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Why Instagram Works For Restaurant Businesses

Visual media is a very powerful tool for your food business. Whether on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter or your corporate website, whetting appetites through a visual representation of your products will generate interest and bookings.

The Psychology of Visual Media

Food as Visual Media

Scientists have observed dramatic physiological and neurophysiological changes in response to food images. One of the brain’s key roles is to facilitate foraging and feeding. It’s probably no coincidence that the brain, eyes and mouth are situated so close together! And the results? Well, the food information derived from digital media is thought to influence over 70% of the food eaten by American households (scienceedirect.com).

We eat with our eyes, and your business’ food images on channels like Instagram create what is known as ‘Visual Hunger’. Visual hunger is a concept that has been defined as a natural desire or urge to look at food. It could be an evolutionary adaption: our brains have learnt to enjoy seeing food since it would likely precede consumption.

We now have a situation where there is increasing exposure to images of desirable foods via digital channels. Our societal obsession with ‘#foodporn’ (or as my mother prefers, ‘food voyeurism’) has even been linked to the scientific community to our current obesity problem. What that indicates to a marketer like myself is; #foodporn sells food.

Social Food

Sharing is a deeply ingrained human instinct, whether it is food, shelter, or nowadays a huge amount of digital content on social media. ‘Breaking bread’ with your friends is a fun and sociable activity.

On social media, we enjoy sharing pictures of our food, friends, good times. The associations between sharing food and sharing content on social media I believe are very powerful and make social media an excellent channel in your digital marketing strategy for a restaurant business.

Tips for Optimising Your Activity on Instagram

Get really good photos – Finding nutritious sources of food is essential for human well-being, so I suggest that close up pictures of foods with a variety of colours looking lush and fresh is going to be more appealing.

Document all aspects of your restaurant – In addition to food, bring the human aspect in with photos of your staff having fun, ‘behind the scenes’ footage of food being prepared. Content that makes a consumer feel they are learning more about your business in a way that makes them form a stronger emotional bond with it is good.

Competitions and incentives – Traditionally the reward for finding food as a hunter would be the food itself. However now, think about what other rewards you as a business can provide to your customers to ensure repeat custom.

Plate presentation – Each plate that leaves the kitchen should be suitable for publishing on Instagram, whether by you or your customers. “I’m sure some restaurants are preparing food now that is going to look good on Instagram” (Saner, 2015)

Extend your reach – By inspiring customers to share your content on Instagram.

User generated content – Turn your customers into brand advocates and encourage them to post content about your business. They are a powerful resource and save you creating all the content yourself.

Hashtags and geotagging – Help customers find you by name, subject matter or location. Think of the hashtag that best reflects your business or your current campaign and start adding this to posts.

Know your keywords – Instagram has just announced that they are changing to an algorithm-based news feed, which means users will see posts that are assumed to be most relevant to their interests rather than chronological order as before. So think about your target audience and what they are interested in (do a listening project if you haven’t already) and drop in content to complement your customers.

For idea generation, have a look at this Aaron Allen’s blog (Global restaurant designers) which shows 10 successful campaigns run on Instagram.

For help with digital marketing for your food business, talk to SocialB today and book on one of our training sessions. We understand food businesses and would be happy to advise the best route for your social media marketing campaigns.



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