram makes them follow me? How could I attract some more followers?…. These  questions lead me to build a consistent quality and powerful social marketing strategy on Instagram. Here is what I have found:

  1. Food and decor photography or videos plays a major role in your marketing.
    On Instagram, the quality of the content is extremely important. People are looking for interesting, witty, and appealing content. While many use their phones’ camera, we suggest using a professional camera for business purposes. The variety of effects and the quality of the picture will more likely be praised than the usual mediocre phone pictures. Furthermore, play with the different filters and create a special atmosphere to your photo to convey an interesting message to followers. Editing should be subtle and tasteful.
  2. Share the universe of your company!
    What is your restaurant’s story?  On top of creating engaging and quality content, it is important to give people access behind the scenes. You should share your values, what inspires you and not just commercial ads. Need tips? Think about a short story line that will meet your goal (Aka: What do I want to deliverer to the audience?). This story will help create guidelines to post the right pictures and to unify your community. People will start to follow you because they connect with your story.
  3. Arouse emotion and share experience!
    On Instagram, it’s not just about posting photos of your brand, but you interacting with your followers and involving them in your adventure. Imagine meeting someone for the first time – you will start a conversation by introducing yourself and asking question about your interlocutor! Instagram is the same… you are shaping a mutually beneficial and hopefully long-lasting relationship.
    In order to facilitate this experience, it is important to learn how to use the hashtag (#), which allows users to search for and find similar photos from anyone on Instagram. Never use more than 4 or 5 carefully curated hashtags that will help you catch more followers and engage with your community. Furthermore, you can also do a research for the most popular hashtags on Union Metrics and start liking pictures related to the hashtag (up to 100 a day).
  4. Analyze the information and adapt the strategy toward your goals.
    It is essential to understand your followers’ behavior in order to optimize your marketing strategy to identify new tendencies and to improve your own content. Closely monitor people’s reaction on each photo posted by reporting the number of likes and comments. Since Instagram is a new platform and is mostly used by a younger generation, this social media can be used as a lab to experiment new “marketing strategy”.
  5. It is important to post at the right time.
    It is extremely important to be consistent and creating a weekly calendar is a good start. It will help you monitor performance and measure goals as well as prepare the different posts to be uploaded in the future.
    You are then wondering when to post your new amazing witty picture to generate the most engagement and feedback. According to a survey, you should always post before 9am and after 5pm – and Wednesday being the most efficient day to post pictures.

    • Monday: 7pm-10 pm
    • Tuesday: 3pm
    • Wednesday: 5pm
    • Thursday: 2am – 7am
    • Friday: 1am
    • Saturday:2am
    • Sunday: 5pm

Instagram is becoming key to successful marketing. Images are beginning to trump text in our fast-paced society. Trying out Instagram is a smart move to keep your customers’ attention.