Instagram has become the main marketing tool for restaurants in recent years. Now the platform is doing a lot more to allow its users to help their favourite restaurants in a time of crisis.
Restaurant Instagram posts were already the most visible and cost-effective way for restaurants to reach their customers and restaurant Instagram accounts are the best way for restaurants to keep their customers updated on news and menu changes. That ability to connect immediately with customers in a restaurant Instagram photo can be used to promote and to direct customers, through the social media platform, to a restaurant as they reopen.
You can set up food orders on Instagram to give people a way to support your business. When someone taps the Order Food button on your Instagram profile or the Food Orders sticker in your Instagram story, they’ll be directed to your partner’s website to order food delivery or take-out from your business.
Food order stickers
Instagram restaurants in the US, Europe and now also in India, can receive food orders from their partner business when customers click on a button on Instagram posts that will take them directly to a food delivery platform.
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This is a useful tool to make the most of your restaurant Instagram marketing strategy, especially in a time of crisis that means restaurants must integrate a to-go offering, or risk not reopening after coronavirus at all.
Before the pandemic, restaurants were using Instagram in a way to promote their food offering, photographing food and posting food photos on their Instagram feed. The influencer model, which saw many get a free meal in exchange for Instagram marketing requesting them to share photos, may have passed. Now we have moved on to direct communication with potential customers posting photos and menu items on their Instagram feed.
Instagram fundraiser technology has also been rolled out. Instagram allows users to fundraise for nonprofits while live streaming on your Instagram stories. Instagram users can direct business towards a particular restaurant for food and takeout orders using their Instagram profile. It is typical of Facebook’s strategy of integrating features from other sites, this time stealing the idea from Tik Tok’s ‘Donate’ button.
Social media for business
Restaurant Instagram accounts were important before the pandemic, they are indispensable after. They allow a restaurant to engage with their community on social media. Social media platforms themselves are pivoting to social media for business.
You can also set up digital gift cards on your Instagram account. Once you have selected a business partner on your Instagram page you can add a digital gift card button and encourage your followers to buy restaurant gift cards that can be redeemed at a later date. It's a great way to keep restaurants top of mind and do restaurant Instagram marketing during the crisis.
In order to make the most of these new Instagram features to help restaurants in an era of social distancing, it's important that you download or update to the latest version of Instagram. Many chefs and restaurants have built up a following during lockdown by providing free cooking classes or cooking lessons on their Instagram stories. They can capitalise on that following once diners are allowed to return for dine-in service.
An effective Instagram restaurant marketing strategy
Instagram is a powerful tool to use for restaurant marketing and in a time when a business must lean on its community more than ever, it's important that restaurants engage with their followers and urge them to send customers their way.
Stickers, fundraisers and recommendations will all play a part in an Instagram marketing strategy, but as always with social media platforms it's about how you relate to and engage your audience. So use Instagram stories to tell the world what you are all about, beyond food and menus, but what your restaurant values are.