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Bernie Tanzi

Historian & Mentor

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Instagram: Connecting with customers through photos of food

by in Social Media for Restaurants
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Let’s talk about the power restaurants have over people. Food…appetite…visual…food porn. According to bon appetit, a popular food lifestyle magazine, food porn is something that makes your tastebuds tingle, an outrageous display of decadence or just a nicely shot photo of food.

So, what does this have to do with marketing? Well, for one, photos of food can be found posted all over social media networks. And #foodporn is one of the most frequently used hashtags on popular photo sharing sites like Instagram.

Savvy restauranteurs understand the marketing power images of food can have in building their brand reputation and connecting with customers. Click here for some great examples.

Instagram is a social marketing platform that works for most restaurants because it has 50 million followers, is now owned by Facebook and has a balanced number of male (45%) versus female (55%) users. See Social Habit for more user stats.

That being said, Instagram is a mobile app, so outside of a healthy appetite and good eye for delicious dishes, you do need a smartphone to download the app and create an account. After you create an account, you can access what’s called your ‘web profile’online. Here you can view and make comments on your photos and on the photo feeds of any people you are following. But you can’t post photos online, you can only do this using the app on your phone.

What we love - You can shoot and post videos on Instagram too.

Getting guests to share photos of your food on Instagram is pretty easy…here are 5 ways to get started.

1. Create a hashtag for the day, week or month. For instance, say Landers Burgers wanted to highlight their cold drinks menu for the month of August. They would create a hashtag #colddrinkslanders. Then post a photo of a cold drink every day with this hashtag. To encourage guests to take their own shots they would have in-store POP (table tent, poster, etc.) set up offering a free drink for every Instagram post.

2. Offer your customers a look behind the scenes. Restaurant shots, kitchen and food preparation, etc…Include staff in on the fun by encouraging them to post shots with happy customers who will then like or comment on your photos.

What we love - A “tag page”is created each time you post a new tag. So, by creating customized tags you can filter out unwanted posts not associated with your restaurant.

3. Spread the love on menu items not getting much attention. Use in-store POP to promote a free meal to the guest who is the first to Instagram each menu item using your custom hashtag. This way you guarantee your entire menu will get posted on your Instagram tag page. It’s like having a virtual menu!

4. Reach guests outside of your restaurant too. If you offer a take out menu. Encourage guests to take lifestyle shots of themselves enjoying your food at work, home or at play.

What we love - You can link your Instagram account to Facebook and Twitter so that your photos will automatically post on all three accounts.

5. Reach new customers by using the power of the #hashtag. Search for active or what we call “trending”tag pages related to your restaurant and start using those tags in your postings. You can do this by using the explore feature or paying attention to the tags your customers are using when posting to your tag pages.

If you are looking for more information on getting started, Instagram has a free guide just for businesses. Check it out here. The National Restaurant Association also offers some free tips here from restaurant owners.

Of course, you can always reach out to the Landers & Partners team. We’ve been in your shoes, so we understand how confusing web and social marketing can seem and would love to help you choose the best marketing tools for your restaurant.

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“Never take your staff or clients for granted. Remind them with your actions and intent why they chose to be with you and your organization. Prove yourself every day and enjoy doing it. Respond as though it’s your problem, your investment, your time. In other words, the golden rule is still, well... golden.” Learn more about Bernie at


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Guest Sunday, 17 December 2017