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Rob Reed, founder of MomentFeed, said restaurants can do three things to increase engagement on the Instagram platform: liking, commenting and sharing. “Those are the three easiest ways to engage with your customers and create more Instagram activity for your brand,” he said in an interview.

Liking a customer’s Instagram photo “sends a really discrete and direct message and signals to the customer is that the brand is listening,” Reed said. “The next time they are in the restaurant, they’ll be more inclined to post another photo in the chance that the brand will notice them.”

The next step, Reed explained, is to engage in conversation in Instagram. “You can do that in the comments,” he said. “Brands will do that to either address customer service issues … or thank the customer for taking time out of their meal to share the experience.”

Restaurants can also share customer photos through the brand’s other social media channels, especially Facebook, Reed added. “That’s pretty much the ultimate ‘thank you’ the brand can extend to the customer,” he said. “You can post to Facebook with attribution, of course. They’ll share that on their own feeds.”

Increasingly, brands are finding they can address customer service issues on Instagram as well as Facebook and Twitter, Reed said. “You need to listen to what your customers are saying in the comments and respond,” he added.

Joergen Aaboe, MomentFeed’s director of marketing, said the initial 65 locations in the Instagram quarterly report were selected to “represent multiple categories within the restaurant vertical.” Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Margaritaville, Polly’s Pies and Texas Roadhouse are using the MomentFeed software.

Aaboe said the company is looking to expand its brands in the survey, but restaurant companies must provided a list of locations so the photographs can be place tagged to specific outlets.

The MomentFeed ranking differs from the NRN Social 200, which monitors Facebook, Twitter and YouTube engagement.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless