Did you know that at least 200 million of Instagram's more than one billion users visit a business profile at least once a day? Are they visiting yours? Brands and businesses with an Instagram account see ten times more engagement on it than they see on their Facebook account. Since people often first eat with their eyes, it makes sense for restaurants to entice this Instagram audience with images of their offerings along with other restaurant-related content. However, many businesses have found that their posts are only reaching about 10 percent of their target audience. Why is that, and what can they do about it?
The Problem with the Instagram Algorithm
A lot of work goes into those perfect Instagram posts. Perhaps your restaurant has a dedicated team of staff who photograph images of menu items and your setting, and then edit the photos before posting on Instagram. Perhaps you think that all of your target audience will be drooling over your double chocolate cake. The truth is, however, that the Instagram algorithm will decide which posts are displayed when users open their feed. The platform has not relied on a reverse-chronological feed for nearly five years. Instead, it uses an algorithm that is constantly evolving.
The algorithm relies on ranking signals to determine what posts warrant visibility. These signals are related to the poster's interaction history, the timeliness of posts, and the post type. Once your restaurant understands the nature of Instagram's algorithm, it can create more Instagram-friendly posts that are likely to enjoy greater reach. Here's how:
Tell a Story
Using imagery to tell a story is a big deal on Instagram. Your restaurant should consider posting images about its daily process or telling its story through best-selling menu items. The story angle draws more viewers in, and so Instagram puts more value on these types of posts. A piece of cake may, in itself, be an attractive image, but pair that cake with a diner about to take a bite, or the chef adding the final dusting of powdered sugar and you have a story. Not only do you have the enticing menu item, but you've managed to create a narrative around that image.
Post IG Stories
Both Instagram and Facebook value the 'stories' aspects of their platforms. Be sure that your marketing team is posting stories about how your chefs or cooks prepare your restaurant's signature dishes or unusual menu items. Showcase your staff along with your food and try to give a sneak peek of dishes or new specials to followers. Your audience will enjoy it, but Instagram's algorithm will also pick up on the fact that you are diversifying your posting types. This can spell improved reach for all of your posts.
IGTV is a video app that you can use alone or with Instagram to deliver video content. Using this app with your Instagram is a great way to grab the algorithm's attention. Do you create dishes at home before trying them out in the restaurant kitchen? Video and showcase your process. How does your team select new recipes? New wine? New entertainment? Again, show the process and give your audience some insight into how you create the experience for your diners.
Use Call to Action Buttons
Using Instagram's new features like its call to action buttons will signal the site's algorithm. For instance, as a restaurant, you can link this convenient new feature with action buttons to order on Doordash or Chownow. In fact, you can use buttons to denote all the delivery services you partner with. And to make it easier to field all those orders that come in, use Cuboh to manage them from one streamlined dashboard.
Don't Skip the Hashtags!
Posts with hashtags tend to receive 12 percent more engagement than posts without. So, if you want to let Instagram's algorithm know that your posts are engagement-friendly, be sure you're adding relevant hashtags. As a restaurant, you can consider building your own hashtag library so that you always have popular terms like #food #foodie or #pizza at the ready!
Reply DM and Comments
Instagram has made it easier for businesses like restaurants to reply to their audience. With the touch of a button, you can send a canned 'quick reply' to a customer's comment or query. The algorithm 'likes' these engagements, so be sure that you're using this tool to not only entice the algorithm, but to demonstrate to customers that you are tuned in.
Staying active on major social media platforms like Instagram will help you grow your business. In this COVID-19 era and reopening during the lockdown, it's essential to stay in touch with your customer base. Cuboh is helping restaurants fine-tune their online ordering management so that they have more time to engage customers and do what they do best--bring smiles to hungry faces. Contact Cuboh to schedule a time to discuss our app and how it can help you simplify your ordering process.