5 Things Every Restaurant Needs To Be Doing On Instagram

August 26, 2019

Show Notes

Instagram and food pictures go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. And today we're going to give you five (5) things that every restaurant needs to be doing on Instagram.

  • Take gorgeous pictures - This one is a given. Instagram is a visual platform and your photos better match up with some of the best photos on the platform. You have two options; hire a photographer or invest in some equipment. The latter could turn out to be a nightmare when you take into account not only the camera but lenses, lighting, editing software, etc.
  • Create Instagram Stories daily - Instagram Stories help you get discovered and it’s a more personal way to interact with followers. Everytime we post Instagram Stories we see an uptick in profile views. You probably want to be creating 6-10 story posts daily. Extra tip: It’s absolutely crucial to be an early adopter of the tools that Instagram introduces. Usually platforms push that content first.
  • Use your DMs - Using direct messages can deepen the relationship with your followers and turn some followers into actual customers. You can also combine the new Instagram Stories chat sticker to create offers and discounts to a select group of followers. Possibilities here are endless.
  • Use local popular hashtags - You can still use #food #foodie but don’t let that be the bulk of your hashtags. Those are great for general engagement but you really want to engage with your community locally. For example for a restaurant in Plano, I would look at #PlanoFoodie, #RestaurantPlano, etc. These hashtags will increase your visibility locally.
  • Create relationships with food bloggers/influencers - Here in the Dallas area alone we have hundreds of food influencers on Instagram with thousands of followers. They share their favorite, hottest, best food spots around so it’s important to create these relationships and even work with a few of them. They can promote your business by just posting a beautiful picture.


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Christian [00:00:00] Instagram and food pictures go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. And today we're gonna give you five things that every restaurant needs to be doing on Instagram.

Aaron [00:00:30] Hey guys you may have remembered last week Christian announced to everybody that we are going to be doing something a little bit different with the podcast at least until we get feedback from you guys on whether or not you love it and we'll keep it the same or you're like No go back and you hate it and so we change it up. But this podcast is gonna be more conversational between Christian and I and we think you guys are gonna get more value out of it. That being said we're gonna talk about things that every restaurant needs to be doing on Instagram and this is really just every business should be on Instagram right. Or I mean right. 

Christian [00:01:01] Yeah absolutely. Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms right now. So. 

Aaron [00:01:08] And also just to let everybody know I'm going to be probably switching it up from what Christian did last week and I'll be doing to him more asking the questions because a good chunk of these he has been doing or he put the information on here so word and I think that's good. That's a good tactic for us in the future to be using. So number one here is to take gorgeous pictures. He could have used any other gorgeous nice. I feel like you could have used any other word for that but I'm trying to say gorgeous. What do you mean exactly by taking gorgeous pictures. I mean because so many people have different ways or different layouts for their Instagram like they don't, like they don't all have to be similar. So what's defined is like a gorgeous picture I guess. That's can, that be vague for me. 

Christian [00:01:55] To me, I think it's just going above and beyond just taking a picture with your smartphone and then posting it and calling it a day. So you may be doing other things right. Maybe you have the hashtags right or I mean you always tag your location and you tag people, your DM and whatever you do and all the other things correct but when it comes to the pictures you're just not putting time and effort into them. So I think it I mean in two parts you could one hire a photographer and have them take gorgeous pictures because they know what they're doing. You know they know the placement of whatever you're taking the picture of. They know the lighting they know you know their lenses and also or B you could invest in that equipment but that's just a headache really to try to figure out camera's lenses, lighting, editing software. So you know I think when it comes to again back, going back to gorgeous, I think it's just going above and beyond. I mean you can go to Instagram right now and just kind like of what the restaurants are doing and you'll see some really good photography. The difference between who has gorgeous ones or not. Yeah exactly. So yeah. I think by gorgeous I mean it's not just like a beautiful nice picture it's like you actually put in the time and effort to make this your best post I guess. 

Aaron [00:03:08] Right. I think I agree with that too and I think that a lot of people will say like I'm just going to put out a picture on Instagram just to put it out. And sometimes that's okay ish but it's like the blum percent kind of thing maybe it's very timely but we have a tip for tip episode that we did the other day I guess a couple weeks ago for milky treats shout out to them. And what was good about their Instagram is you know that they spent time on that thing we were talking, like this last week it was Taco Tuesday and they got an actual taco and then picked three different ice cream scoops them perfectly put them inside of a taco which you know the ice cream is melting and took an amazing picture but it was so good that we're actually talking about it now. 

Christian [00:03:50] So what you went to their location to film the episode. Yeah. Did they have professional photography. Like what. 

Aaron [00:03:58] No. They just they use the same filter for every picture. So that's what makes their brand consistent that darker feel and their whole branding is that way to like you walk in it's all black as well. And they just use an iPhone but they have really they have windows there, like in the front, is that a really good lighting they have very good lighting so that's how they're able to take it. But they're doing it like you know they don't even have the newest iPhone they have like an iPhone 10 or you know iPhone 7 plus or something like that so it's not like they have the most amazing iPhone but they do have a skill set to understand how to take pictures with an iPhone. Gotcha. Which is also very important yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And that's what I'm gonna say to like we're talking to these business owners who are restaurant owners more than likely milky treats is like an exception in the sense that like they know how to run an ice cream shop and they know how to take pictures. But most the restaurant owners or most business owners don't know how to take photography like that. So. 

Christian [00:04:52] Right. Yeah. Getting your own equipment is almost impossible especially with the time commitment of learning how to do it and then actually doing it. Yeah. Either hiring someone a professional or maybe you have someone in staff who has it as a hobby you know maybe you can support them and maybe taking a class or you know you know maybe purchasing a nice camera or even like you're saying they could use an iPhone and maybe there is some kind of course out there that teaches you are there for sure is. How did they, I'm sure there is. I've seen some YouTube videos actually on how to take the perfect iPhone pictures. Yeah. Yeah. How to maximize the ability for you to get a gorgeous image from just using your iPhone. 

Aaron [00:05:34] So I think you're saying from all of this is like you can't expect to take a picture in five minutes and think that's gonna do well. Like you're gonna have to invest the time to make these pictures work and that's what's going to stand out on Instagram. 

Christian [00:05:46] Yeah certainly. I think I mean there's just so much competition as far as you know, the visual attention thing and they get on Instagram and there's a lot of people a lot of really good photographers and just people in general who are doing really good stuff with their photography. So I think if you want to stand out on Instagram you had to be on par with them. Or maybe just a little bit better when it comes to your pictures. 

Aaron [00:06:09] All right. Number two I think we'll be really helpful for them and we talk about this a lot too. But Instagram Stories and one of the things that I guess that is really important here when I'm reading your bold point here is Instagram Stories daily instead of just doing Instagram Stories just whenever yeah whatever happens. 

Christian [00:06:25] And it's something that I've noticed is that whenever we do Instagram Stories we do get an uptick on profile visitors like hundreds more. Yes. Yeah. It's insane. So and I think it's very very important to use Instagram Stories and to use it daily. And I think a good tactic or I guess metric to do is to do from 6 to 10 maybe 15 daily. And I think Aaron you were talking about this recently on local marketing academy about making sure that on your like the most effective way to do Instagram Stories is to actually do the stories have a beginning, middle and an end for that story. So take that in mind whenever you're creating these Instagram stories about you know what are you trying to tell people. So maybe you're trying to tell them that you have a new drink for example don't just post a drink and say hey new drink right. And tell us about the story. The story with the drink. Yeah exactly. So you could be a little bit more creative and you know telling the story and using multiple posts to tell us that you have a new drink. So things like that the other extra tip that I have here for the Instagram Stories is to be an early adopter for any new feature that Instagram or maybe Facebook comes out with. Typically the platforms are pushing the death stuff first. So like I said right now the fact that we're getting profile visitors from just doing this kind of stories tells you that Instagram is pushing Instagram Stories and and you know pushing it a lot more people than just your regular Instagram feed. So again Instagram comes out something new and you're like along man I'm afraid I don't know how to use it use it. Trust me is going to bring you more views more eyeballs to your profile because you're an early adopter and you're doing the things that Instagram wants you to do. 

Aaron [00:08:23] Right. And they don't have to. Like when you're seeing an Instagram story they don't have to necessarily turn a camera around and put it at their face which they can and that would probably be your best but technically you can still I'm using air quotes here like hide behind the camera and still just take that picture and use text to tell the story. And that would work too. Mm hmm. All right. Number trace traces Trois tres and trois. Tres. 

Aaron [00:08:49] So this is something that we use a lot and I think this is a really good place for this one here. And I don't know of many restaurants where you think in a restaurant when you were thinking of this like where are you just say I'm like thinking about OK. 

Aaron [00:09:00] Yeah. 

Aaron [00:09:01] Because it's so it's so freaking effective. Any time you talk to the right people are you you can talk to the right customers especially restaurants most of the time they're going to be to see people right. 

Christian [00:09:12] Mm hmm yeah. I think you know using the DM’s. Well I think before using the DM’s as the restaurant, what’s the DM first of maybe like direct message. 

Aaron [00:09:21] OK. So yeah we're using slang, maybe, maybe it would be slang for somebody who's listening who knows. 

Christian [00:09:26] But so before I think before using direct messages you need to have a good understanding of or you need to have a good strategy with engagement with your current audience. So if there's people commenting on your post make sure that you're actually commenting back and and create conversations, you know, within your post and they actually going out of your way to even you know people who are posting about you or maybe they tagged the location. Look at the location and then see the post and say hey thank you for visiting that like you can leave those comments. I would highly encourage that. But beyond just that I think doing the the DM’s is just a boy to deepen that relationship so it could be someone that maybe you look let's say this you click on your location right and you see all the posts of people who have been there before and then maybe you scroll scroll. Scroll. Scroll scroll. Find someone who hasn't posted in a while about your restaurant. I mean they visited six months ago. Mm hmm. You started the conversation with them say Hey what’s going on? So that you can try to our restaurant. So and so and so you have you haven't been back in a while. We have. This new amazing drink and we created this extra special appetizer dah dah dah dah. We would love you to come back and you can have the appetizer on us blaah. Yeah. Boom like that's the way that person is gonna come in for sure. Yeah absolutely. I mean think about that. Have you ever gotten a DM like that. No. Exactly. 

Christian / Aaron [00:10:48] So that's for sure gonna make you go. We love food at Pearson you'll enjoy. You. I'll take any appetizers and I'll share with you two. 

Christian [00:11:00] So that’s just like a little tactic to again deepen those relationships and make true not just followers or customers but the true super fans of yours. Yes. Super fan of your restaurant and you got them talking to everyone around their circle like you are not going to guess what Christian restaurant did to me. So it's just a way to get people talking and people excited about your restaurant too. 

Aaron [00:11:25] Right. And if they shared on their story it's I guess when I'm thinking about it too is like you're talking about messaging them on DM’s. But like it's like a ripple effect once they actually come in if they're like an active user on Instagram they're probably going to use their story and tag your business and share to all their friends too. So it's just like a one person can put you in front of like 20 people which not to say anything about what I was doing. But we spoke about milky treats earlier. I just had another person tag me again saying like hey me and my wife went there last night. Literally this was weeks ago. Like hey I've been wanting to go to milky treats ever since you posted about it and like another person late last night messaged me and said like this is the best ice cream ever. So if you're local in the Dallas area just definitely check out milky treats and let them know the BitBrandings and you I feel like they owe us like ice cream for sure. 

Aaron [00:12:15] All right. And just so you guys know we you recorded the last three episodes. We know we've been telling you we're gonna find a new sound to sound. We recorded these all on the same day. So we did we best record. There is no hiding that we we best record at least these three episodes together so we will have a new sound for episode 115. No not 115. 115 will be an interview 116. We will have a new new sound so don't worry if you're like me and I love this episode but that rap or air horn makes me want to shoot people don’t worry. We will figure out something new. All right so what I want to talk to you about is Web sites. If your business exists it needs a Web site. It's kind of like being online and not having a Facebook page at this point. Your Web site is the number one driver of traffic to your business meaning that people are looking at your Web site. You may not know that. You may only have two hundred people who go to your Web site per month but that's two hundred potential customers. I don't think that people find your business by mistake. For example if I'm looking for a restaurant I lean on your restaurant Web site. There's a pretty good reason I'm looking for food. I'm not trying to buy. I'm not trying to go get my oil changed. So those are potential customers. And if you don't have a Web site or if you don't have something that makes you stand out you are going to potentially lose on that business. You just don't know about it. So all that to say if you are a business owner are just starting out or maybe you need a refresh or a redesign go over to Instagram look for a BitBranding add that BitBranding shoot as a DM and say hey I need that new Web site deal and we'll shoot you a message back. Let's talk about it let's figure out exactly what your needs are and get you a new Web site. 

Aaron [00:13:57] Fwem, fwem, fweeeoom. 

Aaron [00:14:01] No. It’s great. Feels good. Yeah. We need take segments out of this and use it like how we want to do a voiceover for the ads. All right. Number four this is when I'm actually most excited about nice. 

Aaron [00:14:12] I don't know maybe number five is we stick around for number five. All right. Number four is to use local popular hashtags. My question from all of that is how do you use a local hash tag if I just use hash tag food like how am I supposed to be using a local food like local. Are you talking about saying hashtag local food. 

Christian / Aaron [00:14:34] No. What do you mean by that? Like I say that you live in. OK or nearby cities or I think the main thing there would be cities OK. 

Christian [00:14:45] That's how you would tag that and the actual hash tag because I do. 

Aaron [00:14:51] Plano T X or Allen TX and I'm searching that way. 

Christian [00:14:54] Yeah I mean I've done searches for Plano foodie. Oh okay. So that's to say so. That's very targeted. So you're gonna get people who are interested in you know maybe their food bloggers or maybe they'd just like to post about food on their Instagram but you'll get their recommendations. You see I'm saying so using those popular hashtags those local popular hashtags will definitely give you more visibility in your community. All right. So and I'm not saying not to use. Hashtag food or hashtag foodie or hashtag just the regular ones because I think those will definitely give you you know that just engagement. It will give you good engagement that more eyeballs. Yeah. When I was hit to a restaurant right and maybe I mean maybe you have. I mean I think something like milky treats for example shout out to them. They better be your. I mean they're very very unique. So for them using those general hashtags it might get people from I don't know South Dakota Florida where to see maybe their post in the outing that’s necessarily a bad thing because people travel all the time and it might be something that might become some sort of destination almost. You know if it's something so unique like they have such a strong brand and something so unique that I've never seen before. You think about ice cream you think about the colors you think about all this and they have like very dark black walls but they're savages very Instagramable. Is that the word? 

Aaron [00:16:25] Yeah if not we’re using it, that's ours. Don’t try to steal it from us now. 

Christian [00:16:28] So I think it's important to use those you know just regular hashtags in conjunction with those local. We're just adding cities to the to words or just using like you said. Allen TX. That could be hashtag. Yeah. 

Aaron [00:16:42] And I think that likes a specific to restaurant obviously using those kind of hash tags but like you can also use like what we've talked about I guess before is like making sure to use like the local or not the local but like broad hashtags which is what you're talking about more and more specific hashtags and kind of like mixing those up and that's like a good approach for them. 

Christian [00:17:00] Yeah yeah I mean I'm not saying that you know people are actually searching for these things. 

Christian / Aaron [00:17:06] I mean I know I am I am too, that’s the actual they set that I mean most people do a lot of searches from hashtags. And I, you don't think about it that way because I don't search always like using the hashtag right. All right. I use for like a profile or like a location but I mean yeah I've used that and you can actually follow hashtags now too. So, I mean and also we didn't put those on here but I think they should do is create your own hashtag. Yeah. Who's using their own line. That's kind of like a bonus. You want to pay extra for it. Yeah. All right. 

Christian [00:17:41] Yeah. So the last thing here that every restaurant needs to be doing on Instagram is creating relationships with their food bloggers or food influencers or food micro influencers in your area. So I think just in the Dallas area alone I mean there's hundreds and hundreds of food influencers or food bloggers. Oh my gosh. Yeah. And I mean they just come out every other week. Do you have people coming out saying hey I'm a I'm a food blogger. Not to bash on them. I think they're great. There's a lot of people doing a lot of good stuff with that and all of them are making a lot of money from creating relationship as, are you on the free food. All right. So I think it's important to create those relationships not just on a. You know you can find these micro micro ones. And like I said earlier maybe. Hey we're free appetizer, come to our restaurant post about it, maybe that's free you know. Right. Maybe they post a free picture you give them a free appetizer. Awesome. Now these bigger ones I'm pretty sure they have some kind of pricing you know in place where you actually have to pay to be posted about maybe maybe not. I don't know exactly. Some of them might work a little bit different maybe they’re offering free food does with your place. 

Aaron [00:18:50] What's the best way for somebody to create a relationship with somebody who's a food blogger influential like how do I find. These people are how to create, like I. 

Christian [00:18:58] I mean I think finding them definitely is in the hash tags. I find I found I think his name is Brandon Does Dallas. 

Christian [00:19:06] I don't know if you've heard of him but he's pretty popular here in Dallas and I found him and I think I actually use Plano foodie to actually find him and. Yeah. He posts about the most unique best restaurants or best places. I'm pretty sure he's posted about milky treats. So finding those is I would think doing the hashtags you'll probably find them pretty easily and you can see by go into their profiles the type of content that they post and the quality of it. 

Aaron [00:19:39] So as easy as like you find that person they just DM them like that in you. 

Christian [00:19:43] I don't think I would DM them right away. I would definitely follow them start liking them start commenting so it's not you shouldn't just jump on. It's like hey let's do this together. I think I go over a week or two like yeah I think there there's sort of a nurturing type thing where oh this restaurant's following me oh they're actually liking my stuff they're actually interesting making relevant comments to my content. So I think all those things help ease that that sale or that you know when you, the ask. So I think that it's definitely very important to have an out and we're not saying that a week or two is you know what you need to do maybe longer maybe is less but there needs to be some sort of. And that's why how to create relationships not just a business transaction. Yeah it's more of a that what can we get out of each other type thing. 

Aaron [00:20:38] Yes. And it also is a huge bonus if you know for example like you said if you find those influencers and there's only one like a Dallas one who does just like barbecue or something and your barbecue restaurant like that makes sense. But also making sure that your food is actually really good. And that's I mean that's that's rule number one like all these tactics won't work if your food's not actually good. So just making sure that that's that's crucial is rising. 

Christian [00:21:02] What does that show they Ramsay that does like kitchen nightmare or whatever. There's business owners a restaurant that they just don't want to believe that their food is not really good. That Ramsay comes in is like no this is crap. 

Christian / Aaron [00:21:19] He needs this kind of yells at them it's like we got to switch like everything is going to be able to overhaul the whole menu. 

Christian [00:21:26] Absolutely. I think your food needs to be on point and then actually I like environment as a big thing too. 

Aaron [00:21:31] Oh my gosh. We talked about that last week. Well maybe you weren't in the office but we're talking about it last week about a restaurant that we went into and it was like it was really loud and echoey but then also the employees were wearing things that they really I mean one of them it's like if you're serving at Bahama bucks sure you can wear flip flops but like if you're back there and making my food and flip. 

Christian / Aaron [00:21:53] Yeah. That might be actually like a help finally. Oh yeah. And then also like you know I'm going to rub my nose while I'm making your food like that is the environment and the personnel are those are crucial too, so restaurants are just hard. But luckily this tips are going to absolutely crush it. So your online image is going to be amazing. Yeah. I like these guys. They're absolutely awesome. All right. 

Aaron [00:22:21] So if you guys enjoyed this episode you've been listening to us for a while. Please go over to Apple podcast where I tunes it makes you believe it's an honest rating and review. If you leave us a comment and walks on Bill to see you who leaves a comment and we'll give you a shout out here on the podcast if you have not been listening for a while please. Send us over a message on Instagram. Give us a DM and let us know Hey I like that episode. I'd like to see more of this. Hey can you talk about this industry. Absolutely. Let's take let's talk about that. Let's create that relationship between you and us so that we can continue to give you guys amazing content. All right. 

Aaron [00:22:58] Talk to you later, bye.

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