Strategies to Increase Instagram Followers and Engagement
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BusinessMarketing

Four easy strategies you can implement today to increase your Instagram followers and attract more guests to your restaurant business.

What your food looks like, is as important as its tastes. As a matter of fact, according to a Guardian article, people are moving away from “unphotogenic” breakfast items like cereals to alternatives like blueberry zoothie bowls that look stunning on your Instagram feed.

There are two essential things a restaurant can do to become Instagram-friendly: revamping your restaurant interiors and making sure that the food presentation looks beautiful both in person and in photos.  Once you’ve your interior and plating are photo friendly there are a few tactics you can use to increase followers and attract more guests to your restaurant. Here are a few ideas: 

Incentivize geotagging

Studies show that Instagram posts tagged with location have 79% higher engagement than posts without them. More importantly, allowing users to tag their location while at your restaurant is an easy way to promote your business to their friends and followers. Enabling geotags for your business is easy and can be done through your Facebook settings. Once your business is geotagged, you may incentivize geotagging by offering complementary drinks or snacks to your followers who tag your business on their Instagram posts.

Influencer partnerships

One of the most effective strategies to increase reach among your target audience is through influencer partnerships. Influencers, by their very definition, are essentially those social media users who hold significant power in influencing public opinion. These are accounts with an extremely large number of followers, preferably in your industry or niche. Traditional influencer marketing strategies cost money. If your restaurant does not have the budget to pay influencers, you may instead look at partnering with users who have a following equal to, or slightly bigger than yours.

The objective of this partnership is to use your respective accounts to spread the word about each others’ brands. For instance, your restaurant may partner with a cafe down the street to spread the word about them in exchange for a shoutout from their side.

Instagram Stories and live streaming



Instagram has a number of free tools that help businesses users improve engagement with their followers. Recent stats show that Stories are viewed by an average of 6-10% of followers which is considered pretty impressive as an engagement metric. Restaurants may post daily Stories of their chefs preparing food or stream their live bands over Instagram. In addition to promoting your restaurant events, such streams also make more follow your account so they may be a part of future streams.

Engagement

This is perhaps the most obvious, yet highly underrated among Instagram marketing strategies. The best way to get more people commenting and liking your posts is by engaging with your followers. One way to get the discussion going is by posting a question on your Instagram caption. This encourages your followers to respond to them in a comment which then triggers more comments and likes.

It is a good idea to include all the right hashtags with each of your posts. This helps increase the visibility of your post outside your follower-base. Do however keep in mind that Instagram tends to ‘shadow ban’ posts that contain over 20 hashtagsAnother popular way to trigger a discussion and encourage discussion is with the Instagram Poll feature. This allows users to host simple polls over Instagram. This encourages engagement among followers.

Polls can be extremely valuable from a restaurant’s perspective. You may, for instance, ask your followers to vote for their favorite food on your menu or involve them in deciding the dessert of the day. This helps restaurants build a relationship with their followers which establishes greater loyalty among patrons

Contributor: Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a suite of free business apps and resources.

Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

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