What is in this article?:
- Study reveals Instagram best practices for restaurants
- Tips for first exposure
MomentFeed found the highest rates of Instagram engagement among mostly upscale-casual restaurant brands.
Tips for first exposure
Restaurants that are not ready to run photo-sharing promotions could still encourage more picture-taking through “light-touch, high-impact actions,” Reed said.
“The first step is ‘listening,’ or just seeing how customers interpret your brand experience through Instagram,” he said. “Does it lean heavily toward food, or is it people’s photos of their friends at a table in the restaurant? That can tell you positive things about the experience, given what people want to capture and share.”
Margaritas director of marketing Mike Caldwell said the goal for encouraging photos with the menu with the moustache mask is to get guests to record the fun atmosphere in the restaurants. The chain certainly is proud of new dishes, like Habanero Lime Salmon, he said, but the hoped-for pictures of people with menu moustaches likely would stand out among the thousands of food shots on Instagram.
“We’re happy when food shots go up, but these mustache shots for sure are what we want,” Lederer said in agreement. “Fun is what separates us from our competitors. The experience you get at Margaritas and the fun you have when taking a silly picture with a mask on your face is something you’d come back for and partake in.”
At a minimum, a restaurant should acknowledge customers' Instagram photos by “liking” them from the brand’s Instagram profile and commenting, as social-savvy brands now do with Facebook and Twitter, Reed said.
Restaurants can take the next step to ensure the most accurate portrayal of a restaurant experience by encouraging patrons to tag the restaurant locations in their Instagram photos, he added. Some users may apply irrelevant or inaccurate hash tags to their photos — perhaps adding a “#McDonald’s” hash tag to a photo of a different restaurant or an unflattering, extraneous picture of something else — so place tags become more crucial for restaurant brands, Reed said.
Once those behaviors are encouraged, restaurants can find the best shots and promote them on company social media pages.
“A lot of brand managers would have an adverse reaction to that because they like to control how their food is represented,” Reed said. “But you can’t control it anyway, because photo sharing is just happening. You might as well encourage people to portray you in the best light possible by putting incentives in place, or sharing and commenting on photos. Users will then think, ‘OK, let’s put a good filter on this picture now, and make sure the light is right.’”