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How To Relaunch Your Restaurants Menu On Instagram
Instagram has become the social media platform of choice for billions of users around the world. Its visual appeal has made it easier for users to interact with brands and hundreds of pieces of content per day. The appeal for businesses is that the user experience can blend organic content along with paid media in a way that is more attractive to the user and feels less intrusive.
Having said that not every brand or niche will have success with Instagram and like any marketing tool, you need to use it in a way that has you standing out from the crowd. One of the popular content verticles on Instagram is, without a doubt, food. Instagram has launched the careers of many "foodie influencers" as well as niche restaurants as well as new dieting trends.
Launching a new menu or menu item
Owning a restaurant is a cut-throat business that has to rely on constant innovation and change to remain relevant and keep consumers happy, interested and coming back for more while forsaking competitors. While also attracting new customers to make up for the ones that do not enjoy the cuisine or had a less than stellar experience.
One of the ways to keep a healthy churn rate in a restaurant is to keep evolving the menu. The menu can be changed by adding seasonal dishes, specials based on ingredients available plays on certain times of the year, or having a new take on classic dishes that consumers have enjoyed in the past.
If you plan on or already change your menu by adding new items, you're sitting on a potential marketing goldmine, especially when you combine it with the visual appeal and reach of Instagram.
While setting up your restaurant's Instagram to promote your dishes through posts and ads are the most obvious way to get traction. If you're keen to make the most out of your next menu change, why not try the following tactics.
1. Tease the release
To start gaining traction and giving your campaign legs is to tease your audience. You could opt for one post where you let customers know that they can find something special by visiting your store on the launch date. Then set up a call to action to drive them to make a reservation or provide you with an email address so you can remind them of the date (which also means you capture a lead).
Alternatively, you can turn your teaser campaign into a series of posts that could get customers talking, such as guess the ingredients in the dish and post a single ingredient each day explain its value to the dish and keep them intrigued all until the launch date. This also gives you an opportunity to post a number of images of all your stock/ingredients on the premises and give them a feel of the restaurant. Repetition helps things stick longer in the memory as well as drive anticipation and the dreaded FOMO; we millennials suffer from to crippling effect.
2. Show more than just your food
While the dish is the star attraction, it is by no means the only part of the dining experience and but a vessel to showcase all your amenities and benefits of visiting your restaurant. When launching your new menu item or items, you can post photos of the following:
- Where you purchased the ingredients
- The meal preparation
- Your staff trying the dish and their reactions
- Cocktails or drinks that can be paired with this dish
- Posting the dish in various parts of the restaurant like the kitchen, dining area or balcony showcasing the view
A combination of great looking photos of food by itself, people enjoying cocktails, amenities, new food and beverage options, smiling servers, creative chefs and special events will comprise an online experience where potential customers can get a feel for what they are missing out on.
3. Post regularly rather than doing a dump
Reaching social media users is a complete gamble since we don't know when they will log in and for how long they are willing to browse based on the time they have to spend. By posting regularly, you're able to reach a broader range than hoping you'll post a once or dump a range of posts and promote them with an ad budget.
Instead, build your Instagram presence gradually. Post a photo a day or several a week, and before you know it, you'll have an impressive virtual photo album. Instagram is very much an exploration platform and once you capture a users attention with a post you want to greet them with a back catalogue of content they can use to learn more about your business and what you offer.
4. Use geotags and hashtags
It's all about location, location, location. Both businesses and consumers provide Instagram with millions of location-based content each day, and it needs to categorise images correctly for it to be effective. To ensure your content reaches a local audience, geotags make all the difference. Geotags are information embedded in images that reveal where the photos were taken. You can turn on this functionality on your smartphone camera or tag a location when making an Instagram post.
By adding geotags to your post, it allows Instagram users searching in your area to find your restaurant. It also allows you to take advantage of user-generated content (UGC) when they post photos of your restaurant.
Also, use hashtags to promote your restaurant. You can set up hashtags that are basic like #YourRestaurantName but also for special events or trending food-related or local hashtags.
If you're stumped for hashtag ideas, check out our comprehensive list of food hashtags here.
5. Encourage customer sharing
While you may be able to convince a few yuppies or risk-takers to take you up on the offer, others require a little social proof and don't simply want to be told what they want by the restaurant and its staff. They want to see their peers enjoying something as validation to try it themselves.
Encourage your patrons to take photos of the new dish, share their thoughts on the new addition to the menu and provide a rating for it and remember to tag the restaurant and location in their posts. You can then use this user-generated content in several ways by featuring them on your official page for the best photos; the best compliments can be used on your website and newsletter and combine reviews with promotional efforts.
Some users will do this without being prompted, but with a little encouragement from your site the possibilities are endless and as most people share their IG posts across all their social channels which promotes your restaurant exponentially at no cost to you.
What's great about setting up an Instagram with geotags and hashtags related to your establishment is that it invites user-generated content that can dominate a certain hashtag or geotag. As more users explore the tags and notice a growing trend of posts, they'll want to jump on the trend too, and you'll get a steady stream of customers coming in to grab their Instagram moment in your restaurant.
6. Share across your other channels
Any time you create social media posts on Instagram, you can give it additional reach by posting similar content on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, be sure to share across all your other social media profiles. Each platform has its own audience and content that appeals to them to leveraging these other platforms can all create a funnel that attracts new customers with many of them leading back to Instagram.
This allows you to maximise the impact of each photo, tweet or timeline post. You can exhaust yourself generating social media content and jobs - but you don't have to. Just a couple of posts a week on each channel shared across your other profiles will give you a wall to wall promotional opportunities.
When trying to post across social media sites, it's important to remember your hashtags and link across other channels or to your site to create a level of synergy. A user may have seen a tweet on Twitter and later moved to Instagram to see your photos or stories in action and could use the hashtag or brand name to find you.
7. Bring Instagram into the physical world
If you're going to appeal to users via Instagram, you might as well feed the addiction and provide certain amenities they may like such as improved lighting for photos in certain spots of the restaurant. You could even call it the Instagrammers table.
You could provide a dinner setting that gives them custom options for taking photos or even issue a challenge to create the best photo of your dish that will be judged independently or based on the likes it gets online.
8. Provide incentives to Instagrammers
Continuing on the form the previous point, if you want to get user-generated content out of users, you need to provide them with some incentive. This could be something as simple as access to your free WiFi or offering them additional appetisers, free drinks or a discount on their return to the restaurant in exchange for promoting your new dish.
You could also get their details and build a list of those willing to promote your business, and when you want to launch a new dish, you have a host of users willing and ready to try and promote your next creation.
9. Feature your customers
When a customer comes into your restaurant to try your promotional dish, ask them if they would be willing to snap a photo of them enjoying it, provide a video review or text review and use that to create promotional content.
You can then launch this content afterwards with facts such as how many times the dish was sold out this month, how many people ordered the dish. Along with some of the views and Instagram handles of the customers who tried it. This after launch content can be posted on Your Instagram and promoted on your website.
It gives the customer the feeling of being treated like a celebrity which every Instagrammer ideally wants and trust me you'll be getting a lot more social clout through reshares and DM's of your after launch marketing.
10. Take decent photos
It should be a no brainer that Instagram a heavily visual platform requires you to take some care with the image s you create. While everyone cannot afford professional photography or have skill with the clear it doesn't excuse blurry and shoddy images. Get any flagship Smartphone and use its high-resolution camera and take several photos in different angles, lighting and locations.
Don't use the Instagram app to snap your photos - instead, use your Smartphone or a quality digital camera to take pictures. Although the app is convenient, it won't give you the highest quality photos.
11. Maximise reach with videos and stories
While standard image posts will form the base of your tasty Instagram marketing recipe, you will need to spice it up with video and the use of stories. Both these mediums are relatively new, and Instagram wants to make a success of it, so it provides a boost in reach to encourage content creators to use these features.
By creating content for all 3 of Instagrams post types, you can ensure that you maximise the reach of your organic efforts before you try boosting it with an ad spend.
12. Create targetted ad sets
Since Instagram was taken over by Facebook, it's switched over to algorithmic curation, and even with a reasonable following, not all of your audience will see your content. Apart from that, reaching new audiences relies on so many factors which can be overcome by creating ads.
The power of Instagram ads relies on your ability to successfully segment the right audience which can be done using the Facebook pixel to advertise to those users who have visited your website and then branching out to "look-alike" audiences.
You can also create interest-based segments along with location and even those interested in your competition to try and reach a wider audience and then filter out the better performing users with different messaging and improved targetting over time.
Make a meal of it
Now that you have my full proof plan to make your menu "Insta-worthy" I encourage you to go out there and give it the good old college try and let us know how well it worked out for you in the comments section below or email us directly.
Are you looking to promote your business?
South African food and catering businesses can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online.
Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions. If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles.
If you enjoyed this post and have time to spare why not check out these related posts and dive deeper down the rabbit hole that is the restaurant business.
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