With more than 200 million posts tagged #food and 23 million with #drinks, food and beverage photos are easily some of the most popular types of content on Instagram. Before starting an Instagram account and posting content, you want to have an idea of what to post.
Choosing content to post on your restaurant's Instagram account depends on what your social media goals are. With the growing amount of businesses on Instagram, you have to try and stand out. There are a few ways to choose content strategies, but again, it depends on your goal.
Figure Out a Social Media Goal
The first step is determining what you expect to gain from your Instagram account. Do you want to use it to showcase the customer experience or your menu? Or do you want to gain a large following and become recognizable among Instagram users?
For a restaurant in a big city with many locations, your goal probably involves gaining followers. This is because you want to be set a part from your competition and entice customers to eat at your restaurant and not others.
If you're a smaller location, you might not have as much competition, especially if you're in a smaller city. However, you still want to put effort into your Instagram account. The goal might be to attract customers who aren’t aware of your business.
Your content should stand out and be aesthetic to customers. Let's say you run a burger place in your city. When a customer goes to Instagram and types in "burger", you want your pictures and account in the first few search results.
The way to make this happen is post content that is appealing to users. In the past we have briefly discussed what successful restaurants and food chains are doing on social media. The same goes for Instagram accounts.
Keep your photos well-lit, and have them show off the best parts of your restaurants. Going back to the burger example, let me show you what you want your pictures to look like when customers search "burger" on Instagram.
See how photogenic these burgers look? Customers will be more likely to click on those and want to find the restaurant than they would for a low quality photo.
You also want to avoid annoying the customers that follow you on social media. Here is a great graph that gives you some guidance on what to avoid.
Now that you have an idea of what to post on Instagram, you need to determine the best days and times to post these photos. All of this information will be located in the "analytics" section of your business account.
If you don't already have a business Instagram account set up, make one now. It's very easy and unlocks a variety of features that are useful to business owners who want to take their business to the next level.
The analytics will show you exactly when your followers are most active on your account and which pictures they interact with the most. This gives you an idea of when you should be posting and exactly what to post.
To help you further understand, if you post a picture of the inside of your restaurant and don't try to frame it or have good lighting, look at how many customers interacted with that picture. If you post a picture of your most popular burger (in good lighting) look at how many customers interact with that. The proof is in the analytics!
Hashtags are a great way to get your photos and account recognized. The biggest tip I have for you is to not use ones that are irrelevant to your business. If you're a pizza joint who only sells pizza and Italian food, don't hashtag #tacos and #burgers. Customers who are looking at those hashtags won't want to see your pizza pictures.
To determine the best hashtags to use, think of keywords that describe your photo. For instance, if you’ve photographed a burger, search “burger” in Instagram’s hashtag section and use those results as a starting point.
Your best bet to figuring out what to post on Instagram is looking at what successful accounts are doing. You don't need to have a professional photoshoot to get quality pictures. Some restaurants will even use customer's photos of their food for their Instagram.
For more information on social media for restaurants, check out our ultimate guide!