Marketing can be an arduous and expensive process but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With a daily active user base of over 500 million, Instagram is a great platform that you can use to market your restaurant or café. But there’s a catch; over 95 million posts are made daily. For Instagram to make any noticeable difference in your business, your post has to stand out.

The objective is to publish content in the form of pictures that will help increase sales in your brick and mortar store. So without any further ado, here is how you can use Instagram to successfully market your restaurant or café:

The content: According to a recent study, 75% of people purchased a product because they saw it on social media – which makes it even more important that you double-check what you post. Your photos should include things that define your business and make it different from competitors. Things like events, contests and obviously, food. And remember, just because people tend to buy things they see online, you cannot get carried away with posting advertisements. You have to maintain a healthy balance between promotional posts and posts that engage your followers. Speaking of engaging your followers…
Engage with your followers: The people who follow or see you on Instagram are the ones who are likely to go to your restaurant and order something. So, it’s very important that you engage with these people. Post questions like “Tacos or Burgers?” or ask what people thought of the latest karaoke night. Replying to comments not a lot of businesses do but it’s something very personal and shows customers that you really do care.
Aesthetically pleasing photos: One thing that needs to be done absolutely right when it comes to Instagram, it’s the photos. Higher quality equals to more views. Make sure that the lighting is great, the background is clean, and the composition is done right. There are a host of applications available that can be used to edit your pictures; try some of them and choose the one you are most comfortable with.
Well-researched hashtags: Hashtags were all the rage back when apps like Instagram first came out, now although the fire has simmered down. But that doesn’t mean that hashtags are useless now. Hashtags are still a great way for people to find stuff but more importantly, hashtags are a great way for people to find YOU! Think from the perspective of a customer and what they might search for. Incorporate such hashtags in your caption for maximum visibility.
Make it live: Making food is an art and your customers will love to see how all these masterpieces are created. Ask your customers what their favorite dish is every week and post a video of it being made. Or live stream an event that might be going on in your place of business or even near it. The possibilities are virtually endless – use Instagram’s video and live feature to show your followers what happens behind the curtain.
Frequency: Quality over quantity, always. There is no “right number” of posts that you should make each week but try to post at least once a day. Always be on the lookout for things to post but never force it. Don’t publish low-quality and low effort content. In fact, be very picky when it comes to posting.
When: Make the effort and find out about the schedule of your target audience. If you run a sports bar, your audience might largely be working adult males, so there’s no point in posting at 4 pm on a Monday since most of them would still be working. Posting during lunch breaks or after office hours would be ideal if you run a café, especially near a corporate office complex.
Promoting campaigns: No matter what line of business you are in, you can never let occasions and festivals pass by. You must capitalize on every opportunity. Let’s say you own a bakery and Mother’s Day is right around the corner. You can create a campaign that promotes gifting moms a beautiful box of Mother’s Day-themed pastries using Instagram. Additionally, you can also create a timer or a countdown for upcoming special days.
“Theme” your page: Instagram doesn’t actually allow users to have themes but don’t let that stop you. The sky’s the limit. You can “theme” your Instagram profile by using similar style filters. Try to have a similar tint to each of your photos. Alternatively, you can completely skip using any filters. The goal is to have pictures that look similar in style. You want people to be able to distinguish your photos easily from others in the feed and the key to that is consistency.
Measure your success: All of this effort and time will lead to some data – data that can only be used when someone analyses it. But once you analyze that information, you get valuable insight into how your company is doing in terms of its online presence. You can use tools to see which or what kind of posts are doing better than others and use a similar strategy to promote your business on other platforms.
You cannot afford not having an online presence. Almost every business is promoting their business online and it’s imperative that you do too and do it better.