It’s time to market your business on Instagram. In these turbulent times restaurants, pubs and cafes have had to adapt how they do business in order to keep things going and provide us with the food and drinks we all love. Many have started doing take away, maybe selling their stock as groceries, or setting up their business in preparation for dine-in social distancing. During all this chaos, it’s the businesses who’ve taken to social media who have secured a reliable pandemic client base. This has particularly been the case with Instagram. This article will provide you with some simple and effective advice on how to move your business onto Instagram.
First, let’s look at why you should choose Instagram. Instagram is an easy and effective way for you to take control of your own business marketing. It is user-friendly and free and allows you to engage directly with current and potential customers in your area and beyond. Here are the numbers from Instagram themselves:
- 1 billion+ Instagram accounts worldwide are active every single month.
- 90% of accounts follow a business on Instagram.
- 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram.
- 200 million+ Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily.
- 500 million+ accounts use Instagram stories every day.
- 1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses.
- 63% of Instagram users are aged 18-34.
Your customers and their needs are always changing, but we have seen this happen faster in 2020 than at any previous time.
In addition to the tips below, Splento has also produced a free report on brand engagement, explaining what you can do to re-engage your customers in this post-pandemic world.
It’s completely free and is downloadable by clicking below:
1. Create an Instagram Business Account
Before we begin, let’s get you set up (if you already have an account, just skip ahead):
- Download and launch the app
- Sign up, or log in with Facebook
- Set up a free business account by going to settings and scrolling down to ‘Switch to business account’. A business account allows you to add information such as opening hours, address and a phone number.
- Start your Instagram marketing journey!
2. Instagram Photography
Instagram is a photo-sharing platform, and when people visit your profile, they’ll be focused on the visual content first. For visual content, you can either be your own photographer or you can hire one – many are still working during the pandemic. If you prefer to take your own photos, there are some things you should remember:
- Natural light is best, but harsh direct light is too much.
- The rule of thirds: In photography, the rule of thirds is a type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds, and the subject of the image is placed on a line or at the intersection of those lines. Most of the time, beginner photographers will place their subjects in the centre, which can be a strong way to compose photographs but using it too much can be boring. If you find that you are doing this, you can add more interest and variety by using the rule of thirds.
- Try different angles: try kneeling down, standing on a chair (safely), taking a birds-eye-view from above or even taking some shots through a window. Get experimenting and see what you like!
- Editing your photos is great but try not to overuse the filters. Consistent editing is key for an aesthetically pleasing and inviting profile. Using Instagram’s own editing features can be useful when trying to enhance colours and sections of photos. There are many photo editing apps available, as well as companies offering photo editing services, and they can be very helpful in creating beautiful images, but don’t feel like you have to try them out right away.
3. Instagram Videos
Videos are a great way to tell customers more about your business, here are some ideas for you:
- ‘How to…’ videos can help show how your food and drinks are made. But remember, don’t give everything away or they may start making your menu at home!
- ‘What’s new this week?’ videos can be a great way to tell customers of any specials or new stock and it can also be an opportunity for you to push a specific dish or drink.
- Quick recommendation videos can be an effective way for the customers to get to know your members of staff, and it is also a bite-size way of helping your customers decide what they might want to order.
- Live videos can be great if you have events going on. Instagram has a live video option, so you can broadcast live from your own phone!
4. Linking to Delivery Partners
You can now add food ordering options to your Instagram profile so people can begin to order straight from your account. If you haven’t already found a food delivery partner, find your country and browse the partners here. Select the one that you’d like to set up your online food ordering with and set up an account. Follow the instructions on their website to set up your food ordering service. Please note that not all partners may be available in your location. For example:
- US: Caviar, ChowNow, delivery.com, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, Seamless, Slice, Uber Eats
- UK: Deliveroo, Flipdish, JustEat, Uber Eats
Once you’ve successfully set up your account with your food ordering partner, add your partner link to your profile so people will be able to discover it on your Instagram account and purchase through your partner’s platform. You can only add one partner link to your profile so pick your partner wisely.
You’ll also be able to share partner links using an interactive food orders Stories sticker, which will be available in your sticker tray. By tapping on the Stories sticker, people will be taken to your partner’s platform to complete their purchase. People can also re-share these stickers in their own stories to encourage their followers to support your business.
5. Bring the menu to the user
Make decisions easier for your followers. Consider curating weekly specials with popular items. Some pubs have taken to posting their menu boards each day on Instagram. This has engaged customers as they wait in suspense to see what is being served that day. Plus, posting a picture of the specials or menu can be easier and quicker if you don’t have a website yet and/or are just getting accustomed to social media advertising. Remember though that links don’t work in the captions of posts or in your bio, so if you want to link to something, like a menu or your website where the menu can be found, use a platform like Linktree where you can list as many links as you want and track how many people have clicked that link.
6. Commit to a regular Instagram posting schedule
Post regularly to maintain engagement and to increase traffic to your account. Whether that’s specials, daily offers, stock updates or reviews, make sure to keep going in order to grow your following and your business. Using Instagram influencers can be a great way to maintain a regular posting schedule as they usually have a lot of followers and they make their own content. It will be up to you to reach out to them and see if they want to partner up.
7. Engage with your customers directly
Instagram offers a variety of ways for you to engage with your customers directly, for example:
- Use the poll function on your Instagram stories to encourage feedback and engagement.
- Use the questions function to ask your followers to submit questions, reviews, answers to your questions or to complete a sentence.
- Do giveaway competitions to encourage them to share your posts and to follow your account. This can be great when building up local regulars if you’re a community-based establishment.
- Share, comment and like your followers’ posts when they tag you and respond to their comments on your posts.
- Welcome enquiries and questions into your Instagram direct message inbox. This can help build relationships with customers and improve reviews of your customer service. You can also use the questions you receive to curate a list of FAQs for your business.
- Finally, encourage your followers and customers to use hashtags for free advertising and remember to use hashtags yourself. Using hashtags means that when people search or follow hashtags, your business will come up for them to see. If you want to reuse hashtags and don’t want to type them out in every post, keep them in the notes of your phone so you can just copy and paste them over.
8. Instagram Advertising
Instagram has a variety of advertising options for business accounts. You don’t have to use these but they can be helpful in spreading the word of your business and engaging with audiences you wouldn’t have otherwise. If your business is specifically of interest to 18-34-year-olds, Instagram ads are especially likely to be successful as that is the age bracket for the majority of Instagram users. There are three options for ads on Instagram: Photo, Video and Carousel (multiple photos). Your business account also has features that can help with advertising information about your business, such as your contact information, opening hours, call-to-action-buttons and tracking the results of your social media marketing with analytics tools.
The opportunity to manage your own marketing during such a turbulent time, means you have control of what your customers see. Small business owners are usually the best in knowing their brands, so why not curate your own brand image online? Now is the time to start marketing your business on Instagram. If you don’t know where to start, I suggest taking some photos.
If you need amazing visual content fast, you can hire a Splento professional photographer for a fixed hourly rate – just £99 ($149) which will also include all retouching and photo editing. And we always deliver the final images within a guaranteed 24 hours. For more inspirational images, have a browse through our portfolio of food photography. Remember, if you have any questions or need advice on creating an awesome profile for Instagram, then you are most welcome to get in touch with us.