Using Instagram to Grow your restaurant's customer base


Starting your own business has become a lot more accessible within recent years which has contributed to us seeing more and more independent businesses cropping up in all different areas - restaurants are no different. Open up Google and search for ‘restaurants near me’ and you’ll see it for yourself.

This also means that the amount of competition you’re up against is increasing. So it’s more important than ever to market yourself correctly.

20 years ago if you’d have opened a restaurant and you were trying to entice customers into your venue, your marketing strategies would have primarily involved ads in newspapers/magazines as well as dropping flyers in and around your area. These days the principle is the same, but the channels used are very different.

The majority of your customers are spending their time online, so it’s important to adapt to the times or risk being left behind.

Social Media Advertising can be extremely overwhelming as there are numerous ways to approach these situations and so many different apps to use - You may find yourself asking questions like:

  • Which channels shall I use?
  • Where are my potential customers spending their time online?
  • What kind of content should I post?

With restaurants, you’re selling a dining experience - so you want to be advertising that experience to your customers. As Instagram is a social media app based around visual content, we can safely say the majority of your potential customers spend their time online in this area.

Making videos highlighting your business and posting them on Instagram is a great way for you to increase your online presence. We’ll have a look at how you can go about doing this as well as some examples of content you could start off with to include in your marketing strategy.

Show off your kitchen!

You have a content creating machine right there in your pocket, use it to your advantage!

There are plenty of apps under £5 (some are even free) that can be used to create quick and engaging videos that can give your customers an insight to the areas they wouldn’t usually be able to see. Apps like Inshot and Fastreel can be used to chop up and rearrange your video as well as adding some cool effects and music that can make your content stand out from the rest. Editing videos can sound like a grueling task but these apps can help you muster up a masterpiece in literally minutes!

Customers like to know where their food is sourced from and how it’s prepared - entice your diners' curiosity by highlighting how your menu is made and prepared. You could make a video focusing on your chef’s creating a new item for your new menu release. Or, If you source your ingredients locally you could also create a video of your chefs gathering ingredients and preparing them for the evening ahead.

Broadcast your bar

We’ve given a few insights into how you can take customers behind the scenes in the kitchen - the same can be said for your bar. There’s plenty of ways you can showcase life behind the bar and it doesn’t take a lot of time and effort, either.

If you serve any specialty beers or IPA’s, you could create a marketing campaign around how to pour the perfect pint, or even create a short clip with your bar staff introducing the beverages you have available. As much as this could easily be information you include on your website, we can’t ignore the fact that the majority of us find our information via social media, which is mainly used on handheld devices.
Short clips that provide information are a lot more digestible than walls of text. Your customers can also interact with the posts which can’t be achieved by reading your website. Social media provides an additional avenue to add more personality to your business.

When was the last time you ordered a speciality cocktail and didn’t watch the bartender make it? How it’s made is also part of the experience! If you serve any special cocktails you could create a series of videos showcasing how to create these delicious drinks - this also gives your customers the opportunity to recreate the experience at home.

If you give your customers more reasons to check out your social media pages, there’s a higher chance they’ll create an emotional connection with your brand - which can then convert into new or repeat customers.

Summing up

In the digital age we now live in, we have easier access to everything we’ve ever needed. As an independent business you also need to be in that category of ‘easy access’. Social media is bridging the gap between businesses and customers and if you’re not making the most of your social media marketing, you’re missing out on potential revenue. Spend some time establishing the areas of your restaurant that are unique or different, then figure out content that you can make to highlight these areas. Behind the scenes content is only the beginning when it comes to the journey of broadcasting yourself online. If you want to know more about how expand your customer base, we’re going to delve into how to sell your story in the next post.