Instagram Tips for Food Businesses
In August, ICC welcomed the professionals at Instagram for a one-day workshop on everything food business & restaurant owners need to know to reach new and existing audiences through their social channels. Taught by the leading product management & marketing teams at Instagram, we learned tips, tricks and tools for boosting our food businesses directly from the source. We’re excited to partner with Instagram to bring you this content to help culinary entrepreneurs harness the power of social media for their businesses.
If you missed our event, below are a few key takeaways that we learned from this special workshop. Plus, stay tuned for more in depth recaps, videos and more on the @ICCedu and @InstagramforBusiness channels.
- 80% of Instagram users follow a business
- 60% of Instagram users say they learn about products and services on Instagram
- Instagram provides tools for businesses, including:
- Business profiles. Let users know that you are a business and gain access to specific tools for your business profile such as insights and the contact bar—now you can add a button to make reservations to your restaurant.
- Insights. In insights, you can take a look at your activity—how people engage with your profile and the downstream actions they’re taking—how your content is performing, and learn about your audience—including when they are the most active on Instagram.
- Messaging. Messaging is a key part of how you can connect with your audience in an authentic and responsive way. There are 150+ million people who use messaging each day! In addition to filters for messages to better sort responses, Instagram is about to release quick replies—a way to create/customize responses to commonly asked questions.
- 2 in 3 business profile visits are from non-followers, so it’s important to think about your content as if a person has never seen your business before.
- Feed posts can drive to stories (and back again!) Instagram stories can be used for behind the scenes content, and are a great way to help to drive business goals—according to Instagram, 1 in 3 stories receive a direct message. Here are 3 things Instagram suggests thinking about when creating stories content:
- Do it in Real-Time
- Keep it Unfiltered
- Make it Playful
- Drive business goals. Don’t do anything unless it drives a business goal and is trackable. One way that restaurants can drive meaningful actions on Instagram is to encourage people to take action, such as making a reservation by adding a RESERVE button to your contact bar.
During a panel discussion moderated by Aishwarya Blake from Instagram’s Product Marketing team, three successful culinary entrepreneurs spoke about how they use Instagram to drive traffic to their restaurants, food products and more. The panelists included Dani Beckerman of Jars By Dani (@jars_by_dani), Claire Mosteller of Union Square Hospitality Group (@ushgnyc), and ICC alumnus, Michael Chernow (@michaelchernow), co-founder of The Meatball Shop and founder of Seamore’s. Our key takeaways from the panel include:
- Stay true to your brand voice. Michael uses one brand voice throughout his restaurant’s Instagram channels—himself! This helps to give the restaurants more authenticity.
- Stories can be more playful and less edited. Dani noted that stories do not have to be “as perfect” as a feed post. The other panelists agreed!
- Giveaways can be a fun way to interact with your audience. Claire and Michael both noted that they ran a giveaway for a new restaurant promotion, and it helped to build buzz around the restaurants!
We were treated to a special hands-on workshop to learn new tips, and some cool tricks, to optimize Instagram stories with never-before-seen hacks straight from the team! Here are some of the tools we learned:
- Stories are a great way to drive traffic to your feed, website, and more!
- Swipe ups are a useful tool for large business accounts to bring followers and non-followers where you want to point them to take action—back to your website, event ticketing page, or reservation page.
- There are many fun ways to play around with Instagram stories, like motion pinning an emoji to an element in a video, different texts and colors, and even the rewind video option.
If you’re in need of more help, click here to see Instagram’s quick guide to help restaurants get started. You can also check out the @InstagramForBusiness handle for inspiration on what you could be doing to boost your social media presence.
This blog post was originally published by the International Culinary Center (ICC), founded as The French Culinary Institute (FCI). In 2020, ICE and ICC came together on one strong and dynamic national platform at ICE's campuses in New York City and Los Angeles. Explore your culinary education where the legacy lives on.