5 Effective Ways Restaurants Use Instagram

If you haven’t noticed, social media has become a primary use of communication between restaurants and their customers. Websites are essential, but more often than not, the first impression a customer has of your business is through your social media. According to Ambassador referral software, 33% of customers would rather contact a company through social media than by telephone. Additionally, 70% of those helped via social media customer service return as a customer in the future. Let’s talk about the detailed reasons your restaurant should use social media, particularly Instagram, to interact with customers and spread your brand name in the right way.


1. Highlight the Personality of your Restaurant

Instagram is the ideal avenue to share the ways in which your restaurant’s staff work together and to express the culture of the brand. Although sharing photos of your products (beautiful dinner, your newest wine selection, etc.) is exciting and gives your customers insight into what you’re selling, they want to see more. Sure, your food is delicious and beautiful, but why else should customers come to your restaurant? That’s where Instagram comes in. Sharing photos of your staff working together behind the scenes can give a really personal insight into the restaurant that goes beyond just advertising the eccentric cuisine you serve.

2. Use Instagram Stories and Instagram Live

There’s so much more to Instagram than photos in your profile. Of course, keeping your profile fresh and clean is imperative. But to take it to the next level, restaurants can use Instagram Stories to provide their customers with behind the scenes footage and photography to give them even more insight into the restaurant. Perhaps before a big event there could be photos or videos of the preparation of the restaurant. The same goes for Instagram Live. When your restaurant goes live on Instagram, your followers are notified and can interact directly with you as you create live footage. One example would be to go live in the kitchen to show customers what your restaurant has to offer behind closed doors, or going live during special events to have viewers tune in to feel “exclusive” since once the live video is over, it is not viewable. The point of these functions is just to keep your profile’s content fresh and engaging for your customers, keeping them intrigued and unaware of what you might post next.

3. Update your Customer Base with new Menus, Promotions, etc.

If your restaurant’s Instagram profile is gaining followers each day, there’s a good reason for that. It’s most likely due to the fact that you are staying up to date with posts, not posting too much, and taking the time to make the most out of each post. Whether it’s a photo of your newest menu item, a certain deal you might be promoting, or just a photo of your restaurant in action, your followers want to stay engaged and will remain loyal if they aren’t bored. In many cases, restaurants can use Instagram as their main point of communication with their customers alongside their website. The platform is ideal for sharing updates and giving your customers new reasons to lock down a reservation.

4. Tell the Story of your Restaurant

Every restaurant has a story, so why not share it? Followers aren’t just interested in your food, they want to know how the restaurant became popular, what the origin is, and where you as a restaurant aspire to go in the future. If you provide your followers and customers with the story of your restaurant through photography, they will not only be engaged and interested, they will want to see the story in real life–more reservations are coming your way.

5. Encourage Customers to Share their Restaurant Experience

Instagram involvement for restaurants doesn’t stop at their own profile. Restaurants can gain traction across Instagram by having their customers engage with them by posting photos in the restaurant, using a specific # to represent your restaurant, and tagging your profile in their photos. This not only gives your restaurant free publicity, but it also gives customers new insights into your restaurant that aren’t just from your profile. When customers search your restaurant on Instagram, they can see your profile and all of the photos you are tagged in. If they see many people are posting about your restaurant, they have a good reason to check it out for themselves.

3 Successful Restaurant Instagram Accounts:

Carousel, London @carousel_ld

As you can see with Carousel, their most recent photos include their food, an individual photo of a chef and her story, and a photo of staff members working together to craft their creations– a very diverse mix of information to share with followers. Through this mix of different subjects in their photos, their customers and followers stay entertained as there is always new information to learn about the restaurant.

Dill Restaurant, Reykjavik @dillrestaurant

Dill Restaurant emphasizes the environment in which they work, both indoors and outdoors. Photos including local wildlife, singled-out ingredients, and the restaurant itself give their followers plenty to talk about. They also have created a tone to their brand that is expressed through tasteful, high quality photography that typically isn’t found on most restaurant’s profiles.

Silo, Brighton @silobrighton  

Silo’s Instagram account is a perfect example of how to use Instagram as a way to reach your customers because it contains the highest quality images of their creations, as well as menu updates, new products, and promotions. There is a clear tone on their account, emphasizing their creations from the kitchen and the reactions they give to their customers.

Mads Borst