Social media

Instagram Stories for your business

instagram stories for business
You’ll more than likely have seen Instagram Stories whilst scrolling through your feed, and may well have got stuck into posting a few, tagging people and locations and using the ever-changing (and ever-entertaining) menu of gifs. But have you got a system for using them for your business?

Similar to Snapchat, Instagram Stories allow users to post temporary images and videos, that are displayed for 24 hours before disappearing (unless saved in ‘Highlights’ on your profile page). They work particularly well for restaurant and food businesses, because of the visual nature of the product, and the popularity of food porn on social media in general.

So while you may or may not have a solid social media strategy (if not, have a read about why it might be beneficial to get some help), it’s worth mastering Stories as it’s an engaging, fun way of getting seen – not to mention that Instagram has now surpassed 1 billion monthly unique users, so get a piece of the pie!

Stories are discoverable

…meaning people who aren’t following you can find them, so it’s a great way to get exposure to an audience who for whatever reason, may not come across your content in the feed. It all helps to expose your content to new potential customers.

Just add a hashtag to your story or tag a location, and experiment – you can see how many of your viewers have come via the hashtag/location.

If you have 10,000+ followers you can make use of the ‘swipe up’ feature, meaning viewers can go directly to your website, menu, event page, ticket page or wherever you want to send them, without extra steps in between.

Highlights add depth

Whilst Stories only last for 24 hours, you can extend their shelf-life by adding them to your profile. This means your beautiful creations remain there for all to see, and it also adds more opportunity for your visitors to engage with your content.

If you have a restaurant for example where you launch new menus, create a highlight for each new launch – it acts like an album, allowing visitors to see exactly what’s what.

Features provide opportunities

Features that can be used in Stories include countdowns (for openings, launches or events), music, polls and questions – all great for encouraging engagement, which is what we’re looking for on Instagram after all.

Tie it into your wider marketing strategy

If you’re working with influencers (if not, here are some tips), tie some stories into the agreed plan – you can then share, demonstrating social proof and increasing their reach.

If you’re hosting chef residencies, ask them to do a takeover for a day for a different perspective. There are lots of ways to utilise this fun, useful aspect of Instagram, flag it to your social media manager and they’ll do the rest!

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How can restaurants use influencer marketing effectively?

influencer marketing
I’m currently sitting in my dark home office with the rain absolutely thundering down outside, indulging in a little escapism by researching and making lists of influencers who would be great to work with on an upcoming restaurant launch. (I love it when work can be described as ‘escapism’!)

It’s a lovely job, to scroll through gorgeous Instagram feeds, and read well-written blog posts, picking who might be a good fit for the brand. It’s going to be big on coffee and have a vibrant healthy food offer, so there are some beautiful feeds that are relevant to those themes.

More natural than advertising, and with more predictable results than PR, the authenticity of influencer marketing can have an incredible effect on your sales, brand awareness, the success of your launch, and the perception of your brand. Influencers’ followers are engaged, niche and trusting. If your venue isn’t making the most of this resource you’re missing a trick, and it’s definitely worth getting your foot in the door. So how do you get going?

There are a few steps to go through before you start seeing your gorgeous dishes appearing across the internet, so tick these tasks off first:

What do you want from the campaign?

As with any marketing initiative, it’s crucial to know what it is you want before you start. More followers? Better engagement? Sales on a particular menu launch? By working out the goal you can make sure communication with your target influencers is accurate and informative, and they will be more likely to deliver the results you want.

Do I pay them?

Possibly. Everyone’s different, and depending on what you want you might be looking at sponsored content. If someone has to attend an event, shoot lots of photos, edit them, do a write-up, schedule their social posts etc, it’s time consuming. If they also have a huge audience, they may well charge for that and it could be £50 or £5000, or if we’re looking at Kardashian territory we’re into the millions.

It’s also very possible to work with influencers for no payment, but they might eat at your venue or come to a wine tasting, or another event on a comp basis, and be happy to post about it in return.

Research

This bit can take time, but it’s really important to know the content of the influencers you’re targeting, to know what they do and don’t post about, and to be able to make an accurate judgement about whether they’d be a good fit.

For example, one in particular might not work well as part of a cocktail launch, but they might be perfect for an in-depth review of your steak offer and ethical meat supplier as part of a wider series of posts on more mindful eating.

Approach

Use your research and make sure you’ve read the about/contact pages of your target influencers if they have them, and approach them in the way they prefer. Be personal, explain why you’ve gone to them in particular, and why you think it would be a good fit.

Results

Creating a hashtag is a good way to monitor all your mentions, and don’t forget to check all your metrics before, during and after. If you’re doing influencer marketing for the first time, do it in isolation so you can see the results clearly – e.g. don’t run a social competition in the same week(s).

If you’d like to chat about how to make influencer marketing work for your restaurant, get in touch!

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5 reasons to get a social media manager

social media for restaurants

We all know that an active and engaged social media presence is a must for pretty much any business these days. The question is, should you pay someone to manage your social media platforms? It’s great if you have a GM who’s good at taking photos at the pass, or someone in the office who can snap your new packaging, but there are quite a few benefits to having someone who’s dedicated to the task, particularly when things are busy and there aren’t enough hours in the day.

To scratch the surface a little:

Planning

A pro will create a strategic plan that ties into your other marketing activity. Rather than posting sporadically or randomly, they’ll have the time to make sure your images, menus, profile information and links are always up to date, and that you’re making the most of seasonal and local hooks – things so easily missed if you’re doing 1000 things at once, but could cost you opportunities/customers if they’re wrong. The businesses that get good results on social are the ones who have a solid content strategy and dedicated people to put it in place.

Knowledge

They’ll know the quirks of each platform, for example whether or not to use hashtags on Facebook (no) or how to direct people to a link on Instagram (bio), and how often to post on each (varies). They’ll know how to best use your assets for each channel, and get the best results.

Investment

If you’re looking to invest some of your budget into social campaigns then even more reason to get someone to help – I’ve seen clients waste their budget through targeting the wrong location, or not having the right call to action. The former is a total waste of time, the latter not necessarily a disaster, but if you’re putting hard-earned cash into it, make it work hard! You need to be researching, planning, creating beautiful content, scheduling it and following it up

Time

Doing a good job on social media is time consuming! (Despite what a lot of people think…) The actual posting is the tip of the iceberg, you need to be researching, planning, creating beautiful content, scheduling it and following it up – replying to comments and engaging with followers. This is how you grow your following, and become known as a brand that has conversations with its followers, as opposed to just broadcasting.

Analysing

If you’re using a marketing channel you should be monitoring its effectiveness, whether you pay for sponsored posts or not. If you do it, measure it. Analytics within platforms are extensive, and it’s not always obvious what to look for. Measuring the right variables and monitoring progress allows for tweaks and adjustments based on what’s performing well, and means you get the most you can out of each platform.

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